Lisa Brandt


In January 2011, at the height of influenza season, I came down with what at first, seemed like a case of the seasonal flu. However, I was exhausted to the point that I could only stay awake long enough to shuffle from my bed to the couch to fall back to sleep. I experienced sudden chills that cooled me to the bone and would develop a desperate thirst that sent me to the kitchen sink at sprint to down several glasses of water, and then pass out again for hours. My family doctor’s office refused to see me, despite practically begging, because my symptoms sounded flu-like. A walk-in clinic doctor waved me off dismissively after diagnosing the flu. All the while, I knew it was something more but no one would listen to me and of course, my family wanted me to follow medical advice. I can’t blame them because I’m not a doctor. But fortunately I didn’t because if I had, I wouldn’t have survived.

One morning as I lay in bed silently weeping over the helplesses I felt over my deteriorating condition, I felt the sudden urge to pee: it was pure blood. That gave me the energy to call 911. Even an ambulance attendant treated me like I was milking the health care system because I obviously only had the flu!

I didn’t have the flu. I was falling into a coma because of sepsis. My liver was at 1% function and the sweetest words I ever heard came from the ER doctor.

“You’re very sick”, he said.

I said, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell people.”

I’m a lucky gal, having gone for help in just the nick of time. Then the race was on to revive my liver and find the source of my sepsis. Three long months later I was back to (almost) my old self with no lingering complications. Now it’s my mission to educate as many people as I can about sepsis. And to enjoy my second chance at life!

Lisa wrote an ebook about her sepsis experience, which is available at

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