Our Story

Flesh-eating Bacteria Survivor

by Vance “Bo” Salisbury

UPDATE: In September 2020 I’ll be migrating this site over Facebook.  Check it out.

Bo and Denise
Bo and Denise

It’s been about 20 years since my family and I were brought to the precipice of sudden death, fear, confusion, and loss from a murderous intruder, lurking unseen within my own life-giving blood. On May 9, 1998, while playing indoor soccer with folks from our church, I was kicked in the left ankle. The following day, Mother’s Day, I followed my routine and woke to take our dog Rosie for a walk before church. At about 10 AM, my ankle began to hurt and by 11:30 AM I was in severe pain. Someone offered aspirin, I took it and we joined our friends, the Richeys, for lunch at Fred’s Chinese Restaurant. At about 2 PM I could no longer stand the pain and went to the local Emergency Room with my wife, Denise, and friend Mark Richey, a radiologist. The ER doctor examined me and it appeared to be a routine sports injury, so I was released and given some prescription pain reliever.

The Symptoms

Carol and Scott Kellermann
Carol and Scott Kellermann

The following day, Monday May 11th, I was still in terrible pain and the ER nurse told Denise to double the dosage and make me as comfortable as possible. By that afternoon the pain was unbearable, I was nauseous and crawling from room to room because I was losing energy and strength. What we did not know was that my life was beginning to fade away. Denise called our family physician, Dr. Scott Kellermann, who told us to come to his office immediately. By this time I was perspiring and my blood pressure was dropping. Scott admitted me to the local hospital where I was observed and tests were taken through the night. The following morning I went into shock, began experiencing multiple organ failure and was to be transferred, via helicopter, to the UC Davis medical center in Sacramento CA. However, a late spring storm bringing snow kept the helicopter grounded, so I was taken by ambulance.

The Diagnosis

Dr. Susan Murin
Dr. Murin

When I arrived at the UCD ICU, Dr. Susan Murin was the attending physician. She and Dr. Jeff Jones interviewed my wife and I, resuscitated me, inserted the various catheters and the breathing tube. At this stage, my leg was mottled and still presented as an athletic injury. But, why were my organs failing and how did that relate to my leg? Dr. Jones made the diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis, but he was in the minority and the surgeons on hand were skeptical — until the blood work arrived from my local hospital, confirming his opinion. Dr. Murin later told me that Dr. Jones was heard gloating “I’m the man” for the next few days because he was the first to put the clues together and make the diagnosis. My case was turned over to the world renowned surgeon and “father of modern trauma care,” Dr. F. William Blaisdell.

The Treatment

Dr. F. William Blaisdell
Dr. Blaisdell

Dr. Blaisdell and his team put me on a powerful combination of antibiotics and began debridement of my leg, removing soft tissue down to the muscle in five separate operations. I spent ten days on the ventilator and was in a coma for most of that time. To be certain that all of the bacteria was gone, the flesh was removed from the top of my toes to the top of my left hip and it was discussed whether my foot should be amputated or fused at a 90º angle because there was literally nothing left between my ankle and Achilles’ tendon. Experiencing septic shock, with indications the infection had spread into the soft tissue in my lower back, I was expected to die. The bacteria marched up my left leg, destroying all of the soft tissue down to the fascia (the membrane between the muscle and outer soft tissue). My condition was grave for some time and amputation of my left foot and leg became a very real option. You may view the post-operative photos, but they are very graphic.

The Cure

Excellent Care and Prayer
Excellent Care and Prayer

I was transferred to the Burn Unit ICU, Dr. Kellermann canceled all of his appointments for four days and joined my friends and family at the hospital in fasting and prayer. People all around the world lifted me up to Jesus and He answered those prayers by saving my life and performing a few miracles.

