Friday, January 8, 2016

See What Polio Meningitis Did to This Beautiful Woman [Photos]

A single mother who lost a FIFTH of the skin on her leg and all her toes to meningitis has told of how she is battling her body insecurities to go on her first ever blind date.

When Michelle Atkinson, 39, suddenly began suffering headaches and a fever, she thought it was just the flu – but the truth was much more sinister.

She woke in the middle of the night and found herself unable to move.

Speaking about her ordeal, Michelle said: "I tried to get up to go to the toilet but I couldn't walk. I called for an ambulance. I was home alone as my friend was looking after Kira, so there was nobody to let the paramedics in.

"I had to crawl to the front door."

It was then she was rushed to the same hospital she works at, which she said was a "very strange" experience.

There, doctors told her she had contracted meningococcal septicaemia, a potentially life-threatening infection.

She said: "I don't remember much about it. I knew ultimately my daughter would go to her dad, but I vaguely recall telling my friend to make sure they'd still have involvement in her life and look out for her."

As her organs began to fail, Miss Atkinson was placed in a medically induced coma, where she remained for two weeks as medics fought to save her.

Upon waking, she was transferred to Frenchay Hospital, also in Bristol, where she remained for the next three months.

While she had been in a coma, the disease had ravaged the skin on her legs.

One of her toes had fallen off, and the rest were blackened due to lack of blood supply, leaving surgeons no choice but to amputate them.

She also underwent a skin graft as 20 percent of the skin on her legs had been burned away.

"I've never been confident, even before the meningitis," said Miss Atkinson.

"When I was younger, I badly burned my legs on a pot of hot food that had been cooking on the stove at home, so I was already insecure about the scars from that, and this had made things worse.

"What I miss about being in a relationship is having somebody there just for you. I'm fearful of going back out there and meeting somebody new.

"Getting intimate with somebody and letting them see my body is a real concern."

Now, Miss Atkinson, who always wears socks to cover her skin damage, is making a foray back into the world of dating.

The results will be documented as part of TLC's Too Ugly For Love, a series which sees singletons with secret physical afflictions navigate the world of dating, including when to reveal all to their prospective partners.

Revealing her mottled skin on camera, she said: "This is what I live with now. My body has been poisoned.

"I hope to meet somebody who's accepting of the new me."

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