Homer McCreary

I recently survived a bout of necrotizing fasciitis in my abdomen. Last spring I had an operation to repair an abdominal hernia. Approximately ten days later I experienced swelling, fever and generally flu-like symptoms. I contacted my surgeon's office and was informed that I probably had become dehydrated and should drink more fluids and rest. Several days later I was taken to the doctors and after his exam, cursory at best, was scheduled for an MRI the following day. On May 29, 2001, I was driven to the hospital and that is the last thing I recall until July 12, 2001. Apparently I had contracted NF as a result of the surgery and went into sepsis, which prompted a whole series of operations and procedures over the coming months. During the first several weeks, I experienced liver failure, kidney failure, pseudomonas pneumonia, sepsis, blood poisoning, lungs collapsed and other serious setbacks too numerous to mention here. The majority of this time was spent in a medically induced coma to better enable me to deal with the almost daily operations to arrest the spread of the disease and the twice daily changing of my bandages across my entire abdomen. Eventually, I regained my strength and was allowed to go home after a total of eleven weeks in the hospital with seven of them in the ICU. I lost the majority of my abdominal wall and some intestine and stomach and as a result I was sent home with an ostomy in the upper right quadrant of my stomach. Because I was laid up for so long, I had to learn to walk again and just moving about was a major undertaking. But, I was driving in two weeks of going home and getting into a routine. I was being fed thru an IV due to the ostomy so I was being seen by medical professionals every other day for dressing changes and other ancillary needs. Much to the amazement of my doctors, I had recovered enough by October to schedule the operation to reconnect my intestines and allow me to eat again and rid myself of the pstomy bag once and forever. On October 25 the operation was completed and was a resounding success. I am still slightly tired and rundown but I am resuming an almost normal life. In May, I have some more plastic surgery scheduled to repair my abdominal wall with Gore-Tex patches and repairs to my graft sites as well as removal of some of the exterior scars that encircle my abdomen. My doctors, God bless them, have told me on numerous occasions that without some divine intervention and the caring and concern of my family and friends, I would not be here today. They attribute some of my success in the determination that I demonstrated before and after waking. I found that establishment of short term and intermediate goals helped with my rehab and my mental well-being. I can't say enough about the care I received at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware and the fine medical staff there. I urge that survivors go back and thank the hospital staffs for their efforts to help you survive this insisious disease. Update September 12, 2002 Since getting home last August, I have had four additional surgeries. First, they reattached my intestines, which enabled me to get rid of the ostomy bag and resume eating, additional skin grafts to cover my abdomen. This past May, they implanted a Gore-Tex patch in my abdomen but I rejected it and had to have it removed through emergency surgery. I had a massive internal infection which almost killed me. But, I made it through and have resumed a fairly normal life which includes baseball with my sons, golf, and even a little tennis.