Follis’ family was told to prepare to say goodbye as the infection in.
Philadelphia woman is sharing her harrowing experience with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) in the hope that it will help raise awareness about the infection that nearly killed her. Aimee Haller, Follis, 37, said she had just moved to a new house with her husband and two children in May last year when she started experiencing the symptoms that they thought were the flu.
“At first I thought that I was just overview of all the craziness that happens as you move it,” Follis told Fox News. “But the fever came higher and higher and higher.”
Follis said that when she was admitted to the hospital, her fever had spiked to 106.8 F, and she was lethargic, dehydrated, and her vision was affected. Doctors quickly discovered that she is septic and that they are in danger of organ failure, but it was not until some hours later that she pinned down the cause.
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“They continued to say:” Do you have any open cuts, you have to undergo surgery?'” she said.
While Follis was sent home, her ordeal with TSS. She continued to deal with symptoms such as hair loss, and muscle memory issues.
Finally, when she was asked when her last period was –that was about four or five days prior to when her symptoms started — someone suggested the possibility of TSS.
TSS is a dangerous, sometimes fatal disease caused by bacterial toxins. It is especially associated with menstruating women who use super-absorbent tampons, but the infection can affect people of all ages, including men, children and women after the menopause.
“They got the on-call OB-GYN to do a physical examination and that is when he is the actual infection in my cervix,” she said, adding that no one on the staff had seen a TSS infection. “I said: ‘what are you talking about?’ I didn’t know how serious it was and I credit the doctors at the emergency room.”
Follis said a surgical procedure is to be followed and she was given three different antibiotics and medication to address her dangerously low blood pressure. She was given fluids and moved to the hospital ICU for five days, where she was told that there was a possibility that she would die, or face paralysis and a series of other complications as a result of the infection.
Follis was her the last sacraments twice, and her family was told to gather to say goodbye. After five days in the hospital stepdown unit, the infection cleared. Doctors never found a tampon or any material that could be the cause of the infection, which is the reason why Follis begs others to listen to their body.
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“Pay attention to your own body,” she said. “I knew that I was sick – I was doing the right things, but still gets worse quickly. It may already be too late for me, but thank God, that it is not. Always question something if you are not sure.”
After her release, the Follis continued to deal with the health complications such as hair loss, vision problems, muscle memory, and peeling of the skin. They said that they do not realize that after his release, she could still have symptoms. She followed up with her doctor, who helped walk her through the recovery, but have learned that there is no real timeline for when it will end.
While the hair grows back, and she considers herself well today, Follis suffered from a miscarriage at about 10 weeks. She said that the miscarriage was not clinically linked to TSS, they believe that it is her body, the way of telling her that it was not healed or ready yet. She said that her support group that started on Facebook, helped her through her most difficult moments.
“There is something to say for modern medicine, of course, but also for family and support systems,” she said. “I really think the power of positivity was certainly unexpected, but helpful to me in my recovery.”