A mother of six, who had 19 kg of her rotting belly cut off after a carnivore infected her c-section scar, is desperate to raise money for a new electric scooter – so she can take her daughter to her first day of kindergarten.
When Sarah Humphrey, 41, made hospital staff aware of a terrible smell coming out of her stomach shortly after the birth of her youngest daughter in February 2018, it was the beginning of a roller coaster ride.
The stench, which she says was “like rotting meat,” came from her scar and was caused by potentially fatal necrotizing fasciitis – also known as “carnivore disease.”
When I was operated on for the first of many operations, Sarah, a single mother who lives in east London, said, “When I woke up from the first operation, a long tube came out of my stomach sucking all the infected meat into a machine.”
Necrotizing fasciitis, which kills within a few days if left untreated, is a serious infection that occurs when a malignant bacterium infects a wound.
Even the smallest cuts can become inflamed and toxins are released that poison the “fascia” – the connective tissue under the skin – and effectively rot the patient from the inside out.
Remarkably, the doctors managed to remove the putrefaction, but it took 10 weeks to cut the infected flesh from Sarah’s body, with about two surgeries a week, before she could go home in the spring.
Fortunately, Sarah struggled back to normal in the summer of 2018, which resulted in her youngest daughter taking a buggy for a walk in the park.
But that fall, she was hit by another health drama when a hernia flared up, what she referred to as “child’s head size” – caused when an internal part of the body pressed from weakness in the muscle or the surrounding tissue.
A painful but not life threatening condition, Sarah was put on the waiting list for surgery.
But she says general waiting times compounded by Covid delays mean she has not been given a date yet.
Finding long periods of standing was difficult as she found it uncomfortable and painful. Sarah used an electric scooter to get around.
Unfortunately, however, it has broken down beyond repair, leaving her with no way of getting out and that she might fail to get her youngest child to kindergarten for the first time.
She took 550 pounds that she can’t afford to buy a new one and has now asked strangers to help her raise the money by buying one GoFundMe pageso she can leave the house while she waits for the hernia surgery.
“My youngest daughter will be starting kindergarten in two weeks and I don’t want to miss her first day,” says Sarah, who wishes her children to remain anonymous.
Despite everything, Sarah realizes that she is lucky enough to be alive.
Originally booked for a 39th week caesarean section because she was diagnosed with symphysis dysfunction (SPD) – a condition that causes severe pain around the pelvis, perineum, and lower back that can occur during pregnancy – she was nervous because of the operation.
But when her daughter was born healthy and smiling, she couldn’t have felt happier.
She said, “I was scared because I had never had an operation before. My previous pregnancies were normal, straightforward, and easy.
“Even so, my daughter came out covered in blood and smiled.”
Then, when she contracted necrotizing fasciitis – a wild beetle that can spread in as many hours, she found herself under the knife again and again.
Finally, after 10 weeks in the hospital during which 19 kg (3rd) rotting meat was cut from her belly, Sarah returned home in the spring.
While it took time – her muscles had atrophied from so much time in a hospital bed – to regain her mobility, she managed, only the hernia brought her back to the ground.
With her freedom of movement now extremely restricted, she is desperate to replace the electric scooter she needs to buy groceries, support her family and that gets her out of the house and makes her feel part of the world.
“All I want is some kind of normal,” she said.
You can donate to Sarah’s campaign gofundme.com
You can find more stories from where you live at Near you.