Melissa McCaffrey

My name is Melissa McCaffrey and I live in Vancouver British Columbia Canada. I am 26 years old. My story kind of begins in May of 2002, I delivered my son at 23 weeks into my pregnancy, he lived for 8 hours. I was desperate to get pregnant again, and it happened 2 weeks after my loss. I had a stressful but uncomplicated pregnancy, on March 15, 2003 I gave birth to my daughter by emergency c-section. I had a wonderful doctor, Dr. Waterman, who delivered her, and he was so great. I was released from the hospital on March 18. I noticed the next day that my incision was very sore, and the nurse who came by to check on my said it was red, so she would come back the next day to check on me. She came back and noticed it had become worse. She phoned Dr. Waterman and told him and he said he was on call and to come to the ER and have him paged and he would take a look at it. The nurse told me it was common to get infections and that I would most likely be given a prescription and sent home. I phoned my mom at work and she said when she was off she would take me to the hospital. Through out that day I started getting feverish, chattering teeth and I noticed a bad smell. We arrived at the hospital and Dr. Waterman met me and took me to an exam room. He started freaking out and ripping the tape off of my incision. All he said to me was that I was very sick and needed surgery. Within half an hour I had kissed my baby good-bye and was being prepped for more surgery. I came out of it at around 12 that night (I went in at 7) The nurse told me "you are so sick, but you are going to be fine," I asked her what was wrong with me, and she seemed shocked that I did not know. I was moved from recovery and the nurse there said pretty much the same thing, so I asked her what was wrong with me, and was told that the doctor would see me in the morning and explain everything. I clearly remember thinking what do I have like flesh eating disease or something, what's wrong with these people. When Dr. Waterman got there that morning, he was fidgety and talking very fast. It was then that he said Necrotizing Fasciitis So I said to him (being sarcastic) is that like flesh eating disease or something? And to my horror he said "well that's what the media tends to call it". I started crying and he told me I was going to be fine, and then he told me that there was a big opening in my stomach from one hip to the other and that it was packed with sponges and would have to be changed everyday, and heal from the inside out which would take around 3 months. I was just so scared. I met with so many specialists and doctors. On the second day, Dr. Peterson came in to do the first packing change. With 10mg of morphine, 5mg of fentalin she started, I had never felt pain like that in my life, I was freaking out, so she stopped and took me down to surgery and had an anesthesiologist sedate me and finished the change. The next day, Dr. Belange came in to change it again, I have no idea what she did, but I remember none of it! The following day, Dr. Waterman came in to change them and oh my, he just ripped them out and shoved them in, I had 2 nurses holding me down while I screamed and begged and pleaded for him to stop. I have never imagined anything could hurt so bad. When Dr. Waterman came back the next day, I started to freaking out before he even got close to me. I was so hysterical. So the same thing happened again and I was just beside myself. While he was doing this change, there was another doctor with him. About an hour later this doctor came back to talk to me, and it turned out he was a plastic surgeon. He told me that he could do another surgery and close the wound. I was so relieved. The condition was that it would be in 9 days and I had to have the packing changes done 2 times a day until then. So I was more than a little upset when he left. That night I met a doctor that would change my life forever. Dr. Ubie came in and I begged him not to change them that night, and he said ok fine he would see me in the morning. When he came in the next morning I started crying, hyperventilating, shaking so he called in a nurse from the burn unit and asked her what was the best thing he could do for me. She told him I had post traumatic stress from the previous packings and then showed him the best way to pack me, and they were so wonderful, he gave me 20mg of morphine, 8mg of fenalin and laughing gas. As soon as I would start to get upset he would stop let the sponges soak, and talk to me. It took a long time but he was so patient. It was still painful, but nothing like before. He ended up doing the all the packings for me, he even came in on his days off just to do them. He is a very special man to me. The day finally came for my final surgery and I was so scared because the last time I had come out of the anesthetic to fast and could not breathe, so Dr. Legge, assured me that would not happen with him! I came to and wow I was in a lot of pain, my stomach just burned it was awful (but better than having packings done!) I was still feeling pretty crappy though! Mostly just pain, and it was nearly impossible to move. Two days after that surgery I started feeling weird, I really felt like I could not breathe very well. When my mom and Jay got to the hospital, I was really not feeling good and I kept telling my mom it felt like I could not get enough air into my lungs. So when they left my mom talked to my nurse who assured her I was fine. My mom had a strange feeling so at like 11 at night she came back up to the hospital and saved my life. When she came into my room, I was hysterical, hallucinating, just in really bad condition. The nurses are telling my mom I am fine, the resident doctor came in and checked me out and I was just having a severe muscle spasm in my back. At one point I told my mother I was going to die and go to hell, that's when she just lost it. She knew I was sick, so she called my doctor's office (my doctor left the day before my c-section and was in Thailand for 3 weeks) instead she got a hold of Dr. Neopole's husband, Dr. Beresford, who came right away. He spoke with the people who were in charge of my care and just flipped, he was yelling at them and had me taken down for a cat scan right away, where they found I had 3 blood clots, one in the top of my leg, one medium sized one in my left lung and a very large clot in my right lung. They told my mom I might not make it through the night. Also, in order for that large clot to get to my right lung, it had to go through my heart and that it may have caused severe heart damage. I was kept in a medicated coma for 6 days and when I came to I had no idea what had happened, the only thing I remembered where fragments of what happened and I still don't know what is real and what was a hallucination. I will never forget the moment my doctor came running into my room. I cried so hard when I seen her, I just kept asking her what was happening to me. Dr. Neopole has been my lifeline for 10 months, she got me through my loss and my pregnancy, so to say that I am close to her is an understatement. She came straight from the airport to see me. She was wonderful, she really gave me the strength to get better and get home to my baby and my older daughter. If it was not for her wonderful husband, Dr. Beresford, I don't think I would be here to tell my story, the blood clots really almost killed me. And if it was not for Dr. Waterman, I don't even want to imagine. I asked him once how he knew right away that I had NF and he said because he had seen it once before, and once you've seen it, you never forget. I feel so blessed to be alive. After 4 weeks in the hospital, I was able to come home and be with my children. I still have some really bad days, and I am still a little sore across my tummy, but I feel great. My scar is so thin and so low across my tummy, its amazing what Dr. Legge did for me, he gave me more than I could explain. I think all the wonderful maternity doctors at Royal Columbian Hospital are the best of the best, they took such amazing care of me, not to mention the exceptional nurses, microbiologists, disease control specialists, and the wonderful Resperology department. I feel like there were so many times I could have lost my life, yet these wonderful men and woman kept me here and fighting. I don't know what I would have done without my wonderful boyfriend, while I fought for my life he was with the kids, bringing them to and from the hospital daily to see me, he took such good care of me when I came home and even now continues to be my strength. My mom, well I just don't know where to start, she helped take care of me and of our daughters, just amazing. She is so wonderful I love her so very very much. I have made a website for my miracle baby! I have been asked many times if I had known that I was going to have to go through NF, if I would have still had her, and my answer has always been the same....You better believe it! She was beyond worth it all! I am so blessed to have her, and with each smile she gives me, I know that I would never change a thing. Better me sick than for her to have to spend anytime in the NICU!! So here is a link to my sweet girl's web site! Once you see her little face, I think anyone would agree with me!! That's my story! If anyone would like to contact me, please do so at