|Kelli Steidle's Survivor Story|
(and 3 year old daughter) were anxiously awaiting the birth of our son
in mid-April of 2004. The pregnancy went great, the labor was easy (3
hours) and I managed to do it all without drugs. Everything seemed so
great. However, by the next evening I wasn't feeling very well and had
peculiar bruising in my groin area. By the 2nd day I told my husband I
didn't want to see anyone because I felt so bad. I told my husband I thought
the "bruise" was growing down my leg. The morning of the 3rd
day I ended up coding in my room, being rushed into surgery, and some
days later remember waking up on a respirator, dialysis machine, and completely
doped up on pain killers. It wasn't until about a week later that I learned
that I had contracted Necrotizing Fasciitis. Approximately 12 debridement
surgeries later I was stripped of a good chunk of my inner thigh and groin
and most painfully it had taken my labia and sphincter. A permanent colostomy
for a woman 35 with two small kids.
I spent 8 weeks in ICU and then it took about 5 months of rehab to regain full use of the leg. Thankfully, however, it was not severe enough to be amputated, as a lot of NF patients must bear. I finally started parenting my son (Neal) after 3 months....the mother-baby bond was so severed I didn't even know this baby or even want him (since I associated his birth with the tragedy). However, after several months with the baby and a bonding counselor we are working towards a loving relationship.
I do not feel sorry for myself and I try and remain very positive about the rest of my life. I do however feel somewhat paranoid about "it" coming back (like the big dark death guy with the sickle was supposed to take me the first time, but somehow I eluded him...so now he stalks me). Hopefully these feelings will pass. I continue to encounter effects of the infection - the scarring left in my back cut off the ureter to the bladder and atrophied my kidney, so that is coming out in March. The other kidney is functioning perfectly so I hope this is the end of this ordeal.
Omaha, NE USA
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February 20, 2005