Sepsis and PTSD

On Sunday July 1st, 2018 it was like any other day. I felt fine and cleaned the house most of the day. Later that evening I was feeling really tired but just figured it was from cleaning. I started feeling really cold and was shivering. I went to bed and woke up the next morning and felt like I was getting the flu as I was achy and not myself. I noticed my foot was a little red and swollen. My husband took me to a clinic and they were very concerned. I had a fever and my oxygen was low. They called an ambulance and immediately took me to the hospital. They started running tests. A few hours later my whole foot and part of my leg was bright red. They found that I had cellulitis caused by a cut on my foot.

My oxygen was dropping even more and I was struggling to breathe. They decided to admit me. The next day, after more tests they found that I had severe sepsis and ARDS. They admitted me to the ICU. When the doctor came in and explained everything I just couldn’t believe what was happening. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me. They told my husband and family that I need to be on a ventilator. I was so scared! So many things were running through my mind. Was I going to live or die? No one knew what was going to happen but we all just hoped and prayed for the best. I was on the ventilator for three days and mostly sedated. When they took me off of it I was relieved. I thought I was okay and going to get to go home soon! Later, the doctor came in and was still concerned. He talked about putting me on the ventilator again if I didn’t improve. I was terrified and begging not to be put on it again. They monitored me for a few more days and eventually I got better and was able to breathe with very little help with the oxygen tube.

On July 10, 2018 my husband went in for a scheduled surgery he had already planned and was unable to postpone. Luckily, it was just an overnight stay for him. I was so happy the nurses let me go see him before and after his surgery. They would wheel me to his room and come get me to take me back to my room. It’s not often you see couples in the hospital at the same time and I was very thankful that I was feeling better to be by his side after he spent the whole time in the hospital with me. On July 11, 2018 we were both planning to get released. We were so happy to get to go home. I was anxiously waiting for them to come take my PICC line out because I knew that was the only thing left to do. A few hours went by and then the nurse came in. She asked if I was ready to go home and of course I was like YES!!! She told me to lean back so she could take the PICC line out. I laid back and wasn’t scared or feeling nervous at all. Just excited to get to go home. She then said okay its out. I immediately felt weird and could barely breathe. I felt gurgling in my chest. She told me I was okay and that it may be anxiety. I then told her I couldn’t breathe and felt like I was going to faint. She knew something else was wrong so she called for the Emergency Response Team. The next thing I remember is the doctor standing over me and an oxygen mask on my face. I remember hurting so bad. It felt like something was sitting on my chest. I felt like I was going to die I was in so much pain. My lower half of my body was numb. I couldn’t move anything but my hands and head. They immediately rushed me for a CT scan and hooked me up to monitors. They told me I was in respiratory failure and had an air embolism from removing the PICC line. They took me back to ICU where they could monitor me overnight. I was doing better and was released the next day. After everything that I have went through I ended up experiencing PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) and anxiety. My life has completely changed. I am still experiencing anxiety everyday as I think back to everything that happened. I am thankful to be here today and to share my story with you.  I seem to be doing much better although I experience quite a bit of “brain fog”.

I want to thank the ARDS Foundation, Sepsis Alliance, and the Begin Again Foundation. I have found helpful information as well as funding to help with my expenses.  They’re truly amazing! I appreciate everything they do!









“Remember to Breathe”

-Terri Harper

“The LEISHLine was a life saver! I tell everyone about it.”

Spring 2017, I went to a rehabilitation center at a major university to detox from pain meds. (I’d been on them for over twelve years in one form or another.) 10 days after being admitted I awoke in the ICU on a ventilator. The last thing I remembered was being admitted and shown to my room. Apparently, I was given an overdose of Suboxone. I had a heart attack, and was found unresponsive, on the floor, next to my bed. I’d been laying there for five hours in a pool of vomit. I aspirated, and after developing stress induced hyperglycemia (320), metabolic encephalopathy, and hypoxia (63 percent O2 sat), I went into septic shock. They said if I was found only 20 minutes later, I wouldn’t have survived.

10 months later, trying to catch up financially from the loss, I was involved in a car accident. I hadn’t noticed, but I had an acute exasperation of heart failure and, within five days, I was in acute respiratory failure.

The LEISHLine came to the rescue. I was able to pay the deductible to have my car repaired, allowing me to return to work, saving us from homelessness.

— Lisa Partaker

An Optimistic Attitude and Prayers Were All That Tanai Needed to Survive

Sometimes things happen in your life and you don’t know why. You question yourself why me or what did I do to deserve this? But what you should be asking is what can I learn from it. I’m finally coming out to tell my story because I feel like I can help someone. I’m not here for opinions but to simply tell my story.

