Simon Stevens

I am a 36 year old living in Cumbria, England, who contracted NF on 21st July 2005. It entered through a fly bite I got while mountain biking. I initially suffered fever and local pain in my right groin, and finally went to Casualty after about 30 hours of symptoms. I thought (and some doctors agreed that I had a hernia, but eventually saw a consultant who knew it was some kind of cellulitis. After a night in hospital on antibiotics I had an ultrasound scan, and NF was positively diagnosed. I was taken for debridement immediately, and the consultants spent 6 hours operating to remove the affected skin. I am a very lucky man! I came round in Intensive Care feeling relatively fit and well, and didn't appreciate the gravity of the situation until much later. My loved ones went through hell because they'd been told everything, but I was kept minimally informed. This was a very good thing in my opinion, because I didn't ever have to face the possibility of my own untimely death. After 3 days in Intensive Care, I was moved to the ward, feeling fine, to await a transfer to a specialist plastics unit. I went there and was immediately put on vac therapy to prepare for the split skin graft. That procedure went well, and I went home after a total 25 days in hospital. I initially spent a lot of time thinking about the mortality of my loved ones and myself, but this has eased and I am fairly OK with everything now (November 2005). I have a scar of about 300 sq centimetres that was initially fairly restrictive to movement. I'm back running and cycling now though, and it seems to be improving all the time. Reading the stories in these pages tells me I am among the luckiest survivors ever. This is completely due to the experience, knowledge and bravery of my two consultants. My heart goes out to those who haven't been so lucky, and those dealing with the disease right now. I wish you all the very best, Simon Stevens (November 2005)