When I started writing this blog I made the decision to be honest and transparent. I saw no point in glossing things over or hiding the unpleasant details. But I also didn’t want to throw myself a pity party. So I wrote about the struggles and demons I have had to face but I did not write about every struggle or every demon. Many people have offered their help, repeatedly. For that I am forever grateful. But there are only a few I am ever willing to ask it from. The result is that only my nearest and dearest truly know just how hard the hard has been. I have been sick. A LOT. I have been on antibiotics more times than I can remember. I have tried supplement after supplement. Reiki, yoga, protein shakes, pilates,  dry needling, green smoothies, etc. But I’ll never give up my gluten so let’s not suggest that to me again.  When time after time the next hopeful thing didn’t “fix” me I truly started to feel broken. And a little bit hopeless. I’ve tried often to resign myself to the “this is as good as it’s gonna get” and “suck it up buttercup” mentality but I’ve always been an overachiever. Quite frankly I’ve been a bit pissed off at this body of mine that has refused to keep up with this mind.

I have had strep throat and tonsillitis 5 or 6 times over the last year. The last bought of strep brought about tonsil stones. They are vile and make me feel dirty even though I have excellent oral hygiene. My tonsils are little stone and bacteria factories. Then in the past two months I have been hit with one upper respiratory infection after the other. I don’t want to deal with this anymore. Being grateful for being alive only goes so far to outweigh the everyday shit show my health is. I am going in for a tonsillectomy on Thursday. At the very least I won’t get anymore stones.

All of this led me to sit in our rental last week at The PLAYERS Championship and have a man named Randy Grant prick my finger. I heard about Randy shortly after I got sick last year. He owns a nutrional supplement company, Divine Nature, based out of Scottsdale and works with several of the golfers. His process is simple, and mind blowing. Randy and I spoke last year and we tried to get together but our schedules just never lined up. I wasn’t willing to ask him to fly to Virginia just to see me alone. And so it wasn’t until last week. Oh how I wish it had been sooner. Randy arrived and gave us a short lesson on what he was about to do. He gave me a peice of paper that had many pictures of what blood can look like depending on the condition of your body. He pointed to one and said to me that he was positive that’s what mine was going to look like. I thought, how the hell do you know what my blood is going to look like? But then he hooked up his microscope to our tv screen, pricked my ring finger of just a drop of blood and placed it on a slide. Sure enough he was right. Before I describe my blood I will show you a picture of Marc’s. He has normal blood, albeit a little iron deficient.

Those are his red blood cells. There’s a lot of nice space that they are just floating around in.

This is mine:

Just a little different…

It’s called Rouleaux, which are stacks or aggregations of red blood cells. This is a often a sign of chronic infection and inflammation. Welcome to my life for the past year. A little science lesson for you- red blood cells contain a special protein called hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and then returns carbon dioxide from the body to the lungs so it can be exhaled. Because my blood cells are stacked this way they have trouble getting through my capillaries and therefore I am not getting enough oxygen or nutrients throughout my body. Not enough oxygen = not enough energy. Haaaaaaallelujah! Finally a real, tangible answer. My blood slide also showed uric acid crystals and lots of bacteria. I sat there stunned, relieved and a little depressed. It’s one thing to know and feel like you are messed up. It’s another for someone to show you. Randy has started me on many different supplements to try to correct this issues. Between my tonsillectomy and the use of these supplements I am hopeful for the first time in a long time.

One of the many things I have learned since I got sick is that there has been very little long term research done on survivors of Sepsis, TSS, or ARDS. Talk to any survivor and they will tell you. Doctors don’t know what to do with us. I’m blessed to have a doctor who tries everything and anything to help but you can only do so much with the knowledge you have. I would be so, incredibly interested to see if rouleaux may be something survivors have in common.

So friends, I still feel broken. But not shattered. I’m just in repair.




6 thoughts on “Broken 

  1. I just found your site through the sepsis alliance. I will be reading your entire site soon. I admire your strength to write about your ordeal and your commitment to helping others!
    I am a ten year survivor of septic shock and ARDS. I spent 2 months in the hospital, 6 weeks of that in a coma. I still have “new normals.” I may write my story someday – your thoughts about your family really touched me. My husband did a daily blog so he wouldn’t have to return so many messages. Glad you’re here to do what you do!


  2. I’m very curious to see if my blood looks like that, too and if the things you’re trying work for you. Hope so!


  3. Hi Audrey,

    2 years ago I had sepstic shock. My infection came back, after 3 piccs with long term abx (4) I never fully recovered. I am giving you the quickest soon of a very complicated history over 2 years. I am tired, fatigued, sore, my mind doesn’t work. I also was border line sepstic when my gallbladder became infected. I’m now on antibiotic’s daily forever. How did you get doctors to listen to you? Mine look at me like I’m nuts- tell me I’m depressed or have chronic fatigue. I’d love any advice you could give me.

    Thanks for your blog!



    • Hi Susie! I apologize I’m only just getting back to you. Honestly, I was just very lucky to have the pulmonologist that I did. He is an amazing man and doctor. I see that you posted over a year ago. I truly hope that your health has improved. It too me a long, long time to feel better.


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