It all started approximately a week before April’s exam finals. Lisa was feeling very happy. She was finishing up a semester at Camosun College studying towards a Bachelors of Athletic Therapy. The semester went well and caught her interest and her marks reflected this. Lisa was also meeting her fitness goals and loving her bodybuilding style training at the gym. To top it off, she had just been hired at a new job and was excited about working and earning money during her time off school. Many opportunities were opening up for her.
Then, just as exams were winding down Lisa was diagnosed with Mononucleosis. An otherwise healthy and fit individual, Lisa was surprised when, just before her last exam she felt worse. A second doctor confirmed that she had classic symptoms of Mono. Two days later, Lisa was feeling worse again. Another trip to the doctors, and another confirmation that it was just Mono. However, the following morning Lisa’s condition took a dramatic turn for the worse. Lisa’s parents rushed her to the Emergency Department at Victoria General Hospital. Within minutes of arriving she was in the trauma room with a team of doctors, nurses and other specialist working to save her life.
The Trauma Team decided that Lisa needed an CT scan, however on the way to the scan her airway was closing and she was diverted to surgery for an emergency tracheostomy. When she came out of surgery she was placed in the Intensive Care Unit, in a medically induced coma. She was hooked up to many injection lines and monitors. It was overwhelming for her family. She continued to have a team of experts assessing her condition.
The hospital’s Infectious Disease Specialist informed Lisa’s family that she had a rare complication of mono called Lemierre’s Syndrome. This rare bacterial infection affects one in a million. Lemierre’s syndrome begins in the throat as an infection. It is followed by septic blood clots of the internal jugular vein with embolization to the lungs and other organs. Lisa remained in the ICU for 15 days with a team of highly skilled doctors, nurses, and other medical staff looking after her. During that time, Lisa required surgery to help with clearing the infection in her sinuses. As the specialists uncovered more about Lisa’s condition, they adjusted her antibiotics. Other treatment were adjusted almost on a daily basis.
Finally, after more than two weeks in the ICU, Lisa moved to a general hospital ward. After her 25th day in hospital, the second MRI results came back. Things had improved enough that her tracheostomy could come out. A big step in what will be a slow road to recovery. Lisa will need to remain on a very powerful antibiotics for weeks to come. On day 35 Lisa as discharged from hospital, but not before she had a Peripherally inserted central line for intravenous access for her daily antibiotics. Lisa also is getting daily blood work to determine the dose of the blood thinner that she will be on for the next 3-6 months.
Returning to school in September is one of Lisa’s main goals. However, she has Bell’s palsy and double vision. She had so much infection and swelling in her face and neck that a number of Lisa’s cranial nerves will have to regenerate as the infection clears. This will take time. She will still need follow up MRI’s and to be monitored by infectious disease and neurology experts.
Lisa loves health and fitness. She is hoping that she will soon able to restart her bodybuilding styled training, but reluctantly accepts this will need to wait a further three to six months. However, she has the knowledge and determination to meet her goals and regain her strength.
The summer job Lisa was looking forward to starting will have to wait for a while yet. This means that Lisa will not be able to save up enough money to return to Camosun College in September. Therefore, Lisa’s aunt and uncle have started a Go Fund Me page looking to raise enough funds so that Lisa can focus on her return to health and make it back to school in September.
Perhaps in Lisa’s future studies, she will take her medical experience and use it to help others. Always looking for the silver lining. Attitude, determination, perseverance along with slow and steady will get Lisa to where she needs to be.
You can do this, Lisa. We know you can!