Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
In June 2016, 4 months after my accident the last thing my body felt was “normal.” I was still very weak but at this point I could at least pour myself a glass of milk. My organs felt like they were floating on the outside of my stomach. My legs were so small they were as round as a quart sized milk jug, to me I felt like I was walking on toothpicks and I could snap any minute. I was eating a lot throughout the day but I knew it was going to take a while for my weight to stick on me again. In June I weighed 110 pounds and was 9% body fat.
Since I relearned how to walk in the hospital, I walked everyday. That was my way of gaining my strength back. I could only walk a lap or two a day then after a few months I worked my way up to a mile. That was very exciting!
When I moved back to Statesboro I would walk on Gentilly Trail. In college I always jogged on this trail so one day during my walk, I wanted to see if I was physically able to. I tried to jog, took one step and that was all my body could handle. My stomach was so heavy, I thought my organs were going to rip through my scar. I was so fragile, I felt like my legs were going to snap from under me. I was so sad, I started crying right there on the trail. Since I was a kid and all throughout high school I played basketball and ran track. I was the fastest girl in my school, so not being able to jog broke my heart.
That moment on the trail I gained clarity and I knew I had a long way to go in my recovery. Feeling weak didn’t stop me, it gave me the motivation I needed to work hard daily and not give up. I was on a mission to feel strong and normal again. No matter how hard it was, I ate 6 meals a day. Every day I walked my dog Benz Marley at least a mile and practiced yoga.
Soon I started to see my muscles coming back in, very exciting! I started noticing I could shoot a basketball, I could open the pickle jar, I could carry my own groceries, I was asking for help on simple tasks less and less. I was starting to feel like Tory again!
Practicing yoga on Gentilly Trail!
June 2017, just a year later I was walking on Gentilly Trail and I got the guts to try jogging again. I was nervous but I told Benz Marley with a smile on my face, “Benz baby here goes nothing!” I took one step and then two and I couldn’t stop, I was jogging!!!! That was the GREATEST feeling in the world. I could only jog for a few strides but that was such an improvement from last year!
If my accident and recovery has taught me anything it’s to never give up. Especially when times get hard and you feel like the task at hand is impossible, that’s when you push through even more. Nothing is impossible with determination and a strong will on your side!
Thank y’all so much for reading my Septic Shock Story! It is my passion to raise awareness of this silent killer we call SEPSIS and to help other Sepsis Survivors through their recovery process. I am posting every other week, so I will talk to y’all soon! God Bless :)
Peace and Love,
Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from plants and have tremendous healing properties! Essential oils are my natural medicines that help to fight my colds and flu symptoms, relax my mind and body, soothe sore muscles, help with my eczema and much more. When I was released from the hospital, I started diving into my essential oils immediately to help my heal through the trauma is had just endured.
My yogi friend Justine believes Patchouli is perfect for Sepsis Survivors in recovery because "Patchouli is energetically about bringing yourself back into your body." I had an obsession with Patchouli before my accident and now I love it even more because it's helping me find balance throughout my body and mind once again! I first started using Patchouli in college because I suffered from eczema. I couldn’t find anything to calm down my skin. After a few hours of using Patchouli my eczema cleared up and I wasn’t itching like crazy anymore.
Nature is awesome and I love anything natural! Here are some other essential oils that can help you to heal in a natural way. Lemon, Peppermint, Frankincense, RC - Respiratory Congestion, Purification, Digize, Copaiba, Lavender, Stress Away, Thieves, Panaway. I love sharing about oils and helping people to better their health. I truly believe oils are the best natural way to heal your body, mind and soul.
Thank you so much for following my Septic Shock Story! You can write me a comment on my blog if you want to dive deeper into the oils with me or check out www.youngliving.com! If you have any questions with ordering I can also help with that as well! If you want to order the kit you can order through the link at:
Once you order the kit of 11 amazing essential oils that I listed above, you'll also become a Young Living member :) I'm here if you have any questions! Have a blessed week!
Peace and Love,
May 2016 was the exciting month I finally got to move back home to Statesboro! I texted Skyler and we went to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Sombrero! I had never gone to Compassion on a Sunday before but when I was in recovery I longed to go to church. I had never felt that feeling before.
While I was in the hospital things were going wrong all the time and I was so scared. The only time I felt peace was when I prayed and whenever someone would come in my room to pray and talk about Jesus with me. I prayed every night with my healing stones and my healing blanket wrapped around me. I prayed every time I was scared. I prayed every time something awesome happened. Every time I prayed I could feel the Lord with me and the best word to describe the feeling is peace.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
- 2 Corinthians 12:9
When Skyler and I were at dinner I told her I wanted to join her at church on Sunday! The first Sunday I went, I was so excited to hear her and Andrew sing and be around other people who love Jesus. Everyone there welcomed me with open arms and open hearts! I felt at home. Ever since that Sunday, going to church is now apart of my routine. Sundays are my favorite day. I love going to church to sing and learn about our amazing Lord. I didn’t have these feelings before my accident, I didn’t know what I was missing.
The first time I watched a baptism it was so powerful and it spoke to me. I’m not the same person I was before my accident and I’m not chasing the Old Tory anymore. At that moment I knew I wanted to commit my life to Jesus Christ, to be forgiven for all my sins and to continue walking in His path. I told Skyler and she was so happy for me and that was the moment she told me I was her ONE!!! That was a very special moment for us.
On December 18, 2016 was the special day I was baptized by my amazing friend Skyler Frazier! That was the day I committed my life to Jesus and I have not felt more alive!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11
Skyler Frazier on the left, Tory on the right. "Perfect love casts out fear" <3
I may never know the reason why or how my duodenum perforated but sometimes God doesn't intend to give you the answer. The perforation in my stomach isn't the point of my story. The point of my story is, once I was lost and now I am found. I once strayed away and now I am saved. God might not ever give me an answer to my accident but he answered my prayers.
I may not have always attended church every Sunday but ever since I was a young girl I have always prayed every night before bed. I am very thankful for everything in my life and I tell the Lord through my prayers. Since I was young, I have prayed and prayed every night for God to guide me down His path. He took my hand when I was fighting for my life, and He saved me. Now I am walking down the path He chose for me and I could not feel more alive.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” - James 1:2-3
Thank you so much for reading my blog and following my Septic Shock Story! It is my passion to raise awareness of SEPSIS! I hope y'all had a good holiday weekend, have a blessed week :)
Peace and Love,
May 11th was the exciting day I got to move back home to Statesboro, GA. I was so ecstatic to get back to my old life, working at the job I loved, and being surrounded by my friends. I was only two months of being out of the hospital so I was still in my extensive recovery period. I was still so weak and extremely skinny that you could see my rib cage and every bone in my body. I only had 8% body fat and for woman my age anything below 19% is considered low.
My surgeon re-routed my stomach to the left side of my body and attached it to my small intestine. He also had to cut out a small part of my stomach so my body was trying to adjust to the new changes. I didn’t eat solid food for 22 days in the hospital so my stomach shrank back to the size of a baby. It also went back to the functionality of a baby’s stomach. I had to eat every two hours on the dot or my stomach would hurt extremely bad for hours. Now I know why babies cry when they’re hungry because their stomach literally hurts. I had to stretch my stomach out again so I could only eat small amounts at every meal. If I ate too much then I would have the worst pain for hours. Eating was trial and error for a few months until my stomach got used to eating real food again. I endured a lot of pain but I was very thankful to be eating solid food because my surgeon predicted me never eating a solid meal again a day in my life.
During these few months my recovery consisted of a lot of resting, eating every two hours, walking Gentilly Trail daily, and the little bit yoga I could do. I was very sad for how weak and fragile I was, if the wind blew hard enough I felt like I would blow away. My entire life I was athletic so this was new for me.
I had so much determination to gain my strength back so I walked daily from the time I was released from the hospital. Walking was the most I could handle physically and at this point I could walk a mile so that was exciting! I walked on Gentilly Trail every day and this was the trail I had been jogging on for years while I was in college. I wanted to try jogging and boy was that a mistake. I could only take one step and I felt like I was going to topple over. Jogging felt so foreign to me and my organs still felt like they were on the outside of my body. This made me so sad because I ran track, played basketball, was extremely active all of my life and at 23 years old I couldn’t even jog. My heart was broken but I was so thankful to be out of the hospital and walking on a trail in nature that my tears were a mix of happy and sad.
