I'm a survivor. And when I say that, people always assume I mean of cancer.I am eternally grateful that I've not had to endure that beast. But I have endured a different beast all of my own. One that left me fighting for my life with everything I had in me.
What is sepsis and septic shock?
Sepsis is a serious blood infection that can lead to organ failure and usually death. Septic shock is a result of the infection and the sepsis. basically, my body was poisoning itself to death.
I was sick. For two weeks. With no known cause. Lots of testing done. Limes disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, flu, pneumonia, AIDS, toxic shock syndrome, MRSA, Listeria outbreak, gallbladder, UTI's, aneurysm, pulmonary embolisms<i>...my brain starts to hurt when I try to remember exactly what all I was tested for. It continued to get worse over the next week. A lot worse. Numerous trips to the doctor and emergency room. Spinal taps, cat scans, debilitating migraine headaches, violent vomiting, dehydration, more bloodwork, more urinalysis, chest xrays. The list is endless.
Then late that Wednesday night October 5, 2011, after a spinal tap, several x-rays and ultrasounds, more bloodwork and my fever spiking to almost 106, I managed to finally give one more urine sample that took everything I had in me just to get out of that bed. That urine sample I gave was dark brown almost black. Looked like the color of coca-cola. (You'll never be able to drink another soda now without thinking about that! You're welcome!) And then I heard something said by a doctor that I never should have heard. We don't know how I heard it because I was across the room and they were at the nurses station. But I did. And within minutes I was being rushed to ICU. By this point, I had become somewhat disoriented. But I knew enough to pick my chart up off my stretcher as we were going to ICU to see what my admitting diagnosis was. And there it was in big bold letters. My beast. The ugly beast that reared it's head and was killing me that night. SEPTIC SHOCK.
I knew what this was. This was not good. And I knew it. I couldn't believe what I was reading. How did I get sepsis to begin with? And how did I have it bad enough that my body had gone into septic shock? My organs had started shutting down. My kidneys obviously were on the list since my urine was almost black. My heart rate sky rocketed trying to keep up with my body. My fever was over 105. My blood pressure dropped to dangerously low numbers. My gallbladder quit. My digestive system went haywire. My head hurt so bad that it felt like someone was swinging a ball bat against the back of my skull constantly. No pain meds were helping. I hurt. Bad. I was swollen from all of the fluids they were pumping in me were swelling me up so badly. I couldn't breathe. I became agitated and confused. I had so many wires and monitors hooked up to me in ICU. My veins collapsed from the dehydration. I had a port put into a major vein in my arm that ran straight to my heart. It was bad. I was dying. And I knew it. They could not figure out what was wrong. I had some type of infection but my body was rejecting any type of antibiotic treatments. It was not looking good for me. The survival rate for septic shock is not very good especially if it gets to where I was. This beast is mean. It takes prisoners and knows no compassion. I was sick. But I was so hopped up on so much medications for everything that I just really didn't know what was going on.
I could only see my family every 4 hours for 20 minutes at visiting hours. To be honest with you, I don't even know how many days I had been in ICU by this point. The first several days are just a fog to me still to this day. I knew that I had hundreds of prayers going up for me the entire time. I have amazing prayer warrior friends. I had people praying for me that I didn't even know! And for that I'm thankful. About day 5 in ICU after they had told my family I probably wouldn't live through the night, in the middle of the night I was alone. I knew the nurses weren't far. But a different alone. An alone that I needed. An alone that allowed me to do what I needed to do. I was sick. I was dying. I knew it. And I just couldn't fight anymore. I was beyond exhausted. My body had given up. But my heart had not. I didn't know what to do. So I did what the only thing I knew to do...pray. I had no idea what to pray. Or even how to pray at that point. I was a firm believer in the healing power of prayer but when you are that sick and can't even form a complete thought on your own, how do you it? Do I pray for God to just take me now? I'm sick, I'm dying. Or do I pray for complete healing? I'm tired, I can't fight anymore but I don't want to leave my family behind. I knew Satan was behind this. He's evil. But I couldn't fight him anymore on my own. I'm a fighter and I'm strong willed...but I'm no match for him without God. I didn't know what to pray. But God knew that!
I thought about my daddy. The love he had for me and no matter what ever happened to me when I was a little girl, he always picked me up and held me. He'd tell me it's going to be okay Kimmy. Just his embrace and those words was all I ever needed to hear from my daddy. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I whispered softly "Father, please hold me" and let the tears just fall. Tears are prayers too. I gave it all to God with those four little words. What His will that night, I was going to let it be done. And with those four little words...I let go. And I took what felt like was my last breath. I didn't have to say anymore than that.
God knew. From the exact moment I whispered those words, I literally felt His arms around me. I could feel myself being picked up off that hospital bed. Yes I saw the bright white light in my room and remember thinking "oh this is what people talk about seeing the light in the tunnel". As far as I knew that was it. I was dying. But I could feel His loving, compassionate and warm embrace. It was like being held in my own daddy's arms and lap when I was a little girl. God had climbed in that hospital bed with me and He did what He knew I needed. I really felt Him lift me up and hold me. He held me. He held me tight! He never let me go. The comfort I felt at that moment is indescribable. This was nothing that my daddy could ever have provided to me no matter how much I loved his hugs. The calmness and silence in that room. The peace. The love. The healing. From the exact moment I whispered those words, I let it go. I gave it all to God. From that exact moment I whispered those words, healing began. My blood pressure started slowly to rise. My heart rate started to slow down. The fever decreased. The unknown infections started reacting to the antibiotic treatments. The swelling started going down. My coca cola urine now looked more like mellow yellow. (Once again, you're welcome for that analogy.) I was being healed.
God was beating the beast for me. He knew I couldn't fight anymore. He took on that beast for me. Maybe deep down inside I THOUGHT I might be okay. But God KNEW I would be okay. But He needed to hear it from me. He needed to hear me call on Him and surrender my all to Him that night. I spent the next week and a half in the hospital. A few more days in ICU and then the remainder of the time in a step down unit. My nurses were wonderful. God sent for sure. I don't know why I was chosen but I was.
I'm an unlikely. It was unlikely that I should survive that severe of septic shock. I'm an unlikely because the survival rate of septic shock is slim especially when they aren't certain of a diagnosis. But you see my friends, God loves "unlikelys" (is that even a word...it is now). We are the ones He uses more often than not. Folks let me just tell you again like I've said before, if you've never felt the presence of God, you don't know what you are missing. If you've ever had to have a showdown with death before, then you know the feeling and I'm glad you are here with me today. Satan is powerful and he will get you down. I'm here today because I know that there is someone who loves me more than I could ever imagine and He has never let me down. I'm here today because He has a purpose for me. And I plan to use that purpose to help others! I want to always boast of His love for me so I can continue to pursue my call for Him. My all time favorite bible verse is James 4:8..."Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." I think it fit perfectly that night.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8