In 2013, Christine Caron was 49 years old when her little Shih Tzu—named Buster—accidentally gave her a small nip.
“Not even a full-on bite,” Caron told CTV News. “But I didn’t realize that my immune system was already compromised and I went into septic shock.”
Caters News Agency reported that after the bite, Caron began to feel ill and vomit.
“Three days after the dog bite I started to experience a few dizzy spells and became more unwell from there,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
A week later, she was in the hospital in a coma.
— Eric Vanderburg (@evanderburg) April 16, 2019
‘Amputated My Arms and Legs’
The Ottawa mother-of-four woke up from a coma three weeks later to discover she was battling sepsis.
“The next thing I knew I was in the hospital being awoken from an induced coma on June 13,” Caron told Caters News Agency. “This is when I was told that I had suffered from sepsis and the only way they would be able to save me was if they amputated my arms and legs.”
The sepsis initially affected all four of Caron’s limbs. After regaining circulation in her right arm, however, she was told she would be able to carry on using it.
“I was initially told that I would have to have all four limbs amputated, but by some miracle the circulation came back in my right arm,” she told the Daily Mail, adding, “and this provided me the little glimmer of hope I so desperately needed to survive.”
She told CTV that knowing she needed to be there for her children is what kept her going.
“I had to make decisions, move forward and change my perspective in life,” she told news outlet.
Caron has since had several more surgeries and has learned to function with the help of artificial legs.
“Over the years I have been working on becoming active again after the mental impacts of surgery stopped me, and now I even have a yoga arm now—which helps my mental health massively,” she told the Caters News Agency.
‘Nothing Out There’
Caron told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that back in 2013 there was no support to speak of available for victims of sepsis.
“I left the hospital being told there is no information, you will have to do research when you get out, there is nothing out there,” Caron told the CBC.
“Apparently some patients have put together some support groups,” she added. “This is what I was told leaving the hospital.”
Since then, Caron has been working to raise awareness about sepsis and offer support to others who have suffered as she has.
“It’s a comfort to know you’re not the only one suffering this type of thing,” Caron told the CBC.
Caron set up a Facebook page @christinecaronsmiles, where she wrote in 2016, “As most of you are aware, in May 2013 I became known as the ‘dog bite lady’ after I suffered the life altering effects of Sepsis. My focus has been on my recovery, my children, the future and all the magic life has to offer.”
She continued: “I am a Sepsis Survivor and I’m taking my life back! If my story helps one person step out of the darkness into the light. If my story brings awareness and helps to save even one person from Sepsis then my journey will have been worth it.”
She posts on the page regularly, including photographs and updates on her condition.
Caron wrote on Feb. 14: “Did you know Sepsis is the #1 preventable cause of death in Canada?! I survived Sepsis, but the fight isn’t over! ✊🏻❤️”
I’m a Sepsis Survivor. Did you know Sepsis is the #1 preventable cause of death in Canada?! I survived Sepsis, but the…
Caron told CTV she hopes her story can help others persevere in the face of hardship.
“There is a way. There’s always a light. You’ve just got to find it,” Caron told the news outlet.
What Is Sepsis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection.
Sepsis comes about when an infection triggers a chain reaction throughout the body, potentially leading to rapid tissue damage, organ failure, and death.
Around 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis each year, according to Sepsis Alliance, resulting in an estimated 270,000 deaths.