(WGGB) — It’s a devastating, often times deadly, infection — nectrotizing faciitis. It was brought into the spotlight in September of last year when 24-year-old Aimee Copeland of Georgia contracted the flesh-eating bacteria and it almost killed her and stole her hands and legs.
Now, the story of a Springfield woman who too battled this devastating disease and lived to share her journey.
It was August of 2012 that Karen Negosanti’s world was turned upside down. All she remembers is waking up in the ICU.
“It was only this big and that’s where it started and it went through all the way through this area,” says Negosanti.
What she thought was just a boil on her skin was acutally flesh eating bacteria, literally eating away at her body.
Negosanti went through 15 different surgeries, some of them extremely painful. She also had to have her feet amputated and the infection didn’t just affect her physically, but mentally too.
“I lost a lot of memory. I can remember things that were 10 years or older but I couldn’t remember what happened yesterday or some of these things,” Negosanti adds.
She says doctors at UMass Medical Center in Worcester called her a miracle. One even told her she should consider this a “re-birth” and in many ways, she says it is.
“You’re coming up again from being a little kid to a grown up. That’s how I feel sometimes because sometimes people have to do things for me that I can’t do for myself, and other times it’s like ‘Wow! I did this. I did this!’ and that’s the good part you know.”
While she does have to relearn how to cook, or write a check, that re-birth means something else too.
It means she has a new way to look at life and while the infection may have taken a lot from her, it also gave her a new appreciation for the support system she never realized she had.
“You don’t know how many people actually do care until something like this happens and that’s really nice to know.”
The road to recovery will be a long one, but Negosanti knows she’s lucky and she’s determined to get her life back.
Negosanti still has to go through another four or five reconstructive surgeries. She’s also coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder even six months later as she still tries to come to grips with the fact that she almost died.