Lisa Perez


A little before Christmas 2017 I became very ill, and about a week into it I developed what appeared to be chicken pox at 42 years old. I have heard of people having chicken pox more than once but within a day or so I developed a dark red rash on my right breast. It spread and worsened in severity almost by the hour so I went in to see my doctor. The PA who saw me noticed the dimpling over my breast and even though he and another doctor in the office suspected a particularly aggressive and painful form of breast cancer, sent me home on an antibiotic.

The spots all over my breast were dark purple and getting worse by the hour. The next morning I remember waking and trying to walk down the hall. But every time I tried to stand I would find myself collapsed on the floor. I couldn’t operate my own body. My daughter and I were at my parents’ so they called 911 when I was discovered. The area on my breast had erupted and my mom said I looked like the front of me was covered in mud. I was septic and near death.

I vaguely remember being in ICU after the ER where my legs were flailing and my sister kept telling them my eyes were rolling back and shaking like I was having seizures. I was held down as a tube was inserted in my neck artery so they had a main line to get medicines in me fast. I started having emergency surgeries to remove the necrotizing fasciitis from my breast.  (Sepsis and Necrotizing Fasciitis) I was in ICU for a week and step-down for 2 more weeks.

After the 2nd our of 5 surgeries the wound became infected because she had attempted to stitch it up after she thought the necrotizing fasciitis was removed. When it was realized that it was infected, the entire length of the stitched skin exploded open as soon as they got me on the operating table. The wound was 23 cm long, 8 deep and 6 across because I had a large amount of breast tissue prior to losing most of that breast. It was left open to heal from the inside out while I was on a wound vac until May 2017. I endured excruciatingly painful bandage changes every other day for most of it.

I’ve had big back surgeries and thought I had experienced the worst pain but nothing compared to what I felt in the breast ravaged by strep a. It’s a year later and I am preparing for a reconstructive surgery and my daughter is sick with strep. This terrifies me now because I know how easily it can get into our bloodstream through a microscopic scratch. I remember all of the doctors asking me how I got this like it was something I knew anything about. Apparently it’s pretty rare but if it can happen I’ll probably figure out a way for it to happen to me. Do not hesitate to go into see your doctor if you suspect you are dealing with this. If you feel like your concerns were dismissed and you didn’t receive proper care go to the ER. You don’t usually get many second chances at life.