On day four, the bacteria halted at the top of my thigh — Dr. Kellermann believes it was a miracle. That day, the surgeon brought Dr. Kellermann in to show him that the infection had moved all the way up into my lower back. The outside border and time of the examination had been written on my skin with an indelible marker. “We are taking him in for a final debridement, but he is not going to live. It’s like trying to stop a freight train with wet tissue paper,” the surgeon confided. One of the nurses in the burn unit ICU gave my wife the same grim prognosis, motioning with her hand up the left side and lower back. Denise only remembers the conversation, but not what was said. She did not understand, at that point, that my death was virtually assured because of the size and location of the infected area; She thought the nurse was simply keeping her updated.

Two hours later, the surgeon emerged from the elevator and sat down with everyone in the waiting area. “I’ve been a surgeon for many years,” he softly said, shaking his head over and over. “I’ve never seen anything like this. We searched for hours and the infection is completely gone.” Dr. Kellermann cast all sense of professional propriety aside, and began leaping and shouting down the hallway, “Praise the Lord!” Scott gathered everyone together for a prayer of thanksgiving and as he recorded, along with the rest of these events in his journal, “We talked about how a miracle had been witnessed by us today and from this time forward, Bo’s life and all our lives would be forever changed.”

The Turnaround

Hope
Hope

I remained in my coma that evening, while Denise and friends celebrated with a feast and belly dancing (tongue in cheek)! Taking this sudden change of events as a sign that things were turning around, they decided to dine at a Moroccan restaurant near the hospital. What they didn’t know was that belly dancers entertained the customers every night at 7:30 PM. So, as my family and friends broke their fast on gyros, roasted chicken, flatbread, couscous and yogurt, middle-eastern music suddenly blared from speakers and two belly dancers came swirling out of the kitchen, gyrating around their table. Back in the burn unit ICU, I continued on in my morphine induced, Dali-esque dream world. Looking back, I always find that so amusing. My friends staggered out of the ICU to find refreshment after struggling with death for four days and stumbled into a restaurant, which celebrated day-to-day life through belly-dancing (un-advertised and unannounced).

I had eight skin graft operations in all, shaving skin with the Dermatome from my entire body, except head, arms, and a strip up my back, so that I was almost completely “skinned” at one time. Skin was harvested three times from my stomach over the course of my stay at UCDMC. Dr. Kellermann was amazed at the success of the grafts. When 40% of skin grafts take, that is considered exceptional. 90% of my grafts took the first time! Dr. Kellermann remarked, “I don’t know what they [the surgeons] would call it — I call it a miracle.”

Making Progress

Dr. Mayer-Troppman
Dr. Mayer-Troppman

My ankle was still in trouble after most of my leg had been grafted and reconstructed. The plan was to release me from the hospital to go home, where I would gain back some strength and return to have the plastic surgeon perform a flap to fill in the big hole in my ankle. Dr. Blaisdell summed up the situation in these words after my weekly Tuesday surgery; “his tendon is hanging in the breeze.” However, the Lord touched my ankle and when my cast was removed five days later, everyone was amazed to find the tissue had quickly and miraculously “granulated” from my ankle and was touching my tendon — an occasion for rejoicing by all the nurses in the Burn Unit and surgeons, Dr. Kathrin (Mayer) Troppmann and Dr. James Morrison. The rest of my leg was making good progress by this time: my foot and ankle were spared.

After five weeks, I was in the trauma ward and Dr. Jones popped his head in the door. “I just had to meet you,” he exclaimed. “I’m the one who intubated you when you came into the ICU. I was surprised when I kept seeing your name come up on the surgery roster.” As far as he was concerned, I was a dead man! Later, Dr. Murin informed me of a sort of  “Murphy’s Law” of medicine; She and Dr. Jones thought Denise and I were a nice, cooperative couple when I was admitted to the ICU — therefore, I probably wouldn’t survive! Generally, it’s the ornery and combative patients who make it.

