Stephenie Rodriguez, an Australian socialite has revealed how she had both of her feet amputated after mosquito bite while on a vacation to Nigeria.
The 52-year-old woman revealed that she had cerebral malaria after being bitten by a mosquito during a vacation to Lagos, Nigeria, and endured an 18-month ordeal.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Stephanie was asked to pose next to a pool of stagnant water while speaking at a business conference of travel executives in Lagos.
She was bitten three times by mosquitos on her left ankle while she was there, according to the single mother and online entrepreneur.
Rodriguez claimed she drenched herself with mosquito repellant on a regular basis after having a bad reaction to an anti-malarial drug in the past.
Rodriguez claimed she started to feel fatigued and exhausted a few days after her trip to India, but she chalked it up to ‘compound jet lag.’
She subsequently travelled to Boston, for her first vacation to the United States, but her journey was cut short when she was sent to the hospital after struggling to eat and drink.
Rodriguez was diagnosed with cerebral malaria 24 days later by an infectious diseases specialist, but she had already gone into a coma.
Rodriguez had only a 2% chance of survival after Artesunate — a medicine used to treat severe malaria – put her into septic shock and organ failure, according to physicians.
Doctors utilized vasopressor medications to divert blood flow from her limbs to her essential organs in a last-ditch effort to save her life.
“It was the last trick in the bag, and they cautioned my family that if I survived, there would be collateral damage. The vasopressors robbed my feet and hands, the things furthest from my heart, of blood and like frostbite, the areas without blood and oxygen began to die,” she said.
Her feet and hands turned black from necrosis as a result of the medicines, and she saw her own toe fall off into her hands at one point.
“It was horrible, absolutely horrible. Completely unimaginable,” she recounted.
Doctors advised her to have an above-the-knee amputation as well as the removal of numerous fingers after she was taken back to Australia.
She postponed the treatment, opting instead to undergo repeated skin transplants and surgeries to see if her health would improve.
She eventually had to have her remaining toes severed, and she gradually realized she couldn’t wait any longer.
Rodriguez was wheelchair-bound and unable to stand due to excruciating discomfort, so she had both feet removed and replaced with above-ankle bilateral osseointegrated implants and mechanical feet.
“It’s bizarre, but I had to cut my feet off to walk again,” she said.
A pair of prosthetic feet were attached to the ends of each rod using an allen key, allowing Rodriguez to move freely once more.
Rodriguez is the first woman in Australia to receive the implants and mechanical feet developed by Australian scientist Munjed Al Muderis after 36 procedures.
The Iraqi, who went on to become a famous robotic limb surgeon, told her that the only way she could walk again was to give up her charred, dead feet.
Rodriguez recently celebrated being able to walk in a pair of 4cm kitten heels again after surgery and hours of grueling rehabilitation.
“I never really felt ‘dressed’ until I had a pair of killer heels on; the higher, the better. That’s just the sort of girl I was… still am,” she said.
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