Linda Masar

My name is Linda Masar and I am a survivor. I am an operating room nurse, was working at the time of my illness, although symptoms appeared on a weekend...November 20th, 2006. I hadn't felt well most of the day, flu like aches, and as the day went on, vomiting. I felt a "sore" area in my right thigh, but don't remember checking it out to see if there was an open cut or scrape. I had my granddaughter with me who was eight at the time, so I muddled through getting her dinner and getting prepared for school, then bedtime...I tried to rest, but was feeling increasingly ill and starting to feel short of breath(!!!???) They say that nurses and doctors make the worst patients, which is very true in my case, because of course I talked myself into a number of scenarios which did not include going to the ER! I was strongly considering Lyme's Disease which I had 6 years ago and it seemed close in symptoms....EXCEPT the shortness of breath, which got worse every hour. I finally called in sick to my job at 2 AM, figuring that I needed to see a doctor in the morning for antibiotics...I kept trying to find a good position to be able to breath better, but it wasn't working....I gave in at 4:30AM and woke my poor granddaughter so we could go to the emergency room...and yes, I drove myself there; fortunately this hospital was only 10 minutes from my home. My granddaughter had to help me into the ER, because by then I was so compromised from the breathing problem. They immediately put me on oxygen and the ER doc took one look, asked me if I had an open wound anywhere, I stammered something about the sore thigh and he told me I was very, very ill. I was so fortunate to have this doctor, who had done research on Necrotizing Fasciitis and the antibiotic Xygris, and who recognized what was going on with me before blood tests or anything. I lastly remember seeing my daughter (my granddaughter's aunt) and telling her to take my car keys and pocketbook because I would probably have to stay overnight...and that she should probably keep Ivy out from school that day. I came to over a month later, in a different hospital! My friends (also nurses) gave me the story of what happened after that early morning ER visit...I went into respiratory failure, was intubated and placed on a ventilator; I swelled up with fluid, went into kidney failure and was placed on dialysis; my arms and legs were covered with the NF bulae (blisters) and at one point I weighed in at 300 pounds (I did start at 245 though, so that wasn't as bad as it sounds) I was diagnosed with sepsis, toxic shock syndrome.The doctors started me on Xygris right away after getting my daughter to sign permission for it because it is a danger in its own right) My blood pressure went extremely low, so I was on many medications to keep me alive....I fortunately remember nothing. This original hospital is a smaller community hospital and did not have the resources to continue to treat me; they stabilized me as best they could (my friends tell me that the ICU nurses there were superb, as were the doctors) and transferred me on Dec 7th to a hospital with a burn unit about 50 miles away. There I was eventually operated on 3 times to remove the dead tissue from my right thigh, and then skin grafted during a 4th operation. I spent a month in the burn unit then transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for 3 weeks to regain some strength and start walking again....which was really difficult!! I have a large piece missing from my right thigh, but I still have my leg, which was in danger of being amputated at one point. I can not go back to work as an OR nurse due to the high physical and mental demands of that type of work; I am on a nerve pain killer for the burning pain experienced in the tissue left on my upper leg, which makes me drowsy and forgetful; BUT I am alive and getting stronger each week, I can enjoy my new grandbaby (a beautiful little girl) born on Dec 27th, I can enjoy my old grandbaby who turned 9yrs old in May....I can be with my wonderful family and friends who rallied around me throughout my illness and now, giving me much comfort and help.....I am blessed and I pray each day for anyone who gets this horrible disease. Thanks for listening to my story....this one had a happy ending!!