Karen Y. Moore
This is not a motivating story nor is it a pretty one! However, it is a story that brings about awareness to a deadly and oftentimes fatal life threatening illness! It is the reason behind the “WHY” I do what I do! It is because of sepsis I’m so passionate about my health and that of others. Over the last 10 years, sepsis has reared its ugly head twice in my life. In 2009, I lost my husband, soulmate, business, partner and Bestie (Yes, he was all of that) to sepsis.
In 2016, my life was altered yet again as I was now staring this ugly illness square in the face. The only reason that I’m here today is that I fought for my life. My kidneys started to fail and shut down, my blood sugar level shot through the roof! My blood count totally abnormal. Fevers, chills, diarrhea, depression and the worst pain imaginable! All I can say is But God! He saved me.
I don’t recall when I became full blown septic. I remember that I caught a cold on Christmas day in 2015. That cold progressed into bronchitis, which I fought all of January. Then an unexplained abscess reared its ugly head. I have had a couple in the past but none that were the size of grapefruit. I tried treating it at home with natural remedies. They had worked in the past and I felt that they would work again. Boy, was I wrong. Finally, I went to the ER on February 1st. Within 2 hours they had diagnosed and admitted me. Later that evening I was in the operating room having emergency surgery.
When the nurses informed me that I was septic I completely lost it. My husband died from it and surely, I was going to lose my life as well. Talk about being frightened. After nine days in the hospital, surgery, a PICC line, 15 days at home on an infusion pump that administered high doses of antibiotics 24/7, I was grateful to be alive. Once I returned home all I could do was take baby steps towards recovery. It wasn’t pretty, but I lived to be able to tell my story and share my testimony.
It’s not something I like to talk about. As a matter of fact, the aftermath still affects me daily and some days hurts me to the core. The survivor’s remorse can be gut wrenching at times. I survived and won but my husband did not! I often think about what could have been done differently to save his life.
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body’s response to an infection. Your immune system protects you from many illnesses and infections, but it’s also possible for it to go into overdrive in response to an infection. Sepsis develops when the chemicals the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. The FACTS: Over one million cases of sepsis occur each year and up to half of the people who get sepsis will die.
Sepsis is mean! It’s ugly and it’s REAL! For me I liken sepsis to breaking up with a bad boyfriend who keeps coming back.
Sepsis has been my greatest source of pain but also my greatest strength because it births out resiliency, tenacity and purpose. This dreadful illness caused me to step up and take personal responsibility for my health and wellness. I retired from a 20-year career as a wedding and special event planner and enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2018. I’m now a Certified Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach and a Sepsis Awareness Advocate and Lobbyist.
Once I was discharged from the hospital, I wasn’t prepared for living life post-sepsis. I wasn’t told what to expect nor was I given any tools or information to help me adjust. Oftentimes I felt helpless, lost, alone and confused. No-one should ever have to feel this way especially when faced with so many unknowns once discharged and home. Because of my experience, I am passionate about working with critical care patients who are recovering from sepsis. My goal is to help survivors adapt as they struggle to find a new normal while adjusting to life after sepsis.
In May of 2019, I founded the James D. Moore Memorial Foundation for Sepsis Awareness to honor both my husband’s life and legacy. And to give me a platform to bring about awareness. I am currently lobbying the State of Georgia to implement state mandated sepsis protocols in all hospitals, nursing homes and critical care facilities. After losing James in 2009 to Sepsis. My goal is to make Georgia Sepsis Safe in 2020.