Six weeks after I had my daughter I was offered by the doctors a form of birth control called an IUD. I accepted because I was told that it was safe, and it was the best type. It had never given me any problems up until November of 2017. I had it for 3 years so far. I was told that it was good for 5 years. I went to my yearly checkup in October and was asked about birth control and mentioned that I had an IUD. They checked and told me that they couldn’t find it and that it may have fell out, but I knew for a fact that wasn’t the case. They sent me to get two types of ultrasounds the same day and I was told once again that they didn’t see an IUD. One day in the beginning of November I was at work I had a sharp pain and the bottom right of my stomach and the first thing that popped in my head was is this that IUD? But I tried to brush it off, but the pain was getting worse. I left work 3 hours early to go to the hospital. I went to the hospital and told them what was going on and what the doctors were telling me, so they immediately sent me to get an X-ray done. The doctor came in the with a weird look on her face and said the IUD is in there but its pushed up in your stomach, so you will have to get surgery. She told me to call my OBGYN to schedule a date. I went and talked to my OBGYN, told him everything and even showed him the X-ray picture that they allowed me to take, he also said I have to get surgery. So, I asked him how they would get it out and he told me they would cut me right under my belly button and use a scope. On December 13th I went in to get the procedure done. Instead of 1, I was cut 3 times. One under my belly button and one on each of my side. They were able to get it out, but it was broken into pieces.  I was told that it had moved up to my liver. When I left the hospital, I was bleeding, but my mom was told that it was normal. Overnight I begin to bleed heavier and the pain got worse. I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and once I got to the hospital my mom told the doctors everything that was going on. They rushed me to have x-rays done and then rushed me to surgery. I was bleeding internally. After the surgery my mom was told that when they opened me up, my ovaries were black and that they had to give me a hysterectomy. After the surgery I went into septic shock causing me to be in ICU for a few weeks.  I died on that surgery table. While in ICU my organs began to fail. I was on a breathing machine, I was on dialysis because my kidneys weren’t working right. Everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. My parents were told that I was the worst patient on the floor and that they didn’t think I was going to make it. But with faith and God the prayers that everyone sent out, I am here today.

Next week, I have to get myself prepared again for a second surgery to have my toes amputated. But I swear I came so far and I’m not letting anything stop me.

The toughest part about my sickness was being away from my daughter for so long. The grant helped me a lot. It helped me purchase food, clothes and helped my family catch up on bills that fell behind. My message to other survivors is to stay strong!

– Tanai Smith

With No Warning, Mom of Twins Finds Herself Fighting For Her Life

My case of sepsis occurred during December of 2016. I was 33, living with my partner Will and our twin babies, Layne and Evalene. I had been experiencing bouts of severe constipation for many weeks prior, and I found myself taking stimulant laxative pills daily to combat this condition. But even the pills weren’t working, and so out of frustration, I began taking way more than what I needed. So, that week, I had started taking 2. The next day, 3. The day after, 4. Still with no bowel movement. By the end of the week, I had a ridiculous amount of this medication built up in my system. Night time rolled around, and I ate a few slices of pizza and also an ice cream sundae. Eating this food was enough to kick start all those pills I had taken. The next morning, I awoke with the entire room spinning and the most severe stomach cramps I had ever known possible. I also began vomiting right there in bed. I tried to make it to the bathroom right across the hall and immediately collapsed and lost consciousness. I had this feeling all over my body of bubbles, like I was floating in a bottle of pop. Every time the bubbles would make their way to my face and head, I would lose consciousness again. I remember calling my partner at work and telling him to get home ASAP, I was dying. I remember the ambulance crew coming and I was in a pool of blood and diarrhea and pink frothy substance, which I didn’t realize at the time was stomach lining. The entire floor was a pool of this, there was so much, it was in our bedroom and our kitchen up the hall. I remember the panic on the one woman’s face as she was trying to take a blood pressure reading and also a temperature reading and couldn’t because they were so low, they wouldn’t read. She shouted, Lock and load NOW, we’re gonna lose her!!! I remember total terror and the realization that I was going to die, right here in my hallway with my twin babies 2 rooms over in the living room, and there was NOTHING I could do but give into that feeling of weakening and succumb to it. They worked on me at the hospital diligently to pull my temperature and blood pressure up, using heat lamps and heating blankets. My pulse was sky high, also, about 160 that whole morning. I ended up having sepsis, septic shock, hypothermia and a nasty c-diff infection in my stomach. I was placed in the ICU for days and days. I don’t know if my sepsis was necessarily brought on by foolishly using all those stimulant laxatives, but I can tell you I have not even taken so much as a stool softener since that occurred.

The grant money I received was used as a mortgage payment for our new home and our new life we began for ourselves. To know that there is a foundation like this in existence to help us move forward and pick up the pieces of our lives is simply incredible. We cannot properly begin to express our gratitude and I cannot begin to explain how truly important that money was for me and my family. This payment was used to make our very first mortgage payment, and there’s kind of a strange beauty in that I think. It’s fitting.

I wish there was some kind of head’s up I was able to give to others, symptoms to keep an eye out for, but truly, this hit me like a mack truck. There was no warning, no feeling, no premonition. I went to bed and literally woke up dying.

– Susan Filer

New Leish on life

Author: Connor Rhiel, 13 News Now 

On the eve of the 2015 Masters, you could have forgiven Marc Leishman for assuming the impending major was the most important thing in his life.

