So here I am a year after I was told by a doctor at Beckley Appalachian Regional Health Center I should be dead. A lot has changed in my life from May 12, 2018 to today. Things change from one year to the next for everyone but, man, these 365 days have been one heck of a journey. I’ve detailed my “medical adventures” where MedExpress almost left me for dead in my blog so that I could inform others about the state of healthcare in West Virginia as well as why it is important to listen to your body.
I spent last summer with a port in my right arm to infuse two “balls” of antibiotics daily in to my bloodstream to kill the infection streaming throughout my body. While I was recovering, I found a few groups on Facebook for individuals who had survived sepsis or those who had lost a love one to sepsis. These groups helped me understand sepsis so much better.
I returned to work full time and hit the ground running. I constantly felt like I was playing catch up after being out for weeks and then preparing for the start of a new academic year.
In my year of recovery, I had many work related responsibilities that took me out of state and forced me to focus on recovery in a way that I may have not done otherwise. When my body told me it was tired, I listened. I spent more time sitting than I would have liked, looking back it was what I had to do. In the past year, I have been to New York City (twice), San Diego, Austin, Roanoke, and DC (five times). I don’t say this to brag about being blessed with travel opportunities. I had to find a new way to travel and understand my limitations. Prior to developing sepsis, I would spend time exploring to take in the sites and culture. However, I knew I couldn’t do that any longer. Rest had to come first.
Little did I know that while I was paying attention to my physical health, I was ignoring my own mental health. A member of one of the sepsis groups that I joined following my hospitalization, posted information about post-sepsis syndrome. Reviewing that information gave me a better understanding of what I was going through mentally. So much of the discussion with doctors focus on the physical effects of sepsis but no one discussed the psychological effects. The image below would best describe what it was like for after surviving sepsis.
I didn’t post this to get sympathy from others but to make others aware that the healing process can take longer than you think. I have learned that I am not always the most patient person.
When dealing with mental health, it is always easy to look at someone and say, “You don’t look sick” or “It’ll just pass”. For those of us with anxiety and/or depression, it doesn’t just go away. I’ve taken the steps to better understand my own anxiety and depression. Meditation (there is an app for that), exercising, drinking more water, reading books, etc. help me gain control of my overall health. What works for me may not work for others but being supportive/understanding about mental health goes a long way.
To read about my experience fighting sepsis and MRSA, check out the links below: