On the 1st of May 2016, my life & the life of my husband & family
changed in the most unimaginable way
Up until that date, I worked full time as a Nurse Practitioner. I exercised daily, loved walking with my husband Rob, & our beloved Weimeraner dog Harriet, and had a huge passion for the coast, countryside & worldwide travel.
On the 1st of May 2016, I walked into GP Out of Hours thinking I
needed antibiotics for a nasty chest infection....But I NEVER WALKED OUT.
In fact I was developing SEPSIS: An indiscriminate /destructive & life
threatening reaction to infection.
Sepsis is responsible for more than 44,000 deaths every year in the UK alone: with 5 people dying from Sepsis every hour.
Devastating and catastrophic outcomes rapidly occurred. I developed
septic shock and multiple organ failure, I was intubated and put in a
medically induced coma on a ventilator and critically ill for 3 months.
I required multiple limb amputations, as a life saving procedure.
I had gone from being a healthy fit person to being critically ill in a flash, & as a result of sepsis I ended up being a quadruple amputee.
My life after sepsis has left me with lifetime, life changing disabilities.
I have always portrayed myself as a positive & strong person, but I am
only human, & the life changing effects on my quality of life have been
Over the past 3 years, I have worked so incredibly hard and pushed
myself to limits I didn't think I possessed.
However, after 3 years of pushing myself, I have come to the stark
realisation that NHS Prosthetic provision is not sufficient to allow me
to live the active life I want to lead, The advice I get is to 'compromise'.
The life I am expected to lead in order to compromise is not one
anybody would choose to lead, yet this is the life I am expected to live.
This to me is not having quality of life but enduring it.
I am hoping to raise sufficient funds to enable me to have life-changing Osseointegration surgery.
This is a huge life decision, involving major surgery & significant
But the outcome & success of this surgery will enable me to live the life of an able bodied person. Allowing me to live life the way I want to live
it, the way anybody would want to live it.
My husband & I are determined to secure this & access the best quality of life for me
All the things I loved doing, & my independence were stripped from me overnight.
We will do everything we can in addition to this page to fundraise, and
are already planning lots of local fundraising events.
We Thank You in advance for any help you can give us through this
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information.
At 09.00am on May 1st 2016, I walked into GP Out of Hours expecting antibiotics for a nasty chest infection (I had experienced a one day
history of shortness of breath, a productive cough and feeling generally unwell). I was fit, healthy & thrived on a very active lifestyle. Despite
working full time as a Nurse Practitioner, I still exercised twice a day.
My weekends off work involved long walks with Rob (my husband of 21yrs) & our much loved dog Harriet.
The rollercoaster of events that followed were devastating beyond all
At 09.00am, I was diagnosed with Community Acquired Pneumonia & Probable Neutropenic Sepsis. I was admitted to hospital and given an
oral antibiotic & encouraged to drink lots of fluid.
At 11.00am, I was diagnosed as having Severe Sepsis
By 6pm I was transferred to Intensive Care.
By midnight, I developed Type One Respiratory Failure, & was
intubated and mechanically ventilated.
My condition further deteriorated into Septic shock & multiple organ
failure, that required haemofiltration (renal dialysis).
I remained critically and gravelly ill, and after 3 days in a medically
induced coma, I actually had a DNACPR (Do Not Attempt Cardio
Pulmonary Resuscitation) document in my notes. As all my organs had
failed, the intensivists thought that I would also be left significantly
neurologically (brain) damaged. Rob (my husband) had to make the
heart breaking decision, that if I went into cardiac arrest, (which at the
time was highly likely), it would be kinder not to attempt chest
compressions, as this would further compromise already reduced
oxygen supply to my brain.
I then developed irreversible ischaemic limb necrosis (gangrene) &
required multiple limb amputations as a life saving procedure.
The price I paid for surviving Sepsis, was living my life as a Quadruple
I required Bilateral Below Knee Amputations, Left Below Elbow
Amputation, & partial amputation of all 4 fingers on my Right Hand.
My life after Sepsis has left me with life-changing & lifetime disabilities
I spent 3 months in Intensive Care, mostly ventilated, and then required a Tracheostomy,(having poor prognosis without). The life my husband, my parents and my family had for 3 months, was not knowing from one day to the next if I would live or die. My prognosis was very poor, and
relatives were advised to prepare for the worst case scenario.
To say its been a life changing experience is an understatement.
From being a relatively young, fit , active and healthy person, with 30
years of nursing and caring for people, I became the 'professional' who was totally dependant on care with every aspect of daily living.
After 3 months of lying in an ICU bed, I experienced significant muscle
degradation. At the very initial stage of my recovery, I was unable to
hold my head up or move my thumb.
Having actually against all odds surviving Sepsis (which were pretty
grim), I then spent a further 4 months undergoing intensive
rehabilitation at The Artificial Limb & Appliance Centre at Rookwood
Hospital in Cardiff.
Dedicated hard work between myself & the outstanding physiotherapy staff they have there, meant a discharge home after 4 months
compared with a previously anticipated 12 month stay.
Over the past 3 years, I have worked so incredibly hard & pushed
myself to limits I didn't think I possessed, to get myself to the stage of
life I am at now.
I have always portrayed myself as a strong & determined person (which in many ways I am).
However, I am only human, & the life changing effects on my life after
Sepsis, have been immeasurable.
I would give everything I own to turn back the clock, & undo the
catastrophic life changes I have had to face.
My recovery from Sepsis, has involved living with the devastating
outcome of limb loss. The emotions I have felt can be equated to a
I have grieved not only the loss of my limbs, but also for the life I once
had, & the ease and ability to do so many things that we all take for
All throughout my journey of life after Sepsis, I have always tried to
maintain a positive attitude, and have given myself goals and
challenges, that I set out & am determined to achieve.
However, behind a public persona of myself, is someone who has
struggled physically, emotionally & psychologically in dealing with the
bitter curved ball life has thrown at me.
My life after Sepsis has been a long journey, & I still have a long journey ahead. I have to continue with many ongoing challenges to make my life as fulfilling as possible.
A driving force & something that has given me a huge sense of purpose has been becoming actively involved with the Sepsis Trust. This has
involved doing various TV documentaries, Public speaking at numerous
conferences and study days.
During my rehabilitation at Rookwood Hospital, I did a training video
that showed my rehabilitation progress, & is now being used for
in-house training for healthcare professionals.
My story is now also used in a power-point presentation for the Welsh
Ambulance Trust for mandatory training.
I am also a member of a Cross Party Group in The Welsh Assembly, to
promote increased awareness of Sepsis in Wales.
A very proud moment in November 2018, was being presented with
an 'Award of Special Recognition' by The Royal College of Nursing, at
their Nurse of Year Awards in City Hall Cardiff. as recognition of all the
work I do in raising awareness of Sepsis, to the public and Healthcare
All the things I have done & will continue to do, in raising awareness of Sepsis, are in my perspective potential lives saved.
Having always been fit and active, regaining my fitness, stamina &
strength have been hugely important to me as life after Sepsis left me
so weak, I literally had to learn to feed, wash myself & walk again.
Following discharge from hospital, I signed up to join a local gym, and
used a personal trainer for 6 months.
I still attend the gym, and go to Zumba & Fit Steps dance classes.
I have done 4, 6 & 8 mile Walkathon's to raise money for the Sepsis
Trust, and for the Intensive Care Unit at Prince Charles Hospital who I will always be indebted to for saving my life.
Huge personal achievements for me now, include going on my usual
lovely walks with Rob & Harriet, and I am now back driving confidently, in a slightly adapted vehic as, A further challenge to me is a change of
career pathway. I now totally
enjoy my new part time role as Paralegal Medical Practitioner at
Today, I am determined to get my life back in the best possible way, and do all the things that Rob and I planned to do before Sepsis struck.
