The day had finally come, Mikayla Grace was scheduled to receive her first pacemaker. It was one of many life-saving surgeries for the now almost 22-year-old.
“It was supposed to help save my life and instead did the complete opposite,” she wrote on Facebook.
In September 2016 Grace received her first pacemaker.
In a post she shared on her Facebook reflecting on the year that had gone by since she nearly lost her life, Mikayla detailed the scary ordeal.
Her health problems started when she was 16 years old and only got worse. When she was in her early 20s, doctors determined one of the many surgeries she would need to help her heart was to give her a pacemaker.
She received the pacemaker in September 2016, and after spending a week in the hospital recovering from “multiple surgeries,” she was able to go home. She seemed to be recovering as well as expected until she started to experience pain where her pacemaker was.
“Within 2 days I was disabled 100%,” Mikayla wrote on Facebook. “Unable to move, eat, drink, or go to the bathroom. I couldn’t speak right either, every word I’d try to say would come out a completely different, unrelated word. I laid there for days and part of me knew i was dying.”
Mikayla was taken to the hospital where she was “nearly unresponsive and hanging on by a thread.”
She was brought to the hospital and stayed there for several days until being transferred to another hospital, where doctors discovered she was suffering from a rare complication from the surgery—a staph infection. The heart valve that had been surgically implanted was infected.
“What was supposed to save me almost killed me.”
Doctors worked quickly to removed the infected pacemaker. Unfortunately, it brought about another problem, septic pulmonary embolism. Her body rapidly started to fail her and within 48 hours she gained 40 pounds of fluid.
Her pacemaker was taken out, but her problems were far from over.
Just when Mikayla’s condition started to improve she started getting a fever. She wrote that her doctors felt as if there was nothing more they could do to help her.
“They’d come into my room, looking defeated, not even able to promise things would get better,” she wrote. “So they crossed their fingers and prayed.”
Both Mikayla and her doctors were at a loss, and Mikayla just wanted to go home.
Mikayla’s doctors finally performed another surgery, which allowed her to receive treatment at home.
“I soaked up every bit of Christmas as I could and time with my family and friends! From then on, the most important thing to me was to LIVE my life and do things that made me happy!”
After 6 months of fighting “one severe medical event after another,” she was ready to live her life.
Although she is not cured—Mikayla suffers from “multiple severe, lifelong autoimmune diseases,” and her heart is still not completely better—she survived and is now working hard at thriving.
She wrote that finally after nine “long, torturous months,” she received a replacement pacemaker. Three months later, she’s yet to have a problem with it—proving the doctors, who believed she’d get endocarditis again and not survive, wrong.
“Even when I feel I can’t take anymore pain and suffering, I still manage to do it. One day after another. And that alone shows me I have so much strength that I didn’t even know was there.”