GREENVILLE, S.C. - Monday was the first time the public heard from a new mom in Greenville, S.C., who - along with doctors - is fighting to recover from a rare, flesh-eating bacteria.
Her steps are measured, and her movements labored.
"I'm OK; I'm glad to be alive," Lana Kuykendall said. "I have my moments of pain and discomfort."
But Kuykendall is determined to fight through the pain and even often flashs a smile during her difficult rehabilitation.
In early May, just days after giving birth to twins, Kuykendall noticed a spot on the back of her left leg. At first, she was concerned it was a blood clot. Instead, doctors discovered it was a rare flesh-eating infection.
"You could literally see the abnormalities of the tissue, and if you sit long enough, these flesh eating bacteria grow so rapidly that you can actually see the skin change in front of your eyes," Dr. Spence Taylor, a surgeon, said.
Surgeons had to move fast - removing muscle tissue and skin and trying to save her limbs and her life.
"Lana had at least 18 different operations over a 21-day period to remove the bacteria, and the necrotic and dead tissue that the bacteria chose to inflict which is really extraordinary," Dr. Taylor said.
But then so is their patient - fighting not only for herself but for her new twins Ian and Abigail.
"I was just glad to see them, very glad and just wanted to hold them and get to know them," Kuykendall said.
Her husband, her friends, and even Kuykendall will tell you it's holding those babies that gives her the strength to keep fighting.
"I'm a lot more tired than I used to be and weaker, but I'm getting used to that, but I'm also getting stronger everyday," Kuykendall said.
Doctors say Kuykendall still faces a long recovery but could go home from the hospital by the end of the week.
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