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Stephanie Townsend


I was 12 weeks pregnant and kept going to ER with severe abdominal pain. They kept assuring me it was just an ovarian cyst. I couldn’t stand, sit, or move without being in severe pain. On the fourth ER visit, the OB finally admitted me. A not-so-genius gastroenterologist looked at stephanie_townsend1my ultrasound and decided I might have ischemic bowel. He ordered a high dose of laxatives, which it turns out even for ischemic bowel would have been the wrong choice.

The next morning, I experienced the worst pain of my entire life and was literally screaming for help. I was rushed into surgery for what was still believed to be a ruptured cyst. They called in the trauma surgeon immediately because it turned out my itestines had completely ruptured. I woke up in ICU with sepsis, an open abdominal incision, and a colostomy bag. It was quite a shock.

I’m happy to say that despite all odds I had a baby boy 7 months later. Five surgeries and another septic episode later, I’m almost whole minus the long lingering heart, neuro, and liver effects, which no MDs seem to be able to figure out.

Glad to be alive and even more glad for my extra miracle boy, but I do think that the long-term effects of sepsis are not well understood or studied. I will survive and keep fighting until I find answers!

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