Kassia’s story – finding power through adversity

On July 11th, 2014, my body shut down and I went into a coma.

 

Hi, my name is Kassia.  I am 30 years old with a non-reversible health condition for the rest of my life due to opiate use.

The week before I went into a coma, my boyfriend at the time injected me with opiates. I had never injected myself and I'll always remember that last needle.

Something seemed different and felt different, it actually turned out to be was very different indeed. After that shot, my body slowly started shutting down. I remember it starting with aches and pains that became almost impossible to move, I couldn't eat or sleep. I was delusional and so confused. I'd be hot one minute then cold the next. Closer to the end of that week; I couldn't control my bowels and would barely make it to the toilet. Then everything started happening in scenes, blackouts, like I was coming to and from randomly throughout each day and night. One minute I'd be going to bed, the next, it would be morning and I was standing in the kitchen. Then I'd black out again and come to again back in bed. I finally turned over to my ex-boyfriend and said, "Something isn’t right. I think you need to call 911." Then I blacked out again. When I came to the next day, I was getting into the back seat of my car with 2 EMS guys came up to my window saying "You have to take her now. I mean it. She won't come with us but you need to go now. I'm telling you. She's got maybe an hour or two." and that was the last I remember.

 

On July 11th, 2014, I went into a coma. The doctors told my family I was going to have a heart attack and there was nothing they could do about it.  There were a few scary moments when my vitals dropped and I flat-lined three times. The doctors told my family, "It could go either way." My parents got a pastor; they did everything and anything they could to keep me stable and alive. No one was really sure what to expect.

I woke up from my coma 2 months later, days before my 24th birthday.

It took me a while to comprehend what had all happened and even longer to process what was real and what wasn’t. When they told me I’d been in a coma for 2 months; I looked over at my dad and said, "I'm so sorry."

Doctors told me I would be in the hospital for 6 months recovering, but I wasn’t having that. I just wanted to go home. But there was no way that was happening because when I tried to sit up, I couldn't hold myself up. I couldn't even hold a pen up. I had lost so much muscle and weight from my coma - I had to teach myself how to walk all over again. That sucked. And boy, was it ever painful. The doctors told me "Once you walk this hospital wing with no walker - you can go home." So every day I’d try and try and try and then cry and cry some more.

But believe it or not, after 2 weeks, I got up without a walker, and I walked that hospital wing. I remember walking by the doctors, slowly but surely, saying "Sign my discharge papers." They did. I got a PICC line put in me and had home care set up, all the medications I had to take (and continue to take to this day) and I went home.

I wanted to get home so bad.  That's when I understood you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to. I told myself, "If you want to be sober - YOU CAN BE."

Today, I am over 6 and a half years clean from all opiates and/or any kind of downer.

I will never, never, go back to using that devil of a drug EVER again. Withdrawing from drugs and being dope sick is the absolute worst. You'd rather die than be so sick because your body physically needs it. I shouldn't say you'd rather die, because I did almost die and that wasn't fun.

But still, I am grateful for what happened to me. You're probably saying, “OMG how are you grateful for going into a coma?”

To be honest, I try to see the good in every bad situation. If I hadn’t gone into a coma and if I hadn’t lived through those near-death experiences, I'd probably still be using, or I'd be dead. Straight up.

It took a toll on my family. My relationship with my parents while I was using was really bad. There actually wasn’t a relationship at all. The one big regret I have in life is the way I treated them. I put them through the absolute worst. Although sometimes I would make it damn near impossible for them to be there for me; with the fighting, running away, not coming home for weeks, lying, etc., they still managed to help me and be there for me every step of the way.

My three younger sisters watched their big sister dying, watched my parents miss work, they missed school, and they watched me fight for my life. What I went through has scared them so badly that none of them have even tried any kind of drug EVER. They don’t even smoke. I never want to see one of my baby sisters in the position I was in. I feel terrible for making my family go through that and never will make them go through that again.

What my family went through while I was in a coma - is one thing, but what I went through is another. My faith became even stronger than it had been after that experience.

Now, I cherish every moment I get to have with my parents. My parents are my biggest support system ever. I am honestly so blessed to have them as my mom and dad. They love me unconditionally and never gave up on me. They were there for me through the good times and the bad.

Today, they are my best friends. We have the strongest, most supportive bond I didn’t think was even possible to have. I am so grateful for them.

I'm stuck with a permanent heart condition now. There was damage to my main organs - liver, kidneys, and lungs, and I’ll need my tricuspid valve replaced in my heart eventually.

The health issues I’m facing now are because of the decisions I made in the past: the not-so-great choices I made, like hanging out with the wrong kinds of people, and thinking that dating a drug dealer would be cool. Wow. Was I ever wrong. I lost my career job, my new car, my place I was living in - I almost lost my life. It is not worth it.

I now KNOW you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to, even if it means having to teach yourself how to walk again.

 

 

We thank Kassia for sharing her story - if you would like to connect with her about her experience and her recovery, please email info@drugfreekidscanada.org