New mom talks about battle with flesh-eating bacteria

By Jay Gray, NBC News | Posted - Jul. 17, 2012 at 6:33 a.m.



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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Her steps are measured, her movements labored, but Lana Kuykendall is determined to fight through the pain.

"I'm okay. I'm glad to be alive," she says.


If you sit long enough these flesh eating bacteria grow