One of the things that has helped me tremendously has been finding other survivors of both TSS and ARDS. It can be an incredibly lonely when you feel like you are the only person who understands what you have been through and continue to deal with in your recovery. When people tell me that they are experiencing the same things I can at least strike crazy off my list of issues. Because you all have been so supportive of me I encouraged my friend Christina to write as well. I hope this helps her heal.
Without further adieu here is her story.
What is ARDS? ARDS is an illness with a high mortality rate, that effects more than two million people annually, yet very few people know what ARDS is. ARDS is a life changer. ARDS is terrifying. ARDS stands for acute respiratory distress syndrome. The name implies respiratory failure, but it is so much more.
We all believe that nothing bad will happen to us. Well, aside from possibly loosing a job, a loved one, having a fender bender, etc. Most of us probably expect to experience one of these issues at some point in our lives, but none of us expect to be struck with a life threatening illness. I am here to say, that it absolutely can happen. There are so many things that I never expected to happen to me, that did, all because of ARDS.
When I got sick, I was a young mother of a 9 month old little boy who had been planned, and four and a half months pregnant with a little one who had not been planned. We were loving life with our precious little boy, and, though a little scared, we were so excited about expecting another. We were counting down the days until we would learn if we were having a little girl, or another little boy. However, I fell ill before that could happen.
For me, ARDS began as pneumonia. I feel that people tend to think that pneumonia really isn’t a big deal as long as you seek treatment, but that’s just not true. I found that you really have to stand your ground and demand a second opinion when you feel things just aren’t right. I had a hard battle with ARDS. I survived, but it has not been without it’s difficulties. After ARDS, I had to learn how to eat again, and how to walk again. For the first couple of months into my recovery, I had to watch my mother, father, and husband take care of my son, because I physically could not do so by myself. I had, and still have, issues with speech and memory. I have extreme anxiety anytime I get sick or feel even slightly short of breath. At five months pregnant, I had to listen to a doctor tell me that my baby’s heart was no longer beating. I had to carry my baby for another three weeks before my body miscarried. I never got to find out if my baby was a girl or a boy.
Now, two years later, I have another son who is a year old and my oldest is now three. I love them more than life itself, but I feel like they deserve so much more, than I can offer them. I cannot take them out to play often, because I just cannot keep up. My lungs simply won’t allow it. Many nights, they get a happy meal, pizza rolls, lunchables or something else that is easy for dinner, because I am just to exhausted, and literally collapsing at times, to be able to cook a nice meal. They deserve better than that….they deserve better than me.
Because of ARDS, my whole family has suffered. We never thought something like this would happen to us, but it did. Nobody who goes through this, thinks that it could happen to them, but it does. Please don’t think it can’t happen to you, because it can. I urge you to always seek medical attention anytime you are sick, because it could save your life. ARDS develops very quickly, and it needs immediate treatment.
ARDS can be caused by many different issues. For me it was pneumonia, for Audrey it was toxic shock syndrome, for some others it was an issue with a surgery they had. Just be aware, and talk to your doctor if you feel something is wrong. Stand your ground when it comes to your health, and demand proper examination and treatment. You are the best advocate you have when it comes to your health. If you feel something still isn’t right, demand a second opinion immediately or go straight to the ER.
If you would like to read more about my battle with ARDS, please visit my blog at https://withallmyloveblog.wordpress.com/