Shannon's Sepsis Story: A Sepsis Hat Trick

February 10, 2021
I’m a survivor of a hat trick of septic infections.

It started with a ruptured appendix in 2011. I had just started a new job and didn’t want to call in sick, so I went to work until I collapsed from septic shock.

The appendicitis started on Saturday night at a dinner party. I got violently ill & thought I had food poisoning. I spent the night on the floor in our bathroom. When I finally came to bed, I could barely stand up straight because of the belly pain. Even when I got to our bed, I assumed the fetal position. My husband took me to the ER on Sunday where I was diagnosed with the flu. Monday, I went to work an ashen grey. Tuesday, my appendix ruptured in the afternoon. In hindsight, I felt momentarily better & thought the worst was over. Wednesday, I remember calling my husband & telling him I felt like I would pass out soon. He told me to tell my boss, who finally took me to the hospital around 11am.

The triage nurse instantly took me serious. The problem was I had no temperature & my blood work was fine. At least I was on a morphine drip. Weeeee!

My triage nurse was going home & saw me still sitting in the ER. She was shocked to still see me there & immediately notified the doctor. When they finally looked at my CT, the doctors couldn't tell if my appendix or right ovary had ruptured. 30 min later I was in the OR.

I never got better and next went my gallbladder. On December 23, 2013 I started having seizures and vomiting and bee lined to the hospital. This time it was sludge in my common bile duct. I was treated and discharged on December 27th, but returned the next day with sepsis. I was so weak I could barely stand up & had a fever. I spent 18 days over Xmas and New Years, mostly in the hospital hallway. That was a tough one.

I had read that once you get sepsis, your chances of getting it again are increased.

That beast laid in wait until July 12, 2019. It presented like kidney stones and I was screaming in pain with a high temperature. I had so many doctors, imaging, blood tests, trying to find the source of this episode. At best, the diagnosis was gastroenteritis, or the common flu.

I feel so full of gratitude. Somehow, I gained enough strength to tour, perform, & even received a Nomination for the Juno Awards in 2018. I got to live out my best life after & during circling the drain 3 times.

I’m 48 on a geriatric diet, but once in a while, I can still sing my heart out. Life is silent these days as I'm currently on Day 933 of a soul sucking migraine. Is it related to Post-Sepsis Syndrome? Possibly…I definitely struggle with PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, poor appetite, & I have an eagle eye for the next organ dysfunction.

I don’t know why I’ve been spared 3 times now, but I have this huge sense that I’m meant to do more.

I have learned to trust my intuition & my “go time” symptoms. The survival instinct is strong and will keep you here if you listen!

Health & Love,

Shannon M.

  • Patient Story

First Nations land acknowledegement

Action on Sepsis operates on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples — xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We invite everyone to reflect on the traditional territories and land that they currently work and live on.

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