2 month coma

How great to stumble upon on this group! Perfect timing as I'm struggling a bit and really shouldn't be. I was diagnosed with breast cancer (for the 2nd time in 4 years) Jan 2016. After my 3rd chemo treatment I got the flu, which led to pneumonia, then an induced coma, sepsis, collapsed lung and unable to breathe on my own so on a ventilator for 6 weeks, total kidney failure, on 24 hr dialysis, temperatures of 105+ for weeks, massive seizures, brain swelling, heart damage and several more things. I was in the coma for 54 days, where on 3 different occasions my daughter & sister (only family) were called to come to the hospital immediately as I was going. I was helicoptered (which apparently was quite the production). from one hospital, where I exceeded their capabilities to The ICU at Yale where they told my family It was unlikely I could survive, and if I did, I would most likely never to be able to walk, potential brain damage, and something (I don't recall the name of) where my arm became rigid in a strange position and they were unable to pry my fingers open and they thought that would last. I went to an ICU rehab with a trach. I spent 5 weeks there and walked out on my own! I then had to have my cancer dealt with so a lumpectomy then 6 weeks of radiation, every day except weekends.

I have been home, exactly a year tomorrow June 3rd. I went back to work as soon as I got my license back (couldn't drive for 2 more months after rehab because of the seizures in the coma). I am so fortunate to have all my physical abilities back, although a lot weaker! I'm having a bit of a hard time with short term memory, but really only a little and not much more than any other 55 year old!

So, in the scheme of things, everything ended up as best as could possibly be imagined and I should be perfectly happy. But when I get in my head, all can go whacko. I KNOW I was so sick because I was having chemo. I know that. But still, my mind sometimes races with fear. Often, it hits me what my body went through and freaks me out!!

It's nice to be able to share with others who actually understand. If you haven't gone through it, you can't know.

Thanks for "listening"

LoriB

12 Replies

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  • Hi LoriB,

    You've certainly been through the mill and nice to hear you've come out the other side, I have 53 days completely missing from my ICU stay, my wife and family tell I was awake at times but had to keep being put back in an induced coma because I was fighting the ventilator, for me it was like being in a terrifying virtual world like the film the "Matrix" the nightmares still remain as clear today as my time in ICU over six years ago, although they no longer bother me but the thought of what my wife and family went through still fills me with guilt, for me the thought of never seeing any grandchildren or seeing my daughter get married made me fight against the odds to survive, the human body has amazing powers of recovery as so many of us survivors are proof.

    I hope things keep improving for you, best wishes for the future.

    Bill

  • Thanks Bill,

    I have the guilt as well. My poor daughter is an only child, she had just started teaching elementary school when this happened. The decisions she had to make as a 24 year old, suddenly thrown into making is unreal. I have no memories of being in the coma. I completely lost two months.

    When I first woke, the doctors kept asking what my "goals" were. What was I hoping to be able to do physically. At the time I couldn't figure out why they were asking (until I tried to climb out of bed thinking I had only been there one night) so I told them "I want to be able to help with my grandchildren" and then would add "that I don't even have yet!" I also couldn't imagine not being at my only daughters wedding. I've been divorced since she was 8 so we are very close.

    The human body is amazing! For me it was only a year ago and my waking and recovery has been nothing short of a miracle. I even went downhill skiing in Vermont for a week this past winter!! Not bad for someone they gave less than a 1% chance of survival 8 months earlier.

    Thank you for allowing me to share.

    Lori

  • Hi LoriB5. I am a single parent also, and wanted to see my daughter get married and maybe live long enough to see any grandchildren,. I wasn't expected to live long, but I was lucky enough to see my daughter get married last year and now she is expecting my first grand child ! I feel blessed to still be here . I am so happy that you are doing well.

    Louise

  • Oh my goodness! That is so exciting!! When is she do? LOL, I never wanted kids.... until the day after I found out I was pregnant!! (The first day was just my mind reeling. I had been married for 7 years, but wasn't planning to have children any time soon. HA! Like being married for 7 years would be too soon!) Now? I adore little kids. How exciting for you! Does your daughter live close by?

  • Hi Lori

    Yes she lives close by to where I live. How are you doing now ?

    Thanks from Louise

  • Hi Lori

    It's wonderful you are doing so well after the dreadful time you had.

    On 4 February 2016 I was admitted to ICU with urinary sepsis due to a trapped kidney stone. My memories of the next 3.5 weeks are all mixed up with the dreadful nightmares and delirium I had during my stay in ICU. My family were twice told I was going to succumb to septic shock, multi organ failure, pneumonia and bilateral pulmonary embolii.

    I feel guilty at what my family went through which I know is silly. I still have a hard time understanding how ill I was but know I'm incredibly lucky to be here. I think it's only natural for us to have a whole gambit of feelings and emotions surrounding our experiences and if we didn't have that would be more concerning.

    Healing thoughts and hugs🌻🌻

  • Hi LesAnne,

    Thank you. It's nice to hear from people who can actually understand. Part of the difficulty I've had is that I seem so perfectly fine to everyone, and yes, I am grateful every day for that (!!) they forget that Just because I look and seem fine, I have to be reminded of it constantly.

    Atleast I still love to laugh and have fun! It's what got me thru some intense PT so I could prove the Dr's wrong! 😉

  • Hi LoriB, that's some journey you've been on and well done you for having the strength to survive. You've given your body a real hammering so it's no wonder you've got a few issues and as most of us ITU survivvors well testify to all have some sort of after effect that they have been left with.

    You've proved the drs wrong and achieved wonderful things and in time I'm sure your head will calm down but it does take time some of us much longer than others. Like you I found this site by accident but it has been a great source of support.

    Take care hugs and keep positive x

  • I'm always positive. I try anyway!

  • Hi LoriB5

    Its hard to appreciate that we are walking miracles. I had a very similar experience to you. Those 'goals' - upon waking up!!! and realising that you could do nothing for yourself.

    I first became ill whilst skiing with my family ( I'm determined to ski again). My youngest never wants to ski again, so great was the trauma for her. I'm lucky that we flew out of Innsbruck- when we did. I remember nothing until the end of May 2016. I spent another 2 months in hospital fighting off other infections - blood tests on the hour, lung drains, loads of unpleasant procedures to try and discover why I was still fighting for my life- after having done it for the previous 2 months. I found out I had CLL which may have contributed too. So having fought off flu, double pneumonia, severe ARDS, CMV, MSsA, VRE and glandular fever - I had lumber punctures etc to work out which type of CLL I had. After effects of MOF, extra pumps in my groin because my heart was failing, dialysis for 8weeks, intubated and then having a tracheotomy - learning to sit up, walk, eat, drink, talk.

    I walked up a Moel Famau this New Year's Eve - 600m high. Leaving hospital in Aug 2016 - I could shuffle 100yrds with rests.

    The body is amazing. I fear infections and find myself meticulously planning every eventuality. We are planning to go away in August - it's like a military operation. Spontaneity is a word from the past.

    I'm very conscious of any news story involving critical illness - we know what all those poor people are going through and the message is ' don't give up on yourself'.

    Best wishes to you

  • wow, what an amazing story! Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow, what a miracle. I had also gone through breast cancer and my prognosis was poor, but seven years on I am still going strong. I take each day as a little miracle.

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