Michael DiVittorio

My name is Michael DiVittorio, a 29 year old from Verona, about 20 minutes outside Pittsburgh. I was diagnosed with NF in April, and feel very fortunate to still have my leg, and hopefully have it back to the strength it was before all this mess. The problem started with an ingrown toenail on my left foot. I did the whole "let it alone and maybe it will get better" technique for a while until I had to do to the doctor on April 11 to get it cut. The doctor cut it and sent me on my way with some discharge papers. I used Neosporin and soaked the foot, and did what I was told on the papers. As I was trying to go to bed that evening, my body became like ice. Nothing could warm me up. I woke up the next day with a fever and extreme pain in my left leg. It wasn't until around 10:30 p.m. on April 12 that I saw my left leg from ankle to knee all red and purple. That's when I figured something was wrong, and went to a nearby hospital. The emergency area already had several people, and I was seen sometime around 1 or 2 a.m. on Friday the 13th, and the infection was spreading up my thigh. They bombarded me with antibiotics around 3 a.m., and I had multiple tests and scans and later admitted to the main hospital. My left leg was cut that evening from ankle to knee, Saturday from ankle to thigh, and a wound vac was installed Sunday. They originally diagnosed me with Cellulitis before discovering it was NF with the help of infection specialists and surgeons. The specialists determined the bacteria came through the open wound of the cut toenail. Changing the wound vac and the sponges was some of the worst pain I've ever felt, and the shape of my leg during the ordeal is something I wish I could erase from memory. They slowly took me off the antibiotics, and I had an allergic reaction to at least one of them. A red rash nearly took over my whole body while doctors diligently worked on adjusting my medications. They put me on a different strand of antibiotics, gave me a cream and other medicine to fight off the rash before it started to impact my other systems. leg two weeks after hospital discharge All the medical personnel at St. Margaret's Memorial Hospital were extremely kind and in awe over the infection and healing process. They stitched me up with at least 100 stitches on a Monday, discharged me on Thursday, and I still cannot walk or put weight on my left leg yet, but I still have it. The doctors said they stopped the infection around the fat layer of the body, and that if it hit the muscles my leg would need amputated. Going to the hospital the same day of noticing symptoms, and being slammed with some of the strongest drugs available covering all known infections within 48 hours really saved my life and limb. I'm still having some problems adjusting to home life after being checked on in the hospital by at least 40 doctors, nurses, specialists and the like. Now it's just me and some family members, sporadic visits from friends and some home visits from nurses. Prior to this infection, I had some major plans for the summer. Among those were vacation, getting in better shape, working hard and going to various events. Now the big event is going to the doctor's office. I can't wait for the day when I can walk again and take a shower, and it's amazing how much you can miss a job when your life is put on hold suddenly. Also, I am very grateful there is a foundation for raising awareness and sharing stories about NF. I just found out about this thing through an internet search in the late evening of May 1. I realize that there are many who are impacted by this bacteria on numerous levels, and I am proud to be a survivor.