April Marie Gentry

I am 24 years old, never been sick besides a cold or the flu. This past September changed my life forever. I had been feeling sick like the flu or something and was trying to shake it. Three days later I had to be taken to the Emergency room, I couldn't breath, I had a temperature of 101 and was so sick that when the doctor came in and ask "what was wrong" I said "I really think I am Dying" my head had never hurt so bad in my life. This was on September the 20th of 2002. I was quickly admitted to the hospital the doctors had no idea on what was happening to me. I had a rash and a boil on my bottom. my left leg was swollen and looked like it had welts on it. The next day the doctors took me to surgery to drain the boil later after the cat scan they had found the virus. It had ate a lot of tissue and muscle in my leg. I was sent to emergency surgery. After I spent 6 days in the ICU, not knowing anything that was going on, and 5 different surgeries later, I finally woke up it was my 7th day in the hospital, I thought I had been there only 2 days, my Mom came in to visit and told me that I had a "Flesh eating virus" I said "no way that is some sci-fi stuff that is not real." later my doctor came in and explained it all to me, I was in shock! I couldn't believe that this could have happen to me I was so healthy. Now I had a cut on my left leg near my groin that ran from the top of my hip down to the bottom of my butt. I spent the next month of my life in the hospital, I was in much pain and was still trying to figure out how or why this happen to me. I will never know the answers to that, but somehow this experience has changed my life forever for the better. When I finally got to come home I had to go back everyday to the hospital and have my wound cleaned. I have been out of the hospital for over a month now and I am doing very well. I will have a scar with me for the rest of my life to remind me to live my life everyday to the fullest, never leave anything unsaid tell people you love them and bring God into your life. You never know what may happen. If it had not been for my family and my friends and my boy friend Craig (who stayed with me the whole time) I don't think I would have made it. Getting this disease has changed my whole life I never really thought I never took anything for granted but now after all I had to go through facing death, I am thankful to be alive and thankful that God gave me a chance to live a better life. I hope my story will give people hope, It was a long hard road that I traveled but with help from God my family, my friends and Craig, the lessons learned have been worth it. I wish everyone good luck and may God be with you and keep you. Never give up hope and it is a powerful thing to have and love will help you through. I would like to Thank my Dad, Mom, brother, Amy and Craig and all my family and friends who was there for me. God Bless, April Marie Gentry PS. Since I have been home I learned that 2 people a man and a woman died this month from the flesh eating bacteria. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these victims, thats what they were victims, this disease has no prejudice and has no sympathy. I am so thankful for my doctors at the University of Tennessee hospital, for the good work they done for me! Also a really big Thank you to my therapist Johnny, Tammy, and Witt.