I want my prosthetic limbs to enable me to live as active a life as
It will also significantly improve Rob's quality of life, as Sepsis &
subsequent limb amputation doesn't just affect one person.
My personal motto of life after Sepsis is about Ability not Disability.
However, in reality the prosthetic limbs I am provided with, are the
things that limit me in living the life I want.
I am constantly getting infections caused by friction, and sweating in
the prosthesis. The advice I am given is to take my legs off and rest.
Who would choose to live a life indoors in a wheelchair. Being active is my physical & psychological therapy. Exposing myself to recurrent
infections, & taking antibiotics all the time are obviously of great
concern to me, having had Sepsis in recent years.
The reality of how gravely & critically ilI became so quickly & how very close I came to dying has been a huge nudge to me. It has totally
reinforced that nothing should be taken for granted.
I always want to stay strong. & will strive to do so. But living life as a
quadruple amputee is so incredibly hard, staying strong is frequently
harder than you can imagine .
The huge decision & prospect of Osseointegration surgery has given
me so much light and hope back in my life.
It will enable me to reclaim the life that Sepsis and the resulting
multiple limb amputations stole from me without question.
I am determined to turn my story into a success story.
Hopefully, I can use my experience and the many adverse outcomes I
have faced into a positive thing, for myself & to help, support,
encourage & inspire others.
I kindly ask for any help & support that can be given to my
life-changing campaign, & Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
JUST ASK COULD THIS BE SEPSIS ?- It's A Simple Question
But It Could Save Lives.
To reclaim the life I had, & to live the life I want to live, undergoing
Osseointegration for both lower limbs, for maximum functionality
WHAT IS NEEDED: Dorset Orthopaedic.
Costings regarding Osseointegration Surgery
& Rehabilitation Requirements - ( Final Costings will be confirmed
following a full MDT assessment with Surgeons at
The Royal Free Hospital London).
1. £500 - Initial Assessment at Royal Free Hospital with Consultant
2. £3,545 (total) - Specialist Osseointegration MDT Clinic
(at Hadley Wood Hospital) with imaging.
MDT Assessment consists of;
. Dexa Scan / X-Rays / CT Scan
. Comprehensive Surgical Assessment with the London Doctors- access to the scan results
. Psychological Assessment - A required stage to go through, to ensure
there is full comprehension of the plan, & the life-long ramifications of
. Prosthetic Assessment - Will build on assessments already carried out
& to ensure sufficient clearance lengths are built into the ;plans.
Alongside Prosthetic Control Strategies.
3. £55,000 - £70,000 - (PER LIMB) -. Osseointegration Surgery to
Right & Left Lower Limbs .
Increased costs would be due to bespoke implant or other surgical
4. £5,000 - Patient Load Bearing. Dependant on an individuals bone
density. The lower the bone density, then a slower/longer process
would be expected.
5. Hourly Rate Appointments:
£145 Prosthetist. £116 Physiotherapist & Occupational Therapist
6. £15,000 - £20,000 - Specialised Rehabilitation
at Dorset Orthopaedic
7 £10,000 per Integrated Prosthesis (x4 pairs of Integrated Prosthesis required for maximum functionality) = £80,000.
8. Possible weekly Physio/OT at £116 - £145 per hour , for up to 6
PLAN - I am in the process of starting to document my story on
I will always strive to raise awareness of Sepsis, and support, and
hopefully inspire others who might find themselves in a
Any fundraising money that exceeds my requirements will be donated
to a relevant charity.
At some point in the future, I hope to be in a position to set up my
own #JC:LifeWithNoLimits Charitable Foundation, to allow anyone
who is faced with the traumatic event of limb loss, to access better
prosthesis, and a life for themselves without limitation.
#The Life With No Limits I hope to achieve for myself.
- From the lady that feeds the robins.
- Mark and Lisa Sweet
- Charles Darrington
- John Kelly
- Robert Lock