I have practiced yoga since 2013 and loved it since the first day I stepped on my mat. I had a gnarly scar from my sternum to my pelvis that kept me hunched over for months because it was extremely tight. My organs still felt like they were on the outside of my stomach so I never thought I was going to be able to practice again. I couldn’t even do something as simple as baby cobra or bend over to touch my toes. I would just sit on my yoga mat and cry, they were happy and sad tears once again; sad tears because I couldn’t move my body like how I used to but happy tears because I was so thankful to be out of the hospital and even sitting on my yoga mat.
Meet my best friend Shelby! My first day back to work and you can totally see the excitement on our faces!
May 22, 2016 was the exciting day I went back to work at my job, A Smokin Place! I didn’t care how tired or weak I felt, I was just so excited to get back to work and being around the positive vibes the shop has to offer. I just wanted everything to feel normal again. I was striving to have my old life back, and kept wishing known of this had ever happened to me. Nothing felt normal, my body, my mind, my heart. I had so many unanswered questions that I was longing for the answers to.
Thank y’all so much for reading my Septic Shock Story and my trials during my extensive recovery period. I am so grateful to be alive today to share my story in hopes to raise awareness of this silent killer we call SEPSIS! God Bless!
Peace and Love,
I always said if sharing my story helped one person then it would all be 100% worth it. I've received a lot of awesome feedback about how my story has helped a great number of people but this time it really hit home for me. This beautiful girl Sarah Rinker, has been dealing with Crohn's flare up for a while now. She thought she was on her road to recovery then one Friday at work, she started to feel nauseous and then the puking began. Then pain in her abdomen started. She knew something was very wrong and thankfully she works with an amazing group of people who brought her to the hospital immediately. Thank goodness because early on Saturday morning she was rushed into emergency surgery to have a portion of her bowel removed due to a perforation, and her abdominal cavity was cleaned to prevent infection. SO CRAZY! That’s kind of like my story, with my duodenum perforating!
Sarah said she read my story a couple of months ago and because of that, she went to the ER way sooner than she would have normally gone. How cool is that, to see my story helping people all around the world! It's so amazing and heartwarming to see. I am so blessed she read my story and that helped her make the decision to go to the hospital sooner.
Sarah, I am very happy my story helped you not wait another minute longer in going to the hospital. You’re very beautiful and you are in my prayers to have a speedy recovery! God Bless!
It felt like magic being in the comfort of my own home after being bedridden in Vegas hospital for 25 days. Cuddling up with my blanket, in my clothes, with the smells of incense and candles was right where I wanted to be. I was so blessed to be out of the hospital, and home safely from Vegas.
My mom started washing all of my clothes that were in my suitcase from my business trip. She wanted to wash off all of the bad vibes and I didn’t blame her.
When I went into cardiac arrest and arrived at the hospital on February 1, 2016 I was wearing leggings, black boots, a black shirt with a plaid shirt over it.
The craziest thing happened when my mom washed all of my clothes and pulled them out of the washing machine. My plaid shirt I wore during my cardiac arrest, was now torn and ripped from every stream. It was also covered in a red color which looked like blood to me. It did not enter the washing machine with anything on it but awful memories of excruciating pain, cardiac arrest and me fighting for my life. My black shirt was cut straight down the middle. These shirts witnessed it all.
All of the other clothes were totally fine. My parents have a nice washing machine so it hardly ever ruins clothes. That was very scary. But it was a clear sign to me, to leave everything in the past and move forward with your beautiful life today. I didn't know what life had in store for me. I had very little hope until my friend shared this bible verse with me while I was in recovery and now it is my guide through life:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11
Thank you everyone so much for reading about my Septic Shock Story! My purpose of sharing my story is to raise awareness of SEPSIS and it's signs and symptoms so if anyone suspects they have SEPSIS, then they know to go to the hospital immediately. There is no time to waste! Have an awesome week. God Bless!
