Tory Pereira- Sepsis Survivor
Copyright © 2015
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,