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Isabelle R.

Survivor

I got sepsis in June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when I was 22. It started as a really sore throat – I went to the doctor and was started on medication for strep throat. The medications didn’t seem to help at all – I started getting really high fevers and couldn’t eat, drink or sleep from the discomfort. Nothing seemed to be working. Eventually, my parents convinced me to go to the emergency room, where I was immediately admitted and sent for an exploratory surgery.

I was unconscious for about a week, but later found out that I had Lemierre’s Disease – a very rare infection of Fusobacterium necrophorum, which had infected my throat and very quickly moved into my bloodstream. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections) By the time I had gotten to the hospital I was in septic shock, as well as having blood clots in my neck and lungs. (Sepsis and Septic Shock) I was in ICU (on a ventilator), but eventually was able to be sent home on blood thinners and antibiotics.

I had just graduated undergrad before I got sepsis, and had been a varsity volleyball athlete. After being on ventilation, I had to re-learn how to walk and had to spend months building up my lung capacity again. A year and a bit later, I still struggle with POTS, constant nausea/GI symptoms and awful brain fog. I miss the physical capabilities I had before I got sepsis, but the healing process has taught me a lot about patience and I am very grateful for my family and friends for being incredibly understanding and supportive. I wish that I had had more education about what sepsis is, how to prevent it and more information about the post-sepsis healing process!

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