Peace and Love,
I was released from the hospital on February 25, 2016 and flew to Atlanta that same day. I was so fragile if a gust of wind came by, I would blow away. I had to carry my two drains that were coming out of my stomach and pelvis. We had to bring a pillow from the hospital for me to sit on in the wheelchair because my butt was so boney.
I was so excited to be leaving the hospital but once I left and wasn’t hooked up to IV antibiotics anymore it hit me; I have been hooked up in the hospital for 25 days and now I’m living on my own. Am I ready for this? What if I left too soon? What if I die again? I didn’t even know what put me there in the first place and now I’m out in the real world again. I was surprisingly terrified.
My dad loves Pawn Stars so being in Vegas, of course we had to stop by. It was SO weird walking outside, breathing and feeling the fresh air. I had to walk super slow because if someone touched me I would topple over like a sack of potatoes. I love Pawn Stars too so that was cool being the first place I visited after coming back to life.
I spent the first part of my recovery at my parents house in Marietta, from February 26, 2016 until May 11, 2016. Moving back in with my parents was the only option because I needed around the clock help. I couldn’t pick up a gallon of milk or put my dishes away because they were so heavy. They helped me with everything from making my plate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to my mom bathing me. I was so skinny and weak I couldn’t lift my arms to wash my hair or even hold my balance. We also had to be very careful because we couldn’t get my 15 inch scar on my belly wet.
Showers were a lot of work, and they were physically and emotionally exhausting. I would stare at what was left of my body which was skin and bones and would just cry my eyes out. I scared myself because I was literally a skeleton.
I was so skinny I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs without someone behind me making sure I didn’t topple backwards. I couldn’t do much but rest and I barely had any energy.
My family was by my side throughout my entire recovery and did not let me give up. My dad and I worked hard on gaining my strength back daily by walking up and down my driveway. In the beginning I could only handle once a day but after a couple of weeks I could handle 3 times a day. We walked daily and in April I could proudly say I was walking a mile around my neighborhood! At the beginning I never thought I would get past my driveway, hard work really does pay off!
My excitement when I got my last drain pulled on May 4, 2016. I had this drain in since my surgery on February 2, 2016.
I was basically starting over like a baby, physically and mentally. My stomach was also starting over like a baby too. A small part of my stomach was cut out and then it was rerouted to the left side of my body. We didn’t have a manual on what just happened to me and we didn’t know what my stomach could and couldn’t handle, so it was all trial and error. If my stomach didn’t like it or if I ate too much it would hurt so bad for hours. We figured out quick my stomach liked simple foods. Not bbq chicken, just chicken. Not chicken, mac and cheese with green beans. Just chicken.
I dealt with awful nightly stomach pains for months. I went to the ER one time due to my pains and they told me my intestines were twisting. My intestines weren’t tightly packed inside me anymore, so that was very possible. I dealt with horrible stomach pains every night from the time I got home until May. We couldn’t figure out a solution. Is this what the rest of my life was going to look like? This is when my obsession with candles, incense and oceans waves really began to crank up because I spent night after night dealing with fist quenching pains.
My doctors visits didn’t end when I left the hospital. I had to see Dr. Schwab, my general surgeon once a week until my drains were ready to come out and I was in the clear health wise. Dr. Schwab was handsome so I didn’t mind seeing him once a week. May 4, 2016 was the exciting day my last drain was pulled and I was that much closer to moving back to Statesboro! I felt human again! I stayed a week in Marietta after my drain was pulled to make sure everything was still going well. May 11, 2016 I packed my bags for the last time and moved my happy butt back to Statesboro. My rehabilitation in Statesboro now begins.
I want to thank my readers so much for following my Septic Shock Story! I’ve had so much great feedback with people learning about SEPSIS and learning from my story. At the beginning I said if sharing my story would help just ONE person, then that would make me extremely happy! I hope everyone has an awesome week, see y’all next Monday! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
Yoga has been a huge blessing in my life, before and especially after my accident. I started practicing when I came to college and immediately fell in love. Summer of 2013 was when I started practicing daily and it changed my life forever! Through practicing I learned that yoga wasn’t just about becoming more flexible and doing cool handstands.