Going Home

Heading Home
Heading Home

When I was released from the hospital in August, the plan was to gain strength and return to close up a hole the size of a quarter exposing my tibia, patch a spot on my Achilles’ tendon and have the plastic surgeon perform releases, which would certainly be necessary around my joints. Well, the home health nurse was amazed when my tibia closed over night and half of the open areas on my thigh healed! Later that week, Dr. Morrison seemed disappointed that the tibia had closed up on its own. The week before, he pointed to the wound and remarked “that spot there is just crying out for me to drill some more holes.” Months before, during the reconstruction and grafting of my lower leg, holes were drilled to the marrow in the tibia to create a blood supply for the tissue to grow over and he was anxious to try it again! As time passed, my skin grew so well and was in such good condition, I did not require further surgery. Hallelujah!

Happy Ending

Coming Back
Coming Back

I was at UC Davis for three months. I laid completely still on my back and became totally deconditioned, to the point that I could not stand for more than a few seconds without becoming nauseous or fainting. My brachial plexus was damaged, so my right arm no longer worked. I began rehabilitation in late July, was released in mid-August and returned home. In the early stages of reconstruction, Dr. Blaisdell told me that I would not have any range of motion in my ankle and would walk in a wooden way. I am happy to report that my ankle is fully functional, though I lack a few degrees of dorsiflexion. I achieved my ultimate physical therapy goal by getting up on my surfboard. However, it was very difficult because of the injury to my arm, so I sold my board and bought a body board. I began running and on June 2, 2002 I ran in the Gold Country Races 5k with Denise. I finished 13th overall and won a third place medal in my division (duffers and geezers). I am now running about 15-20 miles a week, non-competitively. I was able to travel with my daughter Emma to Uganda in 2000 and again in 2001, where my leg was a wonder to all! We met Dr. Kellermann and his family there, treated people in makeshift medical clinics, ministered to children in orphanages and trained local pastors. Scott and Carol Kellermann went on to found and build their own hospital in Uganda!  I was able to return to work as a Postmaster after 8 months and, although it was often physically difficult, the US Postal Service was very accommodating and supportive. I continued on until retirement with 39 years on my birthday in 2014. I also returned to pastoral work, recently completing 24 years of bi-vocational ministry. I praise and thank God for His grace and mercy!

A Rosey Picture

Since my story appeared on the Web, I have received hundreds of comments; most have been very favorable. Once in a while, someone will write to insist that my survival and recovery were more likely the result of excellent medical care than divine intervention. They feel that I am slighting the people who worked so hard to save my life, by attributing so much to the mysterious workings of God. Whether or not I was saved by miraculous or divine intervention is up to you, the reader, to decide. I remain convinced that I was spared by God’s grace, through both miraculous and “ordinary” means. By “ordinary,” I mean the extraordinary skill and efforts of the healthcare professionals, who cared for me and encouraged my family and friends through the entire ordeal. I am grateful to have had the best surgeons, physicians, nurses, physical/occupational therapists, friends and family in the world! All played a big part in my recovery and it is my goal to improve on the investment of their time, years of training, hard work, emotional involvement and material support. Throughout my stay at UC Davis, I was in continual awe of the professionalism and work ethic of everyone there. Denise and I continue to stay in touch with a number of the surgeons, rehab doctors and nurses. Some have been featured along with us on the Discovery Health Channel and Dr. Murin is the subject of a chapter on medical professionals in a recently published book by Scholastic.

I will occasionally receive an angry message from someone who has lost a friend or relative to necrotizing fasciitis. They feel that I am presenting an overly rosy picture or that I really cannot comprehend the pain they are suffering in their loss of a loved one. Others think I got off pretty easy, because of the good results I’ve seen and, because I didn’t lose any limbs. First, let me say that I have a number of fairly serious, lingering health problems, which resulted from this experience and I will be talking about those in blog posts and other pages. And, I have lost loved ones to other horrendous diseases or conditions and experienced grief. It may not have been as great or debilitating as what others have gone through, but that does not diminish my desire and sense of responsibility to offer what little bit of compassion and understanding I can to those affected by NF. I think it is best to accentuate the positive in my experience and give as little space as possible to the many physical problems that remain, as a result of my bout with NF. I have chosen to dwell on the successes and to seek a positive outcome from this catastrophic experience. I encourage others to strive to overcome the ravages of this deadly disease and not remain its victim, like many I hear from who are doing well. Their prescription goes something like this: “This kind of experience will either make you a bitter person or a better person.”

