A father-of-one barely escaped his life and had to have most of his skin removed and replaced with grafts after the contraction of carnivorous bacteria in his elbow.
Chris Gordon, 44, a special teacher in New Ulm, Minnesota, woke up in March 2015 with a lump in the shape of a softball on his elbow.
He went straight to his doctor in the morning, but was told not to worry; that it was probably just some kind of inflammation, probably bursitis or cellulite, and to sleep on it.
But within a few hours he was sleepy and sick and that evening he rushed to the Emergency Room, where doctors realized that his situation was much more serious.
He was flown to the Mayo Clinic, where he was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a bacterial infection that destroys skin, fat and tissues around the muscles.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Chris Gordon, pictured since his skin transplant, urges people not to let anything go in their way of life. He has lived his life to the full since he survived a bacterium that is often fatal
Gordon, a special teacher and a father in Minnesota, is now a black belt in Tae Kwon Do
& # 39; Imagine a fire that starts in the middle of a dry forest and the only way to prevent it from spreading is by holding it up and carrying out controlled combustion, and doing this, you have to remove trees before the fire can use them as fuel & # 39; Chris said.
& # 39; Now imagine that the forest is your skin and that fire is the necrotizing fasciitis. & # 39;
Chris spent two weeks in intensive care and six in a regular ward, where he was given a series of medications to relieve pain and reduce blood clotting.
Chris had more than ten doctors working on him and another team working with the plastic surgeon.
When he finally left the hospital after 65 days, he received clinical and ambulatory care in the hospital for another eight months.
His ordeal began one morning in March 2015, when he woke up with a lump on his elbow
Gordon went to have it checked and was convinced it was nothing, but hours later he returned to the hospital
Doctors had to try for two months to hunt the bacteria to remove it and prevent it from spreading. Once they were done, they had to replace the skin all over his body
Chris shows the affected area not long after plastic surgery
NECROTIZING FASCIITIS: THE CONSCIOUS MEAT-BACTERIA
Necrotizing fasciitis, known as & # 39; carnivorous disease & # 39 ;, is a rare but extremely vicious bacterial infection. & # 39; Necrotize & # 39; refers to something that causes body tissue to die and the infection can destroy skin, muscles and fat.
The disease develops when the bacteria penetrates the body, often through a small cut or scrap. As the bacteria multiply, they release toxins that kill tissue and cut off blood flow to the area.
Because it is so virulent, the bacteria spread throughout the body quickly.
Symptoms include small, red lumps or bumps on the skin, fast-growing bruises, sweating, chills, fever, and nausea. Organ donation and shock are also common complications.
Sufferers must be treated immediately to prevent death and usually receive powerful antibiotics and surgery to remove dead tissue. Amputation may become necessary if the disease spreads through an arm or leg.
Patients may undergo skin transplants after the infection has disappeared, to aid the healing process or for aesthetic reasons.
500 to 1500 cases are reported per year, but 20 to 25 percent of the victims die.
& # 39; Fortunately, I didn't have to go into isolation & # 39 ;, Chris said.
& # 39; Because I had been in the hospital for so long, I asked my surgeon if I could drink a beer.
& # 39; Later that same day my father-in-law Bill, who was also a Lutheran chaplain, came with a can of beer and two plastic cups in a brown bag.
& # 39; He doubled to consult with the nurses that I could drink and three minutes later the nurse entered my room with a written recipe for one beer a day. & # 39;
When he was finally able to leave the hospital, he still received about eight months of physiotherapy as a resident and outpatient clinic.
Since his experience, Chris has taken exercise and sports to a whole new level.
He has been active since 2002.
He has also done some boxing, water skiing and football.
He practices Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art in which he has just completed his test on the black belt.
& # 39; I am eternally grateful to God, my family, my friends, and the excellent medical staff of the Mayo Clinic. Thank you very much, & he said.
& # 39; I have been running since 2002 and I have also played soccer, boxed, skied and a few other sports.
& # 39; This whole experience has motivated me to set many long-term physical fitness goals. I recently did a test to earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
& # 39; I have also run half marathons, 10K & # 39; s, 5K & # 39; s and long-distance relays and created new personal records.
& # 39; I am also a & # 39; online become acting & # 39; fitness coach for my friends. It is nice to help them reach their own goals.
& # 39; If you live, you can really thrive.
& # 39; Do everything you can and look for ways to help others around you do the same. & # 39;
Chris has become even more motivated in health and fitness since he left the hospital
Chris had his skin removed from his hand
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