However, after his wife Audrey was rushed to the hospital while he was completing practice rounds at Augusta, losing a tournament was the last thing on his mind, because he nearly lost much more. Audrey was placed in a medically induced coma, suffering from toxic shock syndrome. After 96 hours and a number of experimental treatments, Audrey beat the odds and pulled through.

The near tragedy birthed a fresh perspective for Marc, and a new opportunity for the Leishmans. They have since started the Begin Again Celebrity Classic at Bayville Golf Club in Virginia Beach. The two day event featuring a Gala and 18 holes raises awareness and money for others suffering from similar medical conditions, and Marc, he’ll never forget that on the eve of this event or any other, the result doesn’t matter nearly as much as those you share it with. MORE

Ernie Els, Nick Price among celebrities in Virginia Beach for 3rd annual Begin Again Celebrity Classic

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – PGA TOUR professional Marc Leishman and wife Audrey hosted the third annual Begin Again Celebrity Classic presented by The Somers Jones Group and Merrill Lynch, a two-day event to help families in need in the Virginia Beach community and beyond.

“Since its inception, the Begin Again Foundation has received tremendous support and love from many and we couldn’t be more excited to show our appreciation as we host our Celebrity Classic for the third year,” says Marc Leishman. “This year, we have so much to share that our past one-day event has turned into two as we showcase why we do what we do.” MORE

Celebrities join Leishman for charity golf tournament

VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – Marc and Audrey Leishman’s story has resonated throughout the sports world. Audrey’s near-death experience from Toxic Shock Syndrome inspired her and her PGA Tour husband to start the “Begin Again” Foundation, which provides financial aid to families facing medical hardships.

A number of star athletes and other celebrities decided to lend a helping hand to the Leishman’s cause, and made the trip to Bayville Golf Club for the couple’s third annual “Begin Again” Celebrity Classic. MORE

Mom Who Nearly Died From Toxic Shock Syndrome Shares Her Message

I don’t mean to sound cliche, but I truly believe that I was meant to see your story today!  I mean, what working Mom of 2 just happens to turn on the 1st day of the Masters (in the middle of a work day, by myself, without my husband’s influence?) Needless to say, I was riveted, relieved (for your survival), thankful, and instantly felt a connection to you and this cause.  You see, I too am a survivor of Toxic Shock Syndrome and Sepsis.  There is so much more to my story, as I’m sure there is yours, but I will try to sum it up.

On May 4th, 2017, I became ill.  On May 7th, I was clinging to life in the ICU.  Here is a post from a Facebook page, “Inspiration for Aimee”, that my friends and family created for me when I was in the ICU just last May.  This was my only way of communicating with my loved ones all over the country during this two week ordeal.  Quite frankly, I believe this support system is a major reason why I’m still here today.

MAY 17, 2017

“Over a week ago, I thought that the stress of our move had just taken its toll on me. I got a fever, aches, chills and, over a course of 36 hours, I went from thinking I had the flu to clinging to life in the emergency room. I was told that I would have been dead if I had waited another hour to come in. This extremely rare case of toxic shock syndrome put my body into septic shock. In short, every single one of my organs was under attack. My fever rose to 106.8 degrees, I was put on a bed of ice (literally), and I was instantly put on 3 antibiotics, 3 blood pressure medications, oxygen, an immense amount of IV fluids, catheterized, and bunch of other things that I never want to think of again. My family (immediate and extended…you know who you are) went into overdrive to be by my side.

Throughout the course of this week, I kept making milestones (which I tried to update on this site). Although my body, vision and mind were and are still not “normal”, writing has been cathartic and my best way of communication. My physical journey is unbelievable to me and thank God for modern medicine. But my emotional and spiritual journey are almost even more incredible. I never lost consciousness throughout this time, so bear with me here as I say this. I did have contact with loved ones who have passed, I saw a white light, for those Catholics out there…I had my Last Rites given to me, twice. And now, I’m back home. I slept in my bed last night, I put my kids to bed (not successfully, but I tried), I woke up next to my husband just as I have done for over a decade. And life goes on…”

There is so much more to my journey this past year: learning to walk again, acclimating back to being a “normal” wife/mom/daughter/friend/etc., skin peeling, temporary loss of vision, extreme fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, a miscarriage…the list goes on.  But in THIS moment, I want to help, I want to spread this message! 

– Aimee H. Follis

Marc Leishman’s emotional win only reinforces what really matters

By Tim Rosaforte

When I caught up with Marc Leishman on Monday, the affable Australian was still at the vacation apartment he rented in Orlando. In the background, his two sons continued to be wound up over what their dad did a day earlier at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“The boys are pretty happy seeing themselves on TV,” Leishman said above the commotion being made by 5-year-old Harvey and 3 1/2-year-old Ollie. “It’s been a good morning. I’ve sort of been floating around, still buzzing. This was a big week for us.”

Attempting to quiet the boys was Leishman’s wife, Audrey. Instead of running across the 18th green at Bay Hill, she let her sons have the honor. It was a joyful scene. MORE