Job 19:25 – 27 And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes shall see and not another.

2018 will mark the 20 year anniversary of our victory in battle with necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria — thank God. This site has been up and running since about 1999 and we’ve been privileged to serve tens of thousands of visitors and correspond with hundreds of survivors, friends, family members, and others who just want to understand a little something about this intrusive, rude, cruel, virulent, deadly disease. Sometime around October 2018, I’ll be parking the flesheatingbacteria.net URL — If you would like to continue following our saga, the best place to go will be our Facebook page, Overcoming Necrotizing Fasciitis. I’ve also migrated all the pages and posts to my personal page at BoSalisbury.com.

2 thoughts to “Our Story”

  1. I have to say that your desire to live in this world and overcome such an illness (& I know a little of it, and of divine intervention into it) must be because of your need to be there to continue to provide love to all those who would have been lost without you. Not a single other motive can I see, nor do I know which can overcome an illness this sever in it’s quickness to take a person down by, well, literally skinning them alive, and even for treatment requiring a certain level of being skinned alive; I love your quote “Job 19:25 – 27 And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes shall see and not another.”
    – I can relate to this, because tho I did not, oh, oh so miraculously, not have to undergo the surgeries, because very miraculously I was assigned to THE infectious disease specialist at Mercy San Juan after assessment by my initial ER intake physician, and I was started on MRSA level antibiotics within 12 hours of my initial symptoms (a very lucky strike, & also lucky to have the friends I do to insist on certain diagnostics and not letting me be put aside in the ER “for later” because if it had been days later that the NF diagnosis was considered with me like it was for you, (or even if it’d been put off for a few hours for me) well I simply would not have survived even with surgery because in my case the initial site of the NF was located centrally on my right neck, popped out about 1/2 a grapefruit size red streaks going down my jugular, but also the swelling darkening in color every two hours or so, & also the systemic fever, and a joint pain in every large joint which left me unable to move myself, & then the onset of paralysis of my right arm… It was moving too fast. No surgeon, no doctor or specialist or hospital could have been expected to act so fast, but my friends made sure they did, and those IV antibiotics within the first 12 hours of serious, obvious onset, that saved my life… Also the assumption of the infectious disease expert assigned to my case (upon insistence of myself and four other strong voices as I knew this is what I needed, and I just knew this)… Well she put me on immediately on mix of IV antibiotics in the ER waiting for a room space, the mix of which were very strong. This started to ease the joint pain and bring down the fever, however my arm remained paralyzed and the grapefruit sized abscess on my neck did not go down in size, only dropping in it’s heat and it did not grow bigger or darken; good signs. … By time I was finally done getting all the imagine done and in my room, she came to me and told me my imaging and did have a Staphylococcus aureus form of necrotizing fascitis but that she/we had all caught it very early and there was some chance that the antibiotics might work without need of surgery. This was around 7am the first day in (so 24 hrs after first onset of symptoms & about 12hrs after ER admission. I rested for awhile thinking that okay, things are handled, sit back take the medicine and heal… then my ex-husband and mother in law came to visit around lunchtime, and this is when I got to unexpected second visit from the infectious disease specialist… She had to talk to me, I said it is fine to say everything she needs to share in front of my family, and so she says “the full labs are back, it’s MRSA, we are going to schedule you to see a surgeon ASAP… All of us knew this was the worst info we could get about this infection… I asked her if she could change or add an antibiotic that’s still effective against MRSA, she said yes and that she would make the changes, but she also said she couldn’t believe it was really MRSA since my cut (inlet for the bacteria) had been sustained at home when no one works in the healthcare field or in any public place, and I just told her that the merchandise that we sell is second hand and doesn’t always come to the house precleaned so who knows… But I hope she’s right that the test is wrong. My ex and mother in law all agree, “we hope the test results are wrong” but this left me out of my mind. …After my visitors left I researched MRSA and necrotizing fascitis from my phone, I know where to look for data, and the data wasn’t good. Neurologists