Saturday, September 10, 2016

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.

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