Eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Dobrow was living the typical teen life when unthinkable tragedy struck. The beautiful teen got off work at a Days Inn, went to the gym, and then headed home to bed. A few hours later, she woke up feeling sick with nausea and a headache. Her mom, Kathi, gave her some Advil. But by the next day, she was in excruciating pain and could hardly move. She was rushed to the hospital. But by then, it was almost too late. A bacterial infection called meningococcemia, which is similar to meningitis, had ripped through Kaitlyn's blood stream. And her life, and that of her family, would never be the same.
Like meningitis, meningococcemia works swiftly. In this case, it quickly cut off circulation to Kaitlyn's limbs, which essentially killed them. Doctors had to amputate both arms and legs. She has had 12 surgeries so far.
Kaitlyn's family is understandably devastated. Can you imagine your daughter walks out of the house one day for work, happy and healthy, and by the next day, she's on the verge of death and loses her limbs? The future must be one huge, scary, surreal question mark. How will Kaitlyn function? What kind of future does she have? The lives of not only Kaitlyn, but her entire family, have changed forever.
Kaitlyn wasn't involved in some high-risk activity -- parasailing or skiing down a mountain. She was sleeping! She had merely gone to work and the gym, like most everyone does. And yet this thing came along and got her. For no other reason than that she was there.
How do you recover not only physically but emotionally from something like this? Yet much like Aimee Copeland, the student who came down with a flesh-eating bacteria that cost her her hands, feet, and leg, Kaitlyn is an inspiration to those around her.
Kaitlyn's father, Don, told the New York Daily News:
Initially, she cried when she learned about her limbs. But the following day, she said this is something I’ll find a way to make work, and joked, "Who needs a left arm anyway?"
Also, very fortunately, Kaitlyn is on her father's health insurance plan, which means this extreme stroke of terrible fortune won't bankrupt them. And her family has taken up donations to try and turn their home into one Kaitlyn will be able to navigate.
I just can't imagine facing this scenario. Kaitlyn is fortunate to have a supportive and tight-knit family. Not everyone has that. And she also seems to have inner emotional resources that will help hold her up as she enters her this unexpected phase of her life. Kailtyn's dad says that it is Kaitlyn herself who is helping the family through this:
She ministers to me, it’s incredible. She’s so upbeat. She gives all of us so much hope.
Kaitlyn's mom says that Kaitlyn believes that God has a plan for her and she is looking forward to her life. What an inspiring attitude!
By the way, there is a vaccine you can get to avoid this disease and doctors urge parents to get it when their kids are about 11 years old. Kaitlyn's mother says she regrets not getting Kaitlyn the vaccine. But who would have known??
Have you ever dealt with a sudden scary infection?
Image via KTLA