A young Surrey woman is recovering from a devastating case of flesh-eating disease – and it might have all started with a spider bite.
On June 3, Ronnie Alvarez’s daughter Chey was bitten by something. Her family believes it was a brown recluse spider.
Two days later, the 21-year-old was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh-eating disease.
She was in an induced coma for 10 days and on life support for 12 days.
“Flesh-eating disease is rare but when it attacks it’s a vicious disease,” Alvarez said. “Once it gets into the bloodstream it’ll come out anywhere.”
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Alvarez said the disease spread so quickly that doctors were forced to amputate Chey’s right leg below the knee.
“I thought my daughter was going to die,” Alvarez said. “I thought for the first five days that she wasn’t going to make it out of this.”
Chey knew something was wrong when she came out of her coma. She asked for a pen so she could write out a question.
Alvarez struggled to decipher her handwriting, eventually making out the words, “Am I missing foot?”
She didn’t want to be the one to tell her daughter that part of her was gone.
“She’s depressed, she’s confused,” Alvarez said.
Chey isn’t clear of danger, but she continues to make progress.
The family has set up an online fundraiser for what is sure to be a difficult journey ahead.
“There are a lot of people who have really supported Chey whether it be through prayers, support, kind words,” Alvarez said. “That’s been a really big difference.”
– With files from Geoff Hastings