Kris Plant

Hi, my name is Kris. I sit here on this bright, sunny, bitterly cold March afternoon and thank GOD I am alive to be awaiting a massive hernia repair surgery. The hernia covers my whole stomach from under my belly button runs to both of my hips and across and then down to my pubic area. I am an NF survivor and this is my story. It begins in September of 2005 and as of yet is not finished. I had a hysterectomy, due to tumors and really bad menstrual periods. During my recovery in the hospital from that procedure, I ran a low grade temperature and was treated accordingly. After two days in I was released and sent home with what I call paper tape staples in my abdomen. The first night home I experienced diarrhea and an upset stomach and a headache, the next day I was lethargic and still running a low grade temp, I attempted to eat, but could not hold anything down. This night I slept or tried to sleep sitting up in my living room chair as lying down was not an option, due to "pressure" in my abdomen and groin area, I had diarrhea again. The next morning, I went to shower and when I removed the depends that I was wearing as a protectant for my incision, I noticed some drainage and a slight odor, I thought nothing of this and got into the shower, I was about soap up when to my absolute horror I looked down to see a foul, thick, yellow, bloody puss streaming down off from me and into the shower, that was when the odor hit me and I vomited right there in the shower. I dried off as best I could and called my doctor. I was advised to go immediately to the ER. Upon arrival I was seen by the attending physician and she immediately called a surgeon into the room, they took my temp which was still low and I was told I would need a debridement, I had no pain during this whole thing, I thought they were going to flush out the incision,,,boy was I wrong! I waited for several hours in the ER for an antibiotic to be IV'd into me and off I went. I awoke in the ICU and was told to just rest, my husband and family would be there soon. I don't remember them coming. I do not remember the following day either. On the third morning in the ICU they returned me to the OR and did another debridement. I was awoken by a surgeon and told I was being transported to a larger better staffed and equipped hospital, because they could do no more for me as the infection had started turning my cervix necrotic. I remember being petrified because when someone in this area is transported to this particular hospital it usually means they are dying and dying rapidly. I had just enough time to call my Mother, whom had flown across the country to be with me to help in my recovery from the hysterectomy, and ask her to call my husband and tell him where they were taking me. The ambulance ride was merciless, the nurse that accompanied me kept giving me shots of morphine about every ten minutes of the 45 minute ride and it did not help because now I had PAIN! I vaguely remember being taken into the hospital, but I know I was rushed straight to the OR. I awoke later that day to find my husband holding me in his arms and telling me he loved me, I proceeded to then vomit up some portions of my stomach and then go unconscious. I do not remember the week I spent in the ICU or the day they moved me to the cancer ward of the hospital a critical care unit, however I do know they had me in the or everyday for more debridement, which in the end cost me my whole abdomen, some 2 feet of bowels, about 1/2 of my stomach, some of my bladder and some of my cervix. Throughout this I did not run a high fever. 101 was the highest it went. I was sent to the OR everyday and had some 23 surgeries in 2 weeks, and in the 3 weeks to follow was put under to have my dressings changed. I lost a total of 52 lbs in that 3 weeks 20 of it being my abdomen and organs being debrided and or removed. I also had had so many IV's that they ran out of places in my hands and placed a port line under my right arm to a major vein to run the IV's after they ran out of places in my hands, they also placed and sewed in a heperine patch into my left shoulder to try to reduce the pain it left me paralyzed on my whole left side, normally they use shots of heperine into the stomach area but due to my wound they had to give them to me in my thighs "the patch had to be removed". I lost count of the needle marks as they gave me shots of it every four hours for weeks. I still carry the scars of the "pick line" and the patch. My stay in the hospital lasted a little over a month and I was sent home with a drain vac. This was another nightmare. I couldn't eat or drink or urinate or have a bowel movement. I thought it was due to my lack of eating and drinking in the hospital, two days after I returned home I was visited by the home health care nurse, to change my vac dressing, the procedure took 2 and 1/2 hours, because not only was it vaccing my wound but due to the depth and nature of the wound it was also vaccing my organs into the mesh, and was excruciatingly painful. I do not cry easily but I bawled like a baby who was colicky. The following day when my nurse came "they came 2 times daily" to check on me there was a smell coming from the dressing area and she said it was nothing to be alarmed about. Three hours later I was again making the 45 minute trip to the hospital again. It turned out I had a yeast infection in the wound. Thankfully the doctor didn't know how to replace the vac and gave me a wet to dry dressing, in which she placed nine rolls or kerlix gauze and I was sent home again. Now that we look back on it, the vac had made it impossible for me to hold anything at all down and was a blessing, because I could now eat and drink and my bodily functions returned. This was right around Thanksgiving at this point and I was happy to be with my family. Until I got an infection in my toenail of my left great toe...I was hospitalized again, to be watched in case the NF had returned. THANK GOD it hadn't. During this whole time I had to have special dressings and required two daily dressing changes which eventually tore the skin on my stomach and I ended up with another infection. This happened again after my wound was healed as well because due to the hernia my skin was stretched so far it could not hold out germs. I tried to die a total of five times during this ordeal, I lost most of my hair due to all the narcotics and the stress of the infection on my body. This whole ordeal has been an experience I wish I had never gotten the chance to have. It has had severe effects on my family emotionally and financially, and as I stated earlier it is not yet over, I don't know what the odds are of contracting this infection again, but I know I am really afraid of the next surgery. I am grateful that this site has been set up for us survivors to tell our stories and to talk about our ordeals. This infection I would not wish upon my worst enemy and I am eternally grateful that I have survived to this point. I want to say to all the folks and their families out there that are survivors, MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS ALWAYS, and live and love as if this were your last day on earth because I have found out just how precious life is and what a privilege to it is to live it. Love To You All.