You should never ignore the signals your body gives you. But what happens when what seems like common flu symptoms turn out to be the warning signs of a much more life-threatening illness?
Sepsis. Ever heard of it? According to Sepsis Alliance, this disease “is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In other words, it’s your body’s overactive and toxic response to an infection.”
While we may not hear about sepsis cases as often as we hear about cancer, sepsis survivor Christine Caron explained this illness is a killer.
“Sepsis kills more people than breast cancer prostate cancer and car accidents combined per year,” she wrote on Facebook. “It is the leading cause of death in emergency.”
The Ottawa, Canada, native would know. In 2013, at the age of 49, Caron went into septic shock following a “nip” on her hand from her Shih Tzu, Buster.
From there, life became much more difficult than Caron ever imagined. Vomiting and dizziness escalated into something she never expected.
“Three days after the dog bite I started to experience a few dizzy spells and became more unwell from there,” she said according to the Daily Mail.
“The next thing I knew I was in the hospital being awoken from an induced coma on June 13,” Caron shared with Caters News Agency.
“This is when I was told that I had suffered from sepsis and the only way they would be able to save me was if they amputated my arms and legs,” she continued.
Caron noted it was her 16-year-old son who kept her going and gave her motivation to continue on the path of life.
“I had to make decisions, move forward and change my perspective in life,” she told CTV. And move forward she has indeed, in the best way possible.
Caron has learned to walk again. She’s had to learn how to use her arms again, too. While she was initially told both arms would need to be amputated, just like her legs, circulation found its way back into her right arm and it was saved.
Now the strong and inspiring mom and amputee advocates for others like her. She is a speaker and hopes to educate others on the dangers of sepsis and encourage anyone who struggles in the wake of surviving the illness.
Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, had the opportunity to correspond with Christine Caron regarding her incredible story.
“At the beginning, I was very suicidal,” she told Liftable. “I didn’t see value in my life at all or how I could continue to raise my children.”
It was only after her right arm was saved that Caron began to see that “glimmer of hope,” as she puts it. “I decided that my kids needed a mom regardless of what she looked like or how active she was,” she explained.
We asked Caron what she would say to others facing similar challenges. Her response is so encouraging.
“Please do not despair,” she said. “There is life after amputation! There will be changes and adaptations but there is life.”
She went on to stress the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of sepsis and that she hopes to raise awareness for post-sepsis syndrome, something many sepsis survivors do not even know about.
“If my story brings awareness and helps to save even one person from Sepsis then my journey will have been worth it,” Caron shared on her Facebook page.
If you would like to learn more about Caron and her journey, or learn more about sepsis, visit her Facebook page or go to sepsis.org.
Please also see the Post Sepsis Syndrome Fact Sheet from the Centers for Disease Control to better understand the dangers posed for sepsis survivors.
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