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Helena Glenn's Survivor Story
 

I do not know if any of you have heard of MRSA before but it is a real bad staph infection. It’s named Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. The MRSA had gone for so long undiagnosed that it got into my blood stream and caused a bacterial infection, Necrotizing Fasciitis. I am a NF and MRSA survivor. Here is my story. My name is Helena Glenn; I am from Camden, South Carolina. I went in for a yearly check up in October and I had these bumps on my right leg and they didn’t itch. They just HURT really badly. They told me they were insect bites or fleabites. Well, I kept calling them and they told me to put Neosporin and Bacitracin on them. They still kept saying the same thing as I kept calling because they kept getting worse. Then the bumps went to my left leg. By this time, it is about late November, and my knee on my left leg began to swell. The bump looked like a very large blister waiting to bust. These are no ordinary bumps mind you. The bumps are a deep red on the outside and they felt like they were pulling my skin into them and on the outside of the bumps the skin was taught. The center of the bump was black.

By December, they were no better but worse. Seeing as though that doctor was not helping I went to a local Dr’s Care 12/01/04 through 12/04/04. On December 2nd, they did a culture and a lot of blood work. On 12/04/04, my knee busted. The tissue beneath my knee was so inflamed with the infection it busted out of my knee. I went back to Dr’s Care, the doctor took one look at my knee and told me to go straight to the hospital and get put on IV antibiotics, and he would call and inform the hospital of what was going on. I was finally sent to a room and the nurse’s started asking questions about what happened.

I was sent to Kershaw County Medical Center where Dr. Joseph Jackson was on call and he rushed in to the room. He took one look at my knee and wanted to know who left my knee get as bad as it did. So, I continued to tell him how it became about. The anesthesiologists started prepping me to have my knee drained. Dr. Jackson thought he would just have to drain my knee but when he opened it up, he was shocked at what he saw. He rushed to operate on my knee and he took all the infection out. As he was operating, he watched the NF eating up the fascia of my leg. He thought he would have to amputate my leg because it was racing up toward my hip. My parents later told me, as he was preparing them for the worst he started to cry and prayed for me.

While at Kershaw I was quarantined to my own room. I had my own plastic stethoscope, thermometer and when family and friends came to visit me they had to put on operating type gowns, gloves and masks.

On December 8th, I was discharged and sent by ambulance to Palmetto Richland Memorial in Columbia. On the ride there, my temperature rose to 107 degrees. The surgeons at Richland said my leg had the cleanest debridement they have ever seen. They had to operate on me two times a day or more to do debridement. I received hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBO). I never heard of it before so I thought I was going to watch movies LOL!! Around January 11th, they have done a full thickness skin graft. They took the skin from my right thigh. My leg looks good considering everything. It has healed considerably fast since I have been home. My surgeon prescribed a Jobst compression stocking to help with circulation, swelling and it also helps with scarring. Before I left the hospital, the doctors told me that I might not get my feelings or all my nerves back in my leg. But then they also told me that I wouldn’t get full control back of my knee but I can proudly say that I have regained it all!

Update: The latest news is I noticed bumps about a week ago popping up on my left leg and I went to Dr’s Care on Tuesday and she said the 4 letters that I dread to hear. When she did, my heart sank. She said that they now know what it is and told me it will not get as bad as before because she knows what it is and how to treat him. Since I been home I worried that I still had it and my worst fear came true. The doctor seems to think that I came home with it and was shocked to learn that before I left the hospital they did not do a culture of my nose before I left.

Update April 2, 2007: I am now married for one year!!! We dated for 5 and he proposed to me soon as I got home and took me to a local Red Lobster. We now have a 9 month old son.

Update August 2009: Time is flying by! I have been married for three years now and Curtis is also three. I have not had any outbreaks and my skin graft looks really good. The graft is now the color of my skin and no longer red.

Update October 2011: I am proud to announce that I gave birth to my daughter on April 25, 2011. I delivered her at a different hospital because she was 4 weeks early. After I delivered her I had my tubes tied and after the surgery I started running fever had chills. The Dr's kept saying it was my hormones and I thought, "you are crazy." After complaining of the same symptoms they discharged my daughter and I. While at home my fever spiked, and I developed a rash at the surgery site, and I had seizure like shakes. I couldn't stand up. My husband was scared to death and me too but I tried my best hide it. Well I went to my OB dr and he done a blood culture and admitted me in the hospital and hooked me up on an iv. The culture never grew a specific infection so the Drs were confident they caught it in time. I was discharged on Mother's Day! I am very thankful for my many blessings and that God was watching over me.

If anyone needs someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to email me. I will answer any of your questions. I wish I had someone to talk to who had been through what I was going through. I am attaching pictures of my leg.

Please note: The following linked images are very graphic and may be upsetting.

Images of Helena's Experience


Helena Glenn
helenaghoover@gmail.com
Camden, South Carolina USA
April 2005
 

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October 7, 2011