I am the Mommy to the three most wonderful and FUN children on the face of the earth - Robbie, Abbey and Nathan and wife to the amazing Robert Walker! We have a nonstop, hectic life that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Robbie and Abbey are 6 year old twins and Nathan is 4. Nathan was born on Robbie and Abbey's 2nd birthday and so they all share the same birthday. I love to see people's reactions when I tell them that for 3 hours I had 3 children under the age of 2! :-)
Here is our journey through a deadly infection that almost took my left leg as well as my life.
It took us 6 1/2 years to get pregnant with Robbie and Abbey so you can imagine the surprise and joy we felt when we found out that the Lord had surprised us and a new baby was on the way. When Nathan was born on the twins' birthday, we just laughed at the irony of it all. His birth was normal without any complications at all. However, just about 5 days after his birth I had to go in for a minor, outpatient surgery. That is where the story begins.
Several days after the surgery, I was running a fever of 104 and had uncontrollable chills and shakes. A few days later I began to experience a dull ache in my left calf which quickly turned into a more excruciating pain than I could ever imagine. It was so painful that I was begging for my husband to rub my calf but as soon as he touched it, I would scream in pain. I could no longer walk and it was apparent that something was terribly wrong. We spent an entire night calling doctors and trying anything and everything to get some relief from the pain but nothing worked.
Early the next morning, my mom, who was here for the birth of Nathan, decided that despite what the doctors were telling us, she was going to call an ambulance. The last thing I remember was them putting me in the ambulance and begging them to do something about the pain. The rest of the story, up until I was awakened in the hospital two and a half weeks later, is as it was told to me by doctors and family members.
I was taken to the hospital where they thought I had something called compartment syndrome. The ER surgeon made an incision in my left calf to relieve the pressure he thought had built up there. When he saw the tissue in that leg, he suspected that something was wrong. After I woke up from that surgery, he asked if the pain was any better and he said that my response was that the pain was still "off the charts" and I just couldn't stand it any longer. They had me on the highest dose of Morphine that he could give me and it was doing nothing for the pain. He then shipped me to the main hospital campus for further evaluation. It was suspected that I had Necrotizing Fasciitis and a specialist was called in. The diagnosis was confirmed and my family was told that my chances of survival were very slim.
Necrotizing Fasciitis has about a 73% mortality rate and most often, the only way to save a person's life is to amputate the affected limb(s). The doctors decided that the best thing to do would be to amputate that left leg to stop the infection. However, a specialist who had been called in said "no". Amazingly, he had seen and treated many cases of this rare infection and he said that he felt he could get it under control without amputating my leg.
The infection began in my calf and spread to my thigh, then to my hip and ultimately landed in my abdomen. It was at that point that the doctors told my family that I was probably not going to live through this. However, the Lord, in his infinite wisdom and timing, stopped the infection right there.
Amazingly, I had survived and I still had a leg. After two and a half weeks in a medically induced coma, I was awakened and told what had happened to me. I was in total disbelief. I honestly don't think it sank in for several days or even weeks (maybe it still hasn't completely sunk in and maybe it never will). I spent 2 months in the hospital and underwent approximately 38 surgeries on that left leg and abdomen. I ended up with skin grafting on my entire left calf and deep scars on my thigh, hip and abdomen. I also had about 25% of my Achilles tendon and my entire soleus muscle removed - but I was alive.
I think, for me, the emotional roller coaster was the hardest. I was supposed to be happy to be alive but there were times when I wished the Lord had just taken me. I couldn't imagine how I would live the life that I was facing. I felt that I would never be able to run and play with my children again. I felt that my life would never be the same. I missed my family terribly and just wanted to go home and hug my children but I was stuck in that hospital. I felt like there wasn't another person in the world who could possibly understand what I was going through.
I smiled at every person who walked through my hospital room door and put on the best positive attitude I could muster, but inside I just wanted to die rather than face the mountain ahead of me. I wasn't able to see my children in the hospital because I was afraid for them to come there and catch something horrible. I saw them twice the entire time I was there and it was shortly before I was released (after almost 2 months) in a visiting room that wasn't in the area where the patients were. I was unhooked from all my IV's and machines and wheeled in there in a wheelchair. I will never forget the sinking feeling I felt when Robbie and Abbey would not come to me or even talk to me. They looked afraid of me and it was as if they didn't even know me. And Nathan, my newborn baby, had no idea who his Mommy was. My heart was simply broken.
I was, and still am, a stay at home mom - completely inseparable from my children. I was very healthy my entire life. I took care of my body and exercised several times a week. I ran, played tennis, was a vegetarian, didn't smoke, didn't drink, I was involved in my church and community and this was NOT supposed to happen to me.
I had not prayed or read my bible at all for most of the time I was in the hospital and finally one day I cried out to the Lord and told him exactly how I felt. I begged him to give me a verse from the bible to hold on to. Something to give me hope. Well, the verse he gave me was Romans 8:28 - " ...all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose". This was NOT the verse I was looking for. I begged for another verse and explained to the Lord that nothing good could possibly come from this. He continued to give me that verse over and over again. So, I started looking for the good every day - I saw still saw nothing good.
Until one day the hospital Chaplin, a young Jewish fellow, came into my room. He had been there several times before but today was different. For some reason, I felt led to mention his Jewish faith. All I said is, "You are Jewish right?". He said he was and asked what faith I was. I told him I was a Baptist and out of the blue he asked me what the Baptists believe. I was able to tell him that we believe that Jesus is the Messiah mentioned throughout the old testament. I was able to share my faith with him. I don't know what he did with what I told him, but I was able to at least plant a seed. Then, I was able to witness to some of the doctors and nurses that I saw every day. Friends were telling me that their lives had been changed by the miracle they saw God perform in my life. Slowly, God was showing me the good that was coming out of my experience.
The doctors could not believe how quickly I was progressing. After 2 months in the hospital, I was released home to a hospital bed in my living room and underwent intensive physical therapy for almost a year. Today, my life is very different from what it was before, but it is also very different from what I thought it would be as I lay in that hospital bed and looked forward. I have lost my desire to exercise and play tennis and run like I used to but I am able to do quite a lot with my children - things I thought I would never be able to do again.
My friend, please know that no matter what you are going through right now, the Lord knows all about it. He has a plan for your life and will help you through every situation if you allow Him to. I still am not completely sure why the Lord chose to spare my life. But, I do know that He had a plan through it all. He was with me through every pain and every tear and gave me strength when I thought I could not go one more day. He has continued to show me the amazing things that have come out of my experience and I thank Him for it.
Am I glad that I went through what I did? It would be a lie if I said I was. However, if I am able to help just one person as a result of my experience then it was all worth it.
If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I would love to tell you how you can spend eternity in Heaven.
I would love to pray for you. If you would like to contact me, please feel free to do so here.