She is now sharing her story to raise awareness about sepsis and its symptoms which could easily be misinterpreted.
A mom-of-one shared her harrowing experiences with sepsis that led her close to death after she brushed off its symptoms. In November 2015, 46-year-old Jessica Middour was taking her mother to the hospital when she started feeling sick and sweating profusely. She neglected them as "hot flashes" and "nerves," but her condition worsened and she fainted. She was rushed to the hospital's emergency room for treatment when she was diagnosed with urinary tract infection (UTI).
Jessica told Mirror, "I had taken my mother to the hospital to receive surgery when I suddenly came over very hot—but I thought it was just menopausal hot flashes." She added, "Then I was sick, but still I thought it would just be my nerves because of my mother's surgery, so continued to just sit down fanning myself and waiting for her to be seen."
"Her nurse noticed that I was sweating and looking unwell and told me to go to the emergency room downstairs, but I didn't listen until I tried to stand up and fell straight back down. When I went downstairs I gave urine samples, had all sorts of scans, and was hooked up to IV drips—and after a while, I was told I had a UTI, which gave me instant relief."
But that wasn't it. She was later informed that she had gone into a septic shock; soon she found herself battling for life amid kidney, liver, and brain scans. After being under observation for a week, she returned home. She went on to say, "However, just hours later they told me I had gone into septic shock and for the next week I was still in the hospital fighting for my life." But her relief wore off soon when she was again diagnosed with sepsis derived from UTI, 6 months later.
"When I was finally allowed home I hoped it was all over so I returned back to work - but then six months later the same symptoms came over me like a wave and when I got to the hospital, I was diagnosed with sepsis again."
She became weak, frail, and experienced a drastic lack of energy, which left her exhausted and unable to complete tasks. Jessica decided to give herself complete rest and, thus, quit her job. However, despite the huge lifestyle changes, to her utter dismay, she was diagnosed with the same disease for the third time. She had lost all hope and even bid a final goodbye to her family when she was admitted to the hospital for the third time, reports Mirror. An emotional Jessica recalled, "Once again, I battled through this sepsis before being diagnosed with it again under a year later. This time I said goodbye to my family because I was certain that I couldn't be lucky a third time, but somehow I was."
But being the strong-willed woman she is, she beat death for the third time and survived to tell her story. She now wants to educate people about sepsis and its symptoms. She beat the odds and got the change to live again, so she wants to make sure she uses the opportunity for the greater good. This condition is often underdiagnosed and/or brushed aside by women. "Every time it was as a result of a UTI—something which is so common in so many women," she said.
She wishes to educate people on the significance of a thorough diagnosis and urges them to never neglect symptoms, "Hopefully from sharing my story people will realize it can be so much deeper than your initial diagnosis and I'm encouraging people to push their doctors to ask if it could be sepsis."
Despite surviving the life-threatening condition three times, Jessica admits that she suffers from "post-sepsis syndrome" to date. She said, "I have had to quit my job because the side effects of having sepsis three times are just too strong. I am constantly tired, I have constant joint pains, I've lost the feeling in my toes and I can't solve simple problems or tasks like I used to be able to."
She also admits how facing this deadly disease three times has left her perpetually worried about her life. "Every time I go to the bathroom I'm petrified that I'm going to have another UTI and die from sepsis."
"I could have very easily died all three times if I didn't recognize my sepsis sooner—thankfully, I was in the right place at the right time when I was first diagnosed because if I was at home in bed, it would've been the end to my story." She is driven to spread the message so that women learn to put their health and wellbeing first. "This is why I'm encouraging everyone to get a better understanding of sepsis and how it can derive from simple illnesses such as a UTI," she added.