Strength and Support

Baby shark do do do do do do (bite)

Well today I feel like revealing a little more I think.
Most people who have met me may not know that I have a shark bite on the back of my left leg ( or at least that is what my brother calls it). It is actually not from a cute baby shark but from a raging infection most would know as “The Flesh Eating Disease” (necrotizing fasciitis).
When I was 19 my life and the lives around me were turned upside down when we discovered that I not only had this lovely affliction but was also diagnosed with Leukaemia.
Let me tell you folks…that was a conversation one doesn’t forget.

How did I get this?
Well, fun fact…we all have this bacteria on our skin, but don’t worry, it takes a few things to align perfectly before it will ever take action.
I unfortunately contained just the right environment to house this little bacteria factory.
I had an infected cut on my arm(a catch scratch from the pet store I worked at), a pulled muscle in my leg ( from wrestling like an idiot with a friend) and a low immune system( I wasn’t aware of). THE TRIFECTA of luck!
The bacteria looks for a point of entry and then a place to attack…my cut let it in, my pulled muscle offered a place to sleep and my low immune system had written an offer for a long term rental agreement. LUCKY ME!

The weeks leading up to this triumphant event were filled with frustration. I knew I had pulled a muscle in my leg but I was also suffering from lower back pain. I visited my family doctor and we came to the conclusion that my back pain was due to my new job, cleaning cages at a pet store, using muscles I wasn’t use to using. I was given exercises to strengthen my muscles and was told that my leg will probably require therapy in the future. I went to a walk in clinic for the cut on my arm (from the cat scratch) and was given antibiotics to help clear the obvious infection that was brewing.

If this was a movie, I can see myself sitting back and watching as each story/senerio fell into line. I would be telling my friends watching with me….there is something that is going to happen. I can sense some sort of danger…somethings coming……
I would be yelling at the TV…GIRL THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG

My back wasn’t getting better, my cut wasn’t healing and my leg was getting worse.
What was once a sore, stretched muscle feeling, was now becoming a deep throbbing pain.
I took myself to the hospital…I had a feeling that something wasn’t right but they too said that it was a pulled muscle and I will most likely be in for some physiotherapy once my leg got a little better. For precaution they gave me a shot of heparin to make sure there wasn’t anything else brewing like a blood clot. They gave me some crutches and sent me home.

Things got worse

At the time I was working as a karaoke DJ at the the good ol “SIMCOE HOTEL” ( now called bourbon). It was a late night and my leg was visibly angry. It was fat, it was red and it was HOT. At this point I could no longer put weight on it and when I tried the pain brought tears to my eyes.
I got my but to the hospital (RVH) and told them I wasn’t leaving until they figured out what the hell was wrong with me…I knew this was more that just a pulled muscle.

Life is funny and I truly believe things happen for a reason.

RVH had a doctor visiting from Toronto, he was there, I was there…we were meant to meet!
I wish I could remember his name but the moments that followed our introduction get blurred in my memory.
He saw my leg and knew what it was in an instant.

My only memory “ish” is of me laying in a bed in a tiny room. By this time they had looked me over and taking some blood from me. We were waiting for the results so my mother left for home to pick up some extra clothes and such as we were told I would most likely be staying the night.

Again, I can picture the “behind the scenes”
The doctors talking around the nurses station…the audience tensing up at the news that the 19 year old is about to hear. Hearts beating, maybe a few tears welling up…

I lay in the tiny little room, florescent lights glowing above me, my leg pulsating in pain pounding with the beat of my heart, so many scenarios running through my head.

Two doctors enter the room, one stands on either side of me
“You have leukaemia”
“You have necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh eating disease”……TBC



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