May 14, 2012
For the past few days I admit I have been consumed by the story of Aimee Copeland. For those who don't recognize the name, you probably know the story by now. She is the 24-year-old graduate student at the University of West Georgia who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria after she injured her calf during a fall from a homemade zip line. The aggressive, often deadly bacteria has forced doctors to remove Aimee's leg, part of her abdomen, and now her fingers. More amputations could be on the horizon. I know, on some small scale, what they are going through. It was eight years ago in January that I contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while in Texas. I, probably, like Aimee had no real idea what happened. I remember feeling bad for a few days and vowing to give it another day before I went to the hospital. Finally one Sunday I was covering the first service at a new church. I couldn't hardly sit in the pews without crying. I remember asking God to get me through the day, and I would promise to go to the doctor the next day. The next morning I couldn't sit. I could barely stand and I couldn't drive. I had to have someone drive me to the closest immediate care center. Doctors took one look at me and loaded me in an ambulance bound for the hospital. For the next 13 days I endured three surgeries and needed all the medicine and technology available to doctors along with the grace of God to pull through. I was extremely lucky. My body, with the help of the doctors and the good Lord, fought off the infection and my losses were not insignificant, but are not nearly as extensive as Aimee's. Her story has been heart-breaking, yet inspiring. I know the odds she is facing. I was one of 10 people who had the flesh-eating bacteria treated by my doctor. He told me this during a follow-up visit a few weeks after I left the hospital. Then he told me I was the only survivor. I am hoping that Aimee will live to hear similar words.