'Feels good to be alive': Woman recovers from flesh-eating bacteria

Posted at 8:01 AM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 08:01:12-04

WHEAT RIDGE, CO (KDVR/CNN) – "It's amazing out here right now," said Sherry Apodaca. "Feels good."

It's the little things Apodaca said she now appreciates.

"Feels good to be alive too," she said.

It all started in her arm.

"Excruciating pain," she said. "It's a pain that you can't even describe."

Pain so bad she ended up in the emergency room.

"The doctor said that if she had stayed home another hour she would not be with us," said someone with her.

The diagnosis was flesh-eating bacteria.

"I have a patient right now in her early 50s with necrotizing fasciitis," said Dr. Jeff Bontrager.

Bontrager said he's only seen a handful of cases.

While the disease is rare, you can pick it up anywhere.

"It can be lots of different bacteria," Bontrager said. "In the patient that's here at Lutheran, it's actually a very common, it's just strep."

Somehow the strep infection got into Apodaca's muscles and that's when it becomes 'flesh-eating' and potentially fatal.

"It's a lot to take in because I'm normally not a person to be shut into a hospital bed," said Apodaca of her ordeal. "I'm always on the go, go, go work every day."

She's had six surgeries to remove the bacteria and dead tissue and still has a long road to recovery.

She said it’s a blessing because it means she's still alive.

"Just be careful," she said. "You never know what's going to happen to you. You never know."

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