Kierstin’s Story

Site created on May 11, 2018

Welcome to Kierstin's CaringBridge site. It has been created to keep friends and family updated on how her progress and journey is going.  We appreciate your support, words of hope and encouragement, and prayers for continued healing during this time when it matters most. 

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"WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING"


Saturday, April 28th --> Kierstin fainted and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She is a Type I Diabetic and it was suspected initially that it was related. That afternoon she had emergency surgery on her left calf which was discovered to be swollen and infected upon arrival at the hospital. She was admitted to the ICU, placed on a ventilator, dialysis, and was sedated into an induced coma following the first surgery.

Sunday, the 29th --> It was discovered that the infection had spread to her knee and another surgery was completed to continue to combat the infection.

Monday the 30th --> The family received more information regarding Kierstin's status which included specifics on the type of infection she was fighting.  The bacteria in her leg was a very aggressive, fast moving flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis).  Even with all of the additional care, attention, and medication from the medical team, Kierstin's body continued to struggle in fighting the infection.  She had a third surgery on her thigh to fight the further spread of the infection.  In that surgery, high-potent antibiotic beads were placed throughout her thigh to directly stop further spreading.  With all of the attention, surgeries, and placement of the antibiotics, the spread of the infection had somewhat slowed and paused.

Tuesday May 1st --> More information had surfaced of her body attempting to fight the necrotizing fasciitis.  The doctors were hopeful that the antibiotics would slow and aid the spread of the infection.  Unfortunately, the pace picked up on Tuesday and the doctors set up a meeting with the family to discuss the developments and need for major surgery.  In order for Kierstin to have a chance at survival, the doctors made it clear that Kierstin's leg had to be amputated.  With Kierstin still in a coma, the family had to make the excruciating decision to have the surgeons amputate her leg.  The entire medical team stated Kierstin had a 0% chance of survival if they didn't amputate immediately...and even in doing so, the team still could not guarantee she would make it, but it at least gave her a chance in ridding the infection from the body in order for Kierstin's immune system to start redirecting its attention to recover. 

Wednesday May 2nd --> Kierstin's team said she had been upgraded marginally to a 5-7% chance of survival.  This was to be expected after such major surgery and Kierstin's body needing to focus on healing and recovering.  Still severely low however, the information was at least a step forward and away from 0%. 

Thursday May 3rd --> She had another surgery late Thursday evening, more so for exploratory and cleaning in order to allow the surgeon to fully assess and check on how the progress was moving.  During the surgery, the team looked inside Kierstin's abdomen in order to confirm there was no further progression of the infection    After the operation, the surgeon and his team became "cautiously optimistic" for the first time that the infection had stopped spreading. He upgraded her percent from 7% to 50% and was quite encouraged by how she was doing.

Friday-Sunday (May 4th - 6th) --> Kierstin's sedation was slowly reduced in order to start the long process of getting her fully out of the medically induced coma.  She has been kept at a 10% sedation for comfort and pain control but also keeping her sedated for her scheduled operation for Monday.  She is truly a fighter and so strong.  Being reduced in sedation, Kierstin is able to answer commands with head nods and has been motioning with hand gestures.  She has been fighting through this whole time and continues to do so.

Monday May 7th --> An additional surgery was performed to do a final cleaning and to complete the close up procedure in order to begin the healing and recovery from all the surgeries.

Wednesday May 9th --> Kierstin was released and transitioned from the ICU to the recovery floor at Methodist Hospital.  She now begins the recovery process through physical therapy and getting her body back “online” and retraining it to function normally.

At this time, Kierstin is in isolation (no visitors allowed except immediate family). Prayers are the most powerful way to be helping.  Although she has a long road ahead of her, Kierstin continues to make huge strides already in her recovery. 

Thank you for the prayers, support, care, and love you have shown and continue to show Kierstin.


"Reckless Love" | Cory Asbury --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Newest Update

Journal entry by Stu Nelson

Update written by Kierstin, recorded by Rebecca

One day in April 2018, life as I knew it changed in a way that was completely out of my control.   The ways that I had found comfort, a lot of my dearly held freedoms and what I thought provided my peace, were stolen from me by an invisible enemy.  Sound familiar?
As a result, I was no longer independently able to: go to the grocery store, prepare a meal for myself, just jump in the car and run to Target for a few things, hop on an airplane to see my sister, perform my job the same way, and I’m living back with my parents so you know what that means for privacy. (Gulp)


When this current, global pandemic hit I found myself having a lot of peace.  Crazy, I know.  Why?  For two years I have journeyed through the ups and downs of a limited life and have found what true peace really means through my own personal pandemic. 


Where do you find your peace?  Where do you find your comfort?  Where do you find your freedom?  Is it in the freedom to have alone time, is it the freedom to choose and make the meals that you want to whenever you want to, do you find your peace in being solely reliant on yourself for your income, do you find your peace in the small joys that delight your heart such as seeing a neighbor, friend or relative’s smile.


What I have learned is that these things are blessings but not the source of true peace.  These things can be fleeting, they can be circumstantial, and they can change.  I have found the one thing that doesn’t change, that one thing which can’t be taken away from me.


After I lost my leg and then my eyesight, I experienced everything in a different way which was difficult to get used to.  For example: having to listen to my nieces and nephews open their presents instead of watching them, not having eye contact and sharing expressions when having conversations with family and friends, having to ask for help to do things that I had done for myself for years,  getting ready without being able to see myself, not being able to scroll through social media, not seeing my own handwriting or writing something in my own hand.  


But by spending time with God it was clear to me that I was never going to get what I thought I needed from those things.  I only receive true peace and comfort that is lasting from God.  Even if you calm the wind and the waves around you there will always be more wind and waves.  The answer is to let God calm the storm inside of you so that you can stand tall no matter the weather. This can be easier said than done, I completely understand that.  But it is possible. 


I am now at a place where my relationship with Jesus is more important than my eyesight. And however unbelievable that may sound, I now have more moments of joy than I have ever had before.  So what really changed?  Because my circumstances didn’t get any better. Before my personal pandemic I was always searching for peace in the wrong things and now God has led me back into His arms of complete comfort and peace.  What I have found is that God has answers to my deepest questions that I never would have come to on my own.  And it really took these changes in my life to “open my eyes”.


You matter to me, and you matter to God, so much that He had you in mind when He inspired me to write this.  If you move closer to allowing God to calm the storms within you just in reading this, then what I went through is worth it to me.


Mark 4:39

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.


John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”



Much Love,

Kierstin

If you are struggling like I was to find peace, the answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All you have to do is ask Him who knows and loves you best.


Order, Disorder, Reorder by Jason Gray

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