The purpose of yoga is to unite ourselves with our highest nature. Yoga taught me how to become one with my body, learning how to connect my mind, body and breath. Breathing is very important in yoga because it causes the movement of energy throughout your body and helps your body to relax.
Yoga is the process of self-discovery and allows you to become more aware of who you are. The practice helped to create space throughout my body after being bedridden in a hospital bed for a month. I was skin and bones when I was released from the hospital but yoga helped me to love and appreciate my body once again. Once you start practicing you become aware of your mind and all the noises it creates.
It’s amazing because yoga helps me even more off of the mat. I have a lot of anxiety since my accident, and yoga has helped me learn how to breathe. When I start to panic or feel unsafe I start breathing my ujjayi breathe and the feeling of calmness soars throughout my body and mind.
My soul felt dead after my accident. I didn’t want to listen to music, I didn’t laugh at jokes, I was very angry, sad and confused. I didn’t understand why something so awful would happen to me.
Yoga is what brought me back to life. While I was in the hospital I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to practice again, I was relearning how to walk and I was the weakest I had ever been. The thought of not being able to practice my passion in life broke my heart.
I knew before I stepped on my mat I was going back to the basics. Think of my scar as a tummy tuck, it was so tight that it wouldn’t allow me to stand straight up.
First I would sit on my mat and just cry. They were happy and sad tears all at the same time. I was so happy and thankful to be on my yoga mat again! But I was very sad because I physically couldn’t do much. I had never been physically weak before so this was all new and very scary to me. Not being able to pour myself a glass of milk or put my own dishes away because they were too heavy.
I couldn’t do baby cobra and that was just a shock! Something that was so simple before, I couldn’t do now. My happy place was on my mat so I got on it everyday even though I couldn't do much. I started seeing progress after a month, I stretched my scar out some and was able to do baby cobra. That was beyond exciting! I continued to see progress throughout my body and mind. I was loving it. I was starting to feel like Tory again.
I honestly never thought I would physically be able to do a backbend again because of 15 inch scar going straight down my belly. I was scared to try the first time because when my scar stretches it hurts really bad and I didn’t think my arms had enough strength to hold my body. I was so wrong! The first time I tried my backbend was a year after my accident in February and I was with my friend Carmen. Breath and go! WOW Carmen I’m in my backbend! I jumped for joy and I’m sure she could feel my excitement!
If my accident and recovery has taught me anything, it’s to have faith and to never give up. I worked hard everyday to gain my strength back and I’ve witnessed so many beautiful miracles. God is beyond amazing.
I was reminded of the power of yoga and connecting to my breath when I realized I felt alive again, integrating yoga and meditation into my healing. When I connect to my breath, the physical and emotional pain I was suffering would go away, and my mood would feel calm, focused and happy. It was during my mindful practices that I would listen to God and my life purpose slowly started to emerge from the muddy waters.
I am very thankful to have yoga in my life because it helped me to make peace with who I am again. The goal of yoga is to love,... well, yourself! It did just that, yoga helped me realized I am not a weak girl who can’t pick up a gallon of milk. I am a strong girl who can’t pick up a gallon of milk, YET! Thank y’all so much for reading today's blog post, see y’all next week! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
I thought we were never getting out of the hospital, or leaving Vegas. From a business trip that was only supposed to last 4 days, lasted for a dreadful month. Everyday more life-threatening problems would arise and I didn’t think they would ever stop. We would take one step forward and three steps back for 25 days. I was in a very dark tunnel and I could not see the light at the end of it.
My dad flew into Vegas to surprise us for the second time on February 23, 2016. Our mission was to get me out of the hospital and home to my family. My dad arrived and immediately talked to Dr. Jaradat and asked him what needed to happen for me to get discharged.
At this point, my white blood cell count was still high but it was coming down. The only thing that was going to kill the rest of the bacteria in my body was the strong antibiotics I was on. They can only be administered through IV, hence why they wanted me to stay at the hospital and to monitor me. I was so fragile and no one wanted me to leave Desert Springs. Realistically, I should have stayed for another week or more but I was losing my mind so that wasn’t an option. I left the hospital with two drains; one coming out of my pelvis from the abscess drainage, and the other coming out of my stomach located next to my injury site.
My caseworker was throwing us with so many curve balls before I could be discharged. First they recommended I have home-health care set up at my parents house in Georgia. Then I needed to I have a general surgeon appointment already scheduled for the next week. My case was so crazy and no other surgeon would want to touch another surgeon's work, so we were nervous no one would take me. Luckily Dr. Schwab at WellStar Surgical agreed to taking on my case! That was checked off the list.
The last hurdle was getting Dr. Qureshi, my infectious disease doctor, to agree to letting me take my antibiotics orally. After hours of waiting, he appeared in my room late one night and delivered the best news ever. Dr. Qureshi said the bacteria left in my abdomen was yeast and approved of me taking my antibiotics orally!
February 25, 2016 was the happiest day of my life!!! I was finally being discharged from Desert Springs Hospital and leaving Las Vegas. The entire hospital could feel and hear my excitement! I seriously thought this day would never come.
After a year of recovery and writing through my blog, I am just now understanding exactly what my body and I went through. They were trying to tell me in the hospital and I was not comprehending anything. My only mission was to get out of the hospital. I did not understand in any way shape or form how serious the trauma I had just endured really was. I thought I could stand up and walk right out of that hospital, and little did I know, I couldn’t walk at all.
Thank y’all so much for reading my Septic Shock Story! My crazy hospital adventure is over so now the following posts will go into details about my road to recovery, leading up to how Sepsis Awareness United was founded! Those of you who don’t know, Sepsis Awareness United is the nonprofit organization my friends Will Dickman, Kevin Ulmer and I have started to raise awareness of SEPSIS to the world and also be a friend to other Sepsis Survivors. See everyone next week! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
I went twenty-two days without solid food, without any food inside of my stomach. My surgeon rerouted my stomach to the left side of my body so no food would travel through my repaired duodenum. My doctors weren’t sure if I was ever going to be able to eat a solid meal again. We had to test myself by introducing my stomach to three different phases of food to see what I could handle. I started off with the clear liquid diet, liquid diet and then luckily I advanced to solid food.
The first week when I woke up from my coma I wasn’t hungry and my belly never growled. All I cared about was water and ice chips. My stomach couldn’t even handle that when I first woke up. The nurses cleaned my vomit a few times.
I started my clear liquid diet my last night I was in the ICU. When he brought my tray in it felt like the food heavens just came down from above. I had forgotten the taste of food so the smells of warm broth were sensational.
My tray consisted of clear liquid soup, jello, grape juice, a frozen lemonade and apple juice. This was Heaven on Earth! I normally hate jello, but this jello was delicious. This filled me up and I was a happy girl. My stomach handled everything and that was amazing. My clear liquid diet lasted for a couple of days then they bumped me up to a FULL liquid diet.
Thank goodness because the clear liquid diet was not enough anymore. I was starting to feel hungry, my tummy was making noises. My full liquid diet consisted of real soup, tomato or chicken noodle, jello, grape juice, apple juice, cranberry juice and frozen lemonade.
It took forever for my nurses to bump me up to the solid meal diet. Everyone was so scared how my stomach would react to real food, and it was a question if I could digest it or not. It was all a guessing game and I did not know that, thank goodness. I did not know that doctors didn’t expect to eat real food again. I wasn’t informed of a lot during my hospital stay and if I was informed, I was so out of it I wasn’t comprehending much of anything.
Every time the nurse would bump up my diet, the food tasted so good at first. Then after a couple of days, my stomach would want more. I was starting to hear it growl and feel hunger pains again.
Finally my favorite nurse worked her magic and they allowed me to have a solid meal! I was so beyond excited words cannot describe my excitement. It was breakfast, my favorite meal. My first solid meal in 22 days I ate delicious eggs, pancakes, sausage, banana, apple juice and milk. I was literally in food heaven! The best part is my stomach handled everything perfectly. It digested correctly and in that moment we knew the reroute of my stomach was successful. I wasn’t going to have to eat out of a tube for the rest of my life, and we were now one step closer to being discharged from the hospital! YAY!
Thank y'all so much for reading my blog! We are raising awareness of SEPSIS and I cannot thank everyone enough. See y'all next week! God Bless.
Peace and Love,
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