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Mom Fights Flesh-Eating Virus That's Devouring Her Breasts

A mother in Florida went in for a voluntary double-mastectomy because she wanted to preserve her health. She was at high risk for breast cancer and doctors had found pre-cancerous cells in her breast years earlier, so she was trying to be pro-active. After the surgery, however, she almost lost her life when she contracted a flesh-eating virus that made her flesh rot off in chunks.

Alicia Wertez knew that the double-mastectomy was drastic, but she thought it was going to save her life. Instead, she found herself fighting for her life, and she was left even more disfigured than she expected. Shortly after the surgery, the 37-year-old mother was diagnosed with a flesh-eating virus.

After waking up from the mastectomy, Wertez says she could feel something was wrong. She was 'in agony', but doctors told her it was normal.

Over the next few weeks, her chest became more and more inflamed, and her skin started to turn a purplish color. When it got bad, she was finally diagnosed with Necrotizing fasciitis, a side effect of group A Streptococcus infection.

Usually, strep infections are mild and last just a few days. They normally just require a dose of antibiotics. However, in some cases, Necrotizing fasciitis develops when connective bands of tissue that surround nerves, muscles, fat and blood cells become infected. The bug can kill off the tissue, causing the flesh to 'die'.

In more serious cases, the infection can result in loss of limb, or even death.

"I started taking photos every morning and night as it was shocking how quickly my boobs were deteriorating, especially my left one," the patient said. "I was finally diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis 38 days after my first operation. I had five further surgeries to save my life and correct the damage caused by the flesh-eating bug."

Wertez had to be rushed into emergency surgery so that doctors could try to remove the source of infection. The second surgery wasn't very effective as the flesh-eating virus had spread too deep. So much of her breast tissue was damaged and rotted away, that parts of Wertez began falling off in chunks.

One time, Wertez says she watched in horror as her left nipple fell off during a bandage change. Wertez had to undergo six more surgeries in a fight for her life.

"I was trying to prevent my chances of getting breast cancer but I ended up with a deadly flesh-eating disease," she tells the Daily Mail. "It was a nightmare as my breasts were rotting more every day, they were both purple and covered in puss filled spots. I was reassured by doctors and nurses who said it was normal but I was in agony."

The mom says she was helpless; her children and husband had to do everything for her. She couldn’t get out of bed, get dressed or eat without help. Her skin became ‘horrifically dry’, her hair started falling out and her organs began shutting down.

"After numerous surgeries, I have been left disfigured by the disease and seeing my chest every day is a constant reminder... But I have been extremely lucky to have survived."

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Caters

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