Ronit Chernitzky

Survivor

Hello, I am a 43 year old woman, born in Mexico, but live in Panama.

Six years ago, I had flu-like symptoms. I went to the doctor and was sent to the emergency room, only to be discharged six hours later. I went home, and my husband, who arrived a few hours later, saw me unconscious in bed. He took me back to the hospital where I was taken directly to the ICU, put on a respirator, and put into an induced coma. I had developed severe pneumonia, and my organs started to fail. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) I was on dialysis, and five days later, having gone into septic shock, my hands and feet started to turn purple. All this happened in Panama, Central America, where I live.

No one understood what was happening. My uncle, a doctor from Mexico, took me in an ambulance plane to Mexico where there were expert doctors. On Day 12, I arrived in Mexico and started to get better. I was told my flu caused an immunological reaction (antiphospholipid catastrophic syndrome). (Sepsis and Influenza) After a few weeks, I got my first amputation – my right hand. (Sepsis and Amputations) A few days later, I lost my left foot. My left hand has permanent damage to all the fingers. My right foot was amputated a few months later; we tried to save it but the damage was too much.

Currently I am very independent – I have below the knee amputations, and use prosthetics from a very good New York prosthetic doctor. I have no right hand and I have no fingers on my left hand. I have four kids (two boys and two girls).

I am very healthy, except I have nerve pain in my right arm. I have had twelve surgeries to repair nerve damage, and I am still struggling with this nerve pain. I have no phantom pain, luckily. I exercise a lot, help people with problems, and make sure to live life with the maximum positive attitude.

I would like to expand my story, as it has many beautiful moments, and support and love from lots of family and friends. This episode opened my eyes and my heart. I am thankful where I am right now. I do public speaking to motivate others, and make sure people appreciate what they have. I am always available to share my experience with anyone that needs help. Thanks for letting me share; my instagram is ronit_prosthetics in case you would like to see my physical activity and life in general.

(Read about the most up-to-date information on the flu at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention)