Monday, November 14, 2016

Help spread Sepsis Awareness !!

Recently I was asked to be an ambassador with The Sepsis Alliance
I swiftly accepted :)
Please help me bring awareness to sepsis by donating to the Sepsis Alliance
Money raised helps in the fight to shed light on this terrible illness.

Follow the link, read my story and please donate. Any amount helps :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

WORLD SEPSIS DAY 2016 - Sepsis Slayers Unite

SEPSIS is a global killer. It wreaks havoc wherever it goes. It turns peoples worlds upside down,
and sometimes takes the person completely. It is a Vampire, targeting your blood. A werewolf ravishing limbs, a zombie leaving your brain in the fog. 

Sepsis must be SLAYED!! 

Are you a sepsis slayer? 
Has sepsis stolen someone from you?
Share your story online, out and about town, sitting in waiting rooms
to whomever will listen. The more we spread the word to sepsis that we are 
coming for it, then the more people will know how to slay it !!

share your stories here at The Sepsis Diaries 
email me at

- and remember, we are all in this together <3 
xoxox Erica 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sepsis is not a game....

So, I normally do not do this, but I am just baffled at the moment.
Things never tend to shock me, cause I know some people are just going to suck at life, no matter what. But I never thought there could ever be meanness or severity surrounding a global cause.

That being said, I am not going to fully go into detail about what went on the other day.
Let's just say apparently, someone creating a blog to help other survivors and families
of  people who passed due to sepsis.... is wrong according to some people.
Or at least announcing it on other pages. Now if it was a business, I could see it being wrong.
But I was removed and blocked form a SURVIVORS SUPPORT GROUP! 

I am a two time sepsis survivor myself, who has ovarian cancer on top of it! I received no messages ,
instructing me on anything! It was boom and I was outta there. Let me just say, no one will ever have
to feel threatened , nor should they ever , when it comes to sharing our stories.

Rant Complete.... never feel bullied or mistreated 
Sepsis has hurt us all enough <3 

- Erica

Andy Holmes - Sepsis Sparrow '

Hi, I’m Linda and my story is about my big brother Andrew who passed away on Friday, 13th of March, 2015. It’s ripped my world apart.
My brother visited me and my little sister in Glasgow in November 2014. Andrew stayed in Brighton at that point. When he visited us, something wasn’t right. I kept saying to him that he was looking ill , cold sweats, shortness of breath , and his sweat smelled weird, like rotten flesh. He had a snapped tooth that he was to get seen to, but never bothered.
Over the next month, he had been getting sore throats and a feeling of general unwell , run down, reduced urine output. The doctors told him it was a bad flu infection. Andrew got up Monday, the 9th of March, spoke to a friend telling them he felt like he was dying. That’s how poorly he felt. Andrew phoned an ambulance at 4ish and was admitted to hospital, after saying he told them he had been poorly a couple of days flu symptoms. Later that night, Andrew’s breathing changed and he needed help, so was given air. Tuesday morning, he had to be placed in an induced coma and he became worse very quickly.
Friday afternoon, Andrew passed away. I got the phone call from his good friend. I had never heard of sepsis , septic shock until now. But I promise I will go out of my way to make sure everyone knows the word from now on. RIP Big Slim. Love you xxx  Andy is so sadly missed by not just me but our little sister Pamela is struggling , the only comfort we have is Andy's safe in our mums arms up in heaven and we will meet again!

Stephen Goetsch - Survivor

Stephen Goetsch - Survivor

In 2014, I was working on a project in England, and living there without my family at that point.  As a private pilot, I would rent a small airplane and fly around southern England occasionally for fun.  One day, I was very ambitious, and flew for more than two hours, flying all the way from south western London area down to the coast, and over and past the White Cliffs of Dover on England’s east coast, and then back to my home airport.  I am a Type 2 diabetic, normally well controlled.  Of course there is no place to get out and relieve myself while flying, and you can’t go until you land, and I could not land until I got back to my home airfield.  Thankfully, I got back, relieved myself in the office rest room, packed up my things and drove home.  I remember feeling very very drained at that point (pardon the pun!).  This was a Friday afternoon.

I was very tired and went to bed very early.  The next morning, I was not feeling well, but had committed to giving a friend a ride to a meeting we were having.  By the end of the meeting, I still felt poorly, and dropped the friend back at his home and went back to my apartment and went to bed.  So I slept all afternoon, got up for dinner and then went back to bed.  Because I was in England, I really did not know what to do to see a doctor, as their medical industry is quite different, due to universal health care.  I thought I would have to wait until Monday to see a doctor.  Thankfully, I knew I would probably go to church the next morning, as a famous doctor from one of the major universities in London was a member of my church and a good friend, and I would ask him what I should do for my illness.

Before church even started, he suggested that he take me to the emergency room (called A & E in the UK) in the next town.  At the hospital, they admitted me immediately, and determined I had a temperature of 104 F and my blood sugar was off the charts.  Somehow, I had developed a urinary tract infection (UTI).  They immediately put me on Acetaminophen and antibiotics, which brought down my fever and began to make me feel much better.  However, they kept me in the hospital with an IV drip of antibiotics for three days.  British hospitals are not pleasant.

I really do not know how my sepsis developed.  I may have had a slight infection before going on my long flight, which then, due to my holding my fluid for a lengthy period, may have impeded my body’s ability to expel the infection.  As my liver dumped glucose to help fight the infection, this only fed the bug, and I just got sicker and sicker.  Considering my condition when treatment was finally initiated, I am very glad I was able to get to a hospital that would treat me effectively and quickly.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tiffany Owens - Survivor

Tiffany Owens - Survivor

I am 35 years old and work as a hospice nurse. It has been a year since my battle began and I am still fighting to recover back to "normal". It was the end of July when me and my now ex husband signed our divorce papers on a Friday.
That Monday I had started a Z Pack and medrol dose pack for a sore throat, felt great that Friday. Saturday I woke up with a strange soreness in my left shoulder, general fatigue, and headache. I spent most of the day in bed. 
Sunday I felt even worse with nausea,vomiting and fever added to the symptoms. Decided that afternoon to go to the ER. Diagnosis was dehydration and bronchitis, even though I had no respitory symptoms. I received two bags of IV fluids, 
and another Z pack and was sent home feeling NO better. that night I went back and forth between having severe chills for up to an hour at a time and sweating profusely. Kept motrin in me to control pain and fever but was uneffective. 
Woke up Monday and needed assistance getting dressed due to my intense shoulder pain and weakness. Was unable to put on makeup or fix my hair. I tried to drink as much as possible. I work as a hospice nurse and even my patients
could see how ill I was but I fought it and kept going. Took a nap after work that day and woke up to a 105 degree temp. Treated myself for fever and continued pouring fluids in. Continued with chills and night swaets. Tuesday I woke up in more pain, 
unable to move my left arm but somehow managed to drive to work and see 6 patients. By the end of the day I was short of breath, unable to hold my head up and pale.
Finally I went to Er again. I was in Septic Shock, hadn't urinated all day, BP was 80/40, pulse 150 , Respirations 32 and in the most sever pain I ever felt. ER doctor and nurse were amazing and ver attentive.
They began explaining my course of treatment and informed me I would be staying a while. I was terrified and heart broken. They worked to raise my BP before anything else, got a central line in my neck, xrays etc. Spent 12 hours in Er before being moved 
to CVICU , then the next day to ICU. They decided I needed a PICC Line in my arm at this point. Began receiving Morphine for the pain which took several days to get under control. 
Was getting 4 different antibiotics around the clock. O2 dependent. Couldn't get myself out of bed or care for my personal needs. I was literaly dying and it felt horrible. Diagnosed with pneumonia and septic arthritis. My heart was affected making my ejetion
fraction 35%, normal is 60%. Finally convinced my doctor to let me go home after 12 days. Continued antibiotics and the pain was minimal. I could barely walk. I couldn't shower myself. I got short of breath just repositioning myself. For the next two weeks at home I spent
all of my time either crying or sleeping. I was so weak. I had no appetite and lost 25 pounds. 2 weeks in the hospital had me completely atrophied. I had been physically fit and active before this. Went back to work too soon, but couldn't sit at home any longer. Felt good to be back
and see my patients, but I was still weak. I had patients praying for me, send their chaplains to pray with me, and care givers coming to visit me. It was beautiful and sad at the same time that people I was caring for
as a nurse were doing there part to tend to me. Traumatized I would often sit in my car and cry before i could visit my patient because I had trouble coping with what I went through and how weak I was. I suffer mostly
now with anxiety, complete muscle fatigue after short activities, very poor activity tolerance, shortness of breath walking short distances, BP and pulse spikes, and abnormal bowel movements and other issues. I hide it as much as possible. At the end of some day I can no longer 
stand as much , my legs just give out. I know I am luky to be alive. I look at every day as a blessingespecially in my work as a hospice nurse. I contiue to try to regain strength. I pray to keep my spirits up. I love the people in my life as much as possible
knowing how short life truly is. I can relate to my patients as they adjust to chronic illness that has changed their lives and created a new normal. My doctor says if I hadn't been so healthy before I wouldn't have made it. 

Hello Doctor, can you hear me...

Too many times I have heard stories from survivors that their primary care physicians are not hearing them. I myself have this issue. Since sepsis has not been labeled correctly in the recent past, some older doctors do tend to have a hard time understanding our post issues. With all of the awareness being done today, the younger generation of care givers seem to have a better grasp of what is truly going on. I am not saying that all older doctors have the "get em in and get em out" mentality, but sometimes it does feel like we are rushed, and over looked. Like we are seekers of some sort. Well yes, we are/// we are seeking normality, a day without pain, a moment of clarity from the anxiety and circus that our brains now feel like! 

So please if you are a doctor reading this.... if you have a sepsis survivor in you care, do one thing for us ..... LISTEN!! 
Do not automatically assume you know what is going on, and can pin point a solution. Because a lot of us were health care professionals ourselves and ever we do  not have answers.
Our bodies have gone through severe traumas, like being drowned and waking up someone else.

To anyone having this issue, The Sepsis Alliance has a great piece of info for us all. It is an open letter to your doctor, free for you to print out and carry with you. If you are like me post sepsis, and have trouble really talking in person now, nervousness etc... this is an awesome helper :)

Nikki Belzano - Survivor

 Nikki Belzano - Survivor
State: Las Vegas, Nevada

Up until Sunday, August 7th 2016, my 33rd birthday, I was a relatively healthy woman. With no major health problems, I didn’t expect what was supposed to be a celebratory day, end in almost tragedy.
I woke up on schedule to get ready for work, and noticed that I had some tenderness in my left breast. Writing it off to a bad sleep position, I continued to get ready.
Within 30 minutes of arriving to work, the pain steadily increased. I tried to fight through it, but I ended up collapsing in excruciating pain and was rushed to the emergency room.
My heart rate was exceeding 135bpm, my blood pressure dropped extremely low and I was dripping sweat, while shivering in pain.
After some testing, and several heavy doses of Dilaudid, I was left with no diagnosis. My plastic surgeon was out of town for the next two days, so I was advised to follow up with him upon his return.
So, we went home. I barely remember most of it. My fever shot up to 104.1°F, I was still in excruciating pain and I was convinced that I was going to die. I never felt pain to that degree. I’ve had natural childbirth, passed multiple kidney stones and I have several large tattoos. NOTHING remotely compares to the pain I was experiencing.
My husband CJ knew the severity of the situation. He saw the pain in my eyes. He was not going to let me suffer for the next two days. He called my plastic surgeon and emailed him a detailed update. Within the next few hours, Dr. Cambeiro returned early from his vacation and had me come immediately to his office, following the complete blood work that he ordered. Immediately recognizing the symptoms, he knew we had to act quick. While we were in the examination room, my blood results came back.
My white blood cell count was 44,000. My doctor had immediate concern in his face as he explained that he’s never seen a white blood cell count that high. He said it was astronomical for someone like me.
I was rushed into emergency surgery on Monday night, August 8th 2016 at 5:00PM. Due to the emergency circumstance, my surgeon, along with infectious disease specialist, Dr. Lipman, were left with no option but to remove my breast implant and all remaining breast tissue. They said I really didn’t have much of a choice, but if I insisted, they could try an IV in-hospital treatment for a few days first. But it was a 50/50 gamble. It would either heal up nicely over the course of a few days …. or… possibly fall into full septic shock, fall into a coma, live in ICU, then most likely die.
I might live in Las Vegas, but I’ll never gamble with my life.
Following the surgery, I spent another four days at the hospital in step down ICU, and one extra morning in the med surg/general post-operative care unit. I was discharged on 8/11/16.
I left the hospital 16lbs heavier than when I was admitted, due to the amount of fluid I was administered. It was painful. I was given a diuretic before discharge.
A few days later I went in for more blood work and X-rays. Not making any progress, I had to follow up with my infectious disease specialist on 8/18/16. He rushed me back to the ER, again.
This time it was suspicions of a pulmonary embolism. My legs were cramped, I couldn’t breathe and my heart rate was high. After 10 hours, it luckily turned out to be pleurisy, painful lung inflammation. I was given steroids, a breathing treatment and was eventually released with caution.
That brings me to today. It’s only been 2 weeks. Sepsis has taken everything from me, except for my life.
I can’t breathe. My lungs hurt. My bones hurt. My muscles are sore. My eyes burn. My nail beds are burning. Every organ throbs. My blood feels like hot oil flowing in my veins. My back feels like it’s broken. It’s hard to walk. I lose my breath while walking 5 feet. I’m dizzy all the time. I’m nauseous. I’m tired. I can’t eat. I can’t drink. I lose my breath while talking. I’m having trouble remembering stuff. Noise hurts my ears. I can’t see clearly. I’m freezing cold. I’m burning hot. I’m dripping sweat. (Sepsis and Post-Sepsis Syndrome)
I hate this more than I can put into words.
I’ve already been hospitalized twice in two weeks, 6 of those days hooked up to machines. If you suspect that you might have Sepsis, you need to treat it with the same urgency as you would a heart attack. Yes, it’s THAT serious. This is from the CDC:
S Shivering, high fever 104+

E EXTREME pain, “worst ever”.
P Pale discolored skin.
S Sleepy, confusion.
I “I feel like I might die”.
S Shortness of breath.

Please share my story, be aware of these symptoms, you can save a life!

My Story - Erica Cornelius

My name is Erica. I am a 34-year-old from Texas, currently living in Arkansas. My story begins in January of 2014. I had been having severe abdominal pains, so bad I could not walk. My husband rushed me to the ER, where doctors assumed it was my appendix. After CT scans , I was told I had at least 25 kidney stones varying in sizes in both kidneys. 
I was put under and a stent was placed with antibiotics. I was in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks, then referred to a urologist in Little Rock. Upon meeting with him, he expressed I needed surgery, he would send me for percutaneous nephrostomy tubes to be placed into my kidneys, so he could remove the stones during surgery. Surgery day arrives and I’m there for 2 hours, due to the line not being able to pass through a stone. I am feeling very strange. I remember being wheeled into the operating room, seeing my doctors face, feeling my heart race, chills, head spinning... then I hear him say get her to ICU NOW!!
I had gone septic for the first time. I remember waking up in ICU , not knowing how I got there, being told the surgery was postponed. This battle has gone on now for over a year. I have had over 70 kidney stones, numerous infections, PICC Lines, 8 kidney surgeries , and have been SEPTIC TWICE. During my last surgery on February 23rd, my blood pressure began to drop. I was going tachycardiac once again. Sepsis was feared for a third time.
I have been blessed to have the most amazing surgical team, doctors and nurses. They know me as family now. I trust them with my life, and they have honored that trust. UAMS in Little Rock is an amazing facility. My after effects have been significant. Prior to this journey I struggled with anxiety. It has since intensified. My heart races out of my chest. I rarely leave my home for fear of becoming ill. I do not sleep much at all, and when I do I awake to nightmares and a pounding chest. I am so very weak, it is hard to function on daily tasks. Something that used to take me a few minutes to complete, now is an hour. I am drained constantly mind , body and spirit. I have become very forgetful as well. We now know these symptoms are PSS- Post Sepsis Syndrome. Concentration is a daily upset. I now have also been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. 
My husband has had to take up a lot of the slack on my part due to this illness. And for that I feel terrible. I also have lost more vision due to one of the infections reaching my eyes... and for that I no longer drive. But I will keep trying to move forward and not let it over take me. I am so grateful to have found this site, and to be able to read all of these stories .... knowing I am not alone helps greatly. Everyone is in my prayers.