came to test my nerve conductance in my paralyzed arm, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, all somewhat freaked out by the necrotizing fascitis DX, and all not quite believing it because I would already be in surgery… I told them “my fiance caught it early, it hit hard and fast and so my friends/family made sure I got on antibiotics right away… & I’m only 36 hours in from the first symptoms… I might be okay” … The “yes yes you’re right honey you might still be okay” with a sadness behind the eyes is what I got. At around 6pm I said goodbye to my last visitor for the day, my fiance, and I told him a d he told “everything will be okay”… At 7pm the infectious disease specialist came in and said “I am scheduling you for the first appointment with our lead surgeon at 6am… You will likely need surgery with it being MRSA as the antibiotics can only slow it down and you will need surgery”… To this I was left to my own and a few spiritually inspired visitors that evening, one being a security guard, who helped brig my empathy up and focus beyond myself, which was helpful, however his shift ended at 5am and with little sleep I was waiting for the scheduled surgeon to show up at 6am… Then 6:30, then frantically asking nurses how to contact, then a crufuffle screw up of charting and having to leave voice mails for the infectious disease specialist
    In charge of my case about “where is the surgeon” and “the statistical odds I will survive a MRSA caused necrosis fall by percents of 10 every hour and a half any neccessary surgery is performed… I am scared!”… By 8am I have looked at the odds, the horrors of treatment I would have to survive to in best case scenario to get 40% likely to survive, and the now with MRSA odds, and with it being in my neck, of a survival rate somewhere around maybe 15% really lucky… And I broke. I just decided that I would rather accept death and go home with some morphine, antibiotics, fluids and whatever and live another 12-72hrs max, and be with family and friends and a hospice nurse, that to die in a hospital chasing a 15% max survival rate. … I cried for any pain or harm I’ve cause in this life, I cried for any pain or harm my passing now would cause for those who love and care about me, I cried in gratitude for all I’ve been given and all I’ve been able and allowed to give, I made my peace, accepted my life as it has been, and prayed that God would allow for my life to equal out as a force for good in other’s lives even if it ended right then… No room for regrets, no room for what ifs or anything but simple submission to what was at that moment and obvious truth: my life had been what it had been and I hoped it had been good enough for all, I apologised for not having the willingness to go thru so much extra pain to maybe gain extra days of life, but of what quality and use to others and myself, I could not know… I accepted my basic spiritual center and have everything up to that to be given up to that which is beyond and larger than I can know, and then after the tears, then I thru on a comedy spiel by Bill Hicks about how life is just a ride, and I laughed, and as I laughed everything went, and by time I was done laughing well “I” was no longer “me”… If that makes sense. Suddenly I simply was; a consciousness not attached to any self identity or seemingly any knowledge of even the situation, it just was all that was “me” (without me), and having gotten up from the bed with my paralyzed arm to sit in a chair to cry and pray, well once done with that and then released by laughter of acceptance of this entire life death cycle, then “I”/”it”/”pure awareness” was in that chair, in my body, looking thru my eyes and seeing… BLUE, grey, yellow, sunshine on the wall, feeling warmth, coolness, all so very pleasant, more pleasant that I myself as who I am has ever known the senses and perceptions to be, and the “it” becoming aware that vision/eyes moved to see with the interests of curiosity… An astounded peaceful yet playful state of being within my body took over everything… Eventually those curiously driven eyes landed on the arms and hands upon the arms of the chair, a thought arrived; “is this “mine”/me part? does it move with the interests? like when the movement too look with interest does?” At first “it” looked at my left hand because that is where it had ended scanning the room and came back to its/this “self”; thus the left fingers moves, the left wrist moves, the left hand moves, the left arm moves and thus the understanding that was a part of “it’s body” was made clear and now felt was a sensation of muscular movement which made felt an axis, shoulders, head above, eyes on head, head on neck, neck which turns, eyes which lead or follow, but always focus, and then with this bit of knowledge the face is turned upon the neck “its” eyes move to the right hand which it suspected was there from the whole body sensation of moving the left… these eyes which were mine and are mine, but which were not belonging to me in the moments, they focuses upon the paralyzed hand of a paralyzed arm resting upon to chair… And just as simply, effortlessly and as filled with a very pure childlike interest and curiosity as it’s motivator, “this it” “this being/knowingness” it heard an echo “that is paralyzed, you cannot use it”, to which a sort of inner laughter rose for a moment, and it just looked down and without effort at all beyond command, “it” wiggled those fingers, raised that hand at the wrist, lifted that arm and twirled it straight out in front as if physiological paralysis was nothing but a silly concept of its prediscescor. Upon this accomplish of symmetry “it” stood and eventually gazed upon the mirror above the sink, and knew what it was, and decided to go have a look at the rest of “itself” … There it saw a face, eyes looking back at eyes, and there was then the curious wonder “what is this thing that I am within?”…”To control, to have, to be, to know? … Surely all aim towards experience, and experience this is” … I was not there, perhaps the memories and habits of posture and all parts of myself were still within my brain, but I never looked back at my own face in that mirror and I never “willed” a paralyzed limb back to life… This was something purer, the most basic essence of consciousness with all but the most basic experience of operating within a body stripped away… However my brain was not wiped clean, it just wasn’t “me” operating it. … Free of pain but not the memory of it this more clarity driven consciousness jumped a no longer aching in horrid pain, no longer paralyzed or even weakened body up onto the bed and sat cross legged arms resting on knees, hands in some pose I myself never used… And then IT brought itself to reflect upon the body/being/person-ality(?) IT was attached too to surmise a situation… And clearly it began to find words; “to say goodbye”, “to accept that this life in this body may be reaching it’s limits”, ” to release with kindness and compassion for others that this experience of this life is physically coming towards an end”… At this point parts of me began to be reincorporated into whatever that pure state of awareness was, tho strangely I was not alone in making the phonecall to my fiance that he may want to come to the hospital ASAP because it did not seem based on all I had been made aware that lest some miracle of medicine present itself, I was not going to survive this, by choice and by chance. … He arrived in 30 minutes and was besides himself as he said “look you are sitting upright you can move your arm, you say you are not in pain… Certainly you have to be getting better”… And I, it, us together could not answer for all that was felt was a knowledge, a deep sense of “you must live if you can for his sake, he is not ready to loose you”… And then within moments it was known what to needed to be done to make a final stand for a fight that maybe had some merit given this new strength of body and ability of mind to KNOW what to do. So as 9am rolled around and still no surgeon no doctor, i was at least partially being utilized to stay in the saddle of life: “call my ex, call my sister, tell them to call the hospital administrators office and threaten a potential lawsuit based on the outcome of my case, “our family lawyer can be there within 45minutes if you do not believe our friend/sister is worthy of the medical consultations her primary doctor at your hospitality has promised she would have three hours ago. Within 15 minutes heart tests and breathing treatments had been suddenly administered, and within 20 the neurologist had arrived to he quite perplexed to see me moving my arm and in no pain despite the still grapefruit sized protrusion on my neck… Within 45 min the infectious disease specialist in charge of my case was there, and this is what she said “I am so sorry to make you wait and worry, I was waiting on confirmation of your lab results, as it turns out you do not have MRSA, and it seems that the antibiotics are working especially given your pain and paralysis being gone… This is quite unexpected, but we will keep you one or two more days on the IV antibiotics, do one more scan of your neck, and if the tissue has healed and the swelling gone down and the rest of your labs show the infection is under control and you are healing we can release you without surgery and only three weeks of at home antibiotics and rest unless any of your symptoms worsen, you are very lucky, & I guess we caught it early. I thanked her … As soon as she revealed this tho, and by time I’d thanked her and she’s left the room and my physical survival was basically ensured, well, it only took about 10 minutes for the paralysis to return, and a little longer for the remaining lessened, but still very much there, pain to return. … And then I was back to being me, and just very much left in awe of what that kind of experience of loosing yourself to the point where even biologically caused paralysis and pain dissapear as if nothing to a new very innocent untouched kind of consciousness taking over, …. To say “it happened to me” might be a correct way to state it, but truly it didn’t happen to me, it happened without me… I gave myself up to the inevitable we all face, but only because I was then & there facing a choice either to endure it & to stay attached, or to release all of everything to a higher power, and chose and I released to some whatever, any, however it could be, however it was, a higher power, & I lost my attachment to life, but not cause I was literally physically dying in that moment, and not because I was angry or lost and love or compassion, no it was simply cause from everything I knew at that point I was gonna be literally physically dieing soon enough so I just wanted to make my peace with it, and peace with it I did make, and by whatever means, however lucky or divinely orchestrated, the diagnosis changed to one that could be healed, and my symptoms showed it would likely be without need of surgery and that the 60% chance to die treatment rate was off the table “we had caught it soon enough yada yada yada” we’re the explanations, except for the neurologists who honestly couldn’t explain their test results of before while I had the paralysis & total loss of sensation, to then during the loss of the paralysis and pain but also gain of sensation, and then after it set back in to paralysis and pain without actual nerve conduction tests of any physical sensation (outside the just generalized pain of that side of my body) even as I was physically getting better and that should have improved… I went home two days later and it took 3 & 1/2 weeks for me to regain functional use of my arm and my hand. … To this day I don’t know exactly how to interpret all this, but I do know a miracle when I experience one, especially if the neurologist says its the first bonafide neurologically impossible miracle she’s seen in her career ( the other neurologist thought I was faking the paralysis, guess it was just too strange for him even after poking so many needles and whatever shock or conductance tests on me during my recover and after my relapse back to paralysis)
    But anyways, thought I’d share. Your journey is much much more the miracle in love of life and endurance of suffering than mine… But I wanted to share because I do know that there is a higher power when it comes to health and healing and it works in so many different ways. Perhaps had I had this dx in a limb or anywhere more survivable than in ones neck, maybe I would not have done the acceptance of death thing and ended up with the wierd road back to health due to a higher force than myself in the manner I had. I would not have given up so easily if it was loss of a leg that was an issue… But I am sure you had your moments and it’s clear youre odds we’re not that great either and I’m sure your higher power brought you thru them in the way that was needed. I think I posted this just cause so many people don’t believe there is anything spiritual or mystical or of a miraculous nature about grave illnesses, but there is and there are and maybe not for everyone, but not everyone is open to miracle because they maybe already have preconcieved ideas of what a miracle is or should he or would be that get in the way. Really it is only going so far down into despair to the point where one has to give up all hope as one has known hope to be, to where it is no longer about self and the wishes dreams or wants of self, but simply the hope that one’s life has given or shown respect for what one’s life means to the lives of others, and that the hope to live really becomes the hope to be of service, of use, of value to others… I know no other thing that has brought more human beings back from the brink of death than the loss of hope regarding ones personal aspirations and dreams to do and to be for the sake of being an individual as one wants to be seen, known or remembered, and the subsequent rediscovery or re-understanding of hope as that thing which makes one selflessly committed to always hoping they are bringing as much joy and fulfilment and comfort and shelter to those whom they love, who love them, and to all others they know and meet.
    Sorry if this is just a rant… I did try tho to put the wierdness of my experience into a context of sort, and to show why I think this transformation happens, why miracles happen, when it seems all “hope” as one knows it is lost. Drop me a line if you like it, maybe we can talk, otherwise take it as it is, and let me tell you I am sincerely glad that you survived. Blessing and peace to you

  2. Katie… I’m so glad you dropped by and took the time to comment. It is important to tell our stories… what you were thinking and experiencing, what was going on around you, and how you were eventually healed. I put this site up to offer hope to people and, if someone pops in and reads your account, it may be what they need to hear at the time. I find it’s also helpful for those standing by watching, who really are at a loss for what to do or say.

    Thank God you survived this and live to tell the tale.

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