My name is Gavrielle and I am now 16 years old. On November 8, 2011, I came home from school feeling very sick. I had a bad headache, fever, nausea and a sore throat. My mom thought I had the flu or something that would run its course in the next 24-48 hrs. It got worse the second day. I was throwing up and started with diarrhea that night. I couldn’t keep anything down. My mom was going to take me to the doctor after my brothers got on the bus the next morning (11/10/11). I wanted to go sooner! I never felt so sick in my life. I was throwing up all night and fell asleep on the bathroom floor. At around 5am, my mom checked my throat again. When she did, she saw that my tongue was completely white. My parents decided that my mom should take me to the ER immediately instead of waiting to go to my family doctor. We got to the ER and I remember having to sit down on the steps on my way in. I was feeling so weak. They took my blood pressure. My systolic pressure was in the 50’s. They hooked me up to IV fluid and ran blood tests. The nurse thought I was just dehydrated and would probably be able to leave in a couple hours. The doctor came in after he got the blood work results and said to my mom, “This is really bad. She is in acute renal failure and her organs are shutting down.” He could not understand how I even walked into the ER on my own. They transferred me by ambulance to a hospital that would be better equipped to take care of me. By the time I arrived at the 2nd hospital, I was on my third bag of IV fluid. As soon as I got there, they put a 4th one in my other arm. They were going to put me in a regular room, but soon realized that even with all the fluid, my blood pressure was still dangerously low and my heart rate was very high. They decided they needed to take me to the PICU immediately. At that point, they still did not have a diagnosis. I was septic. My kidneys were functioning at 25%. They didn’t know if I was going to have to start dialysis. They ran endless tests and had a PICC line put in to start me on all kinds of heavy duty medications. I had to be put on oxygen and was monitored to make sure my lungs weren’t filling with fluid. After a lot of testing and exams, they determined I had TSS. It was on that first day in the hospital that the rash appeared on my legs and stomach. At that point, the doctors did not know if I was going to be okay. With round the clock care from some incredible doctors and nurses, I started to slowly get better. It was probably on the 3rd day that they were able to say that they thought I would be okay. It was rough, though. I was throwing up for days and would have panic attacks that they attributed to the meds. They had to put an A-line in to monitor my blood pressure since it was not coming up on its own. I remember one night they had to draw blood, but couldn’t take it from the PICC line. Some of my veins had collapsed. They poked me in my arms, legs and feet for over an hour before finally getting blood. Whenever they would have to change my meds, my bp would drop so rapidly that I would immediately turn white and become violently ill. They kept me in the PICU for 6 days, and then sent me to a regular room once they were able to wean me off of the blood pressure medication. When I was able to go home, they prescribed a very strong antibiotic for me to take. After I left the hospital, other than the fact that I was very weak and scared, you never would have known I was even sick. I don’t know how I was so lucky to have made a full recovery. I do have nightmares and worry that I will get sick again. Going through something like this definitely changes you. My heart goes out to all the families of those that lost their lives to this horrible disease. I hope that by sharing my story I can help get the word out.