|Edwina Fanaro's Survivor Story|
This survivor story is about my sister Edwina. She was recovering at my home from a hernia operation that took place June 23rd, 2006 when on Monday night, July 3rd she became sick to her stomach and generally felt bad. On Tuesday the 4th in the morning she said she was feeling a bit better and asked for toast and tea. I had to work that day but my husband was home. She called me around noon and told me it was as if her wound burst and pus was oozing from it. My husband took her back to the hospital where they admitted her for an infection. He called me about 3 and said that she told my husband to go home and she would call later. When I returned home at 6:30 pm my husband said the Dr. had just called and wanted me to return his call immediately. He told me my sister had just gotten out of surgery where they had removed a 5 inch diameter area of her abdomen which had become gangrenous, and that she was in the I.C.U. on life support, also that she would need additional surgery the next day. This was when he told me this was a very deadly infection and that it was very possible she would not survive. She had contracted the worst post surgical infection possible. Edwina had Necrotizing Fasciitis. The next day they had to remove more dead skin and tissue which now left her with a 10 to 12 inch hole in her abdomen along with 2 holes (fistulas) in her bowels. For 2 weeks we watched and wondered if my sister would live. We saw blood pressure that was as low as 57/48, high temperatures and blood volume that fell low enough for her to need 2 pints of blood. We watched her in pain, trying to communicate with us. She wasn't heavily sedated due to the drop in blood pressure that the sedation caused. She was on levifed to keep what pressure she did have from going any lower. They began Vac dressings to promote healing of the wound. On Wednesday July 19th they did a tracheotomy to put the ventilator through her throat to try to make her more comfortable and that seemed to give her the incentive she needed to fight this. On July 24th my sister was removed off the critical list. Her blood pressure was good, her fever was 99.4 and I was told by her Dr. that she had turned the corner and his opinion was she would now survive! She will be weaned off the ventilator over the next few weeks, moved out of I.C.U. and then the skin grafts will start. Alot of her treatment will depend on whether the holes in her bowels will leak once feeding is started. We were praying that they will heal on their own. By July 28th it had seemed the holes in her bowels had healed. She was doing remarkably well. She was still trached but had a soft collar which hopefully she will be off that in the near future. She communicates with us through us reading her lips or her writing. She was still confined to the bed but it seems everyday she gets a bit stronger. The skin grafts are finally done on her abdomen. The next few weeks were like a roller coaster with the bowels. One day she would be allowed to eat and then there would be problems. One hole had healed but one was being very problematic. She has been on and off food for 2 weeks now. As of today (August 21st) she is off again. On the 15th she had gotten an infection in an I.V. site which was scary but thank God that was under control within a day. She is still trached but she is out ICU and her skin grafts are healing beautifully. Most of the time her spirits are good. We try and make sure she has company as often as we can. We have even managed to get my mother down twice to see her.
She has a very tough fight ahead of her along with a 1 ½ to 2 year recovery but you see.. my sister is 1 of 9 daughters who are fortunate enough to still have our 87 year old mother with us, she also has 1 son, 2 daughters, 2 son in laws, 1 daughter in law, 5 grandchildren, 8 brothers in law and numerous nieces and nephews. She will have a lot of support and all the love she needs, God willing, to conquer this. We would like to thank her team of doctors (headed by Dr. Geffen) and Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood Pa. for a quick an accurate diagnosis as that seems to be the key in winning the fight with NF. We would also like to thank your website (www.nnff.org) for the help you provided in helping us to understand this disease and what was in store for Edwina. We are just happy that we are able to add her to the survivor stories.
King of Prussia, PA USA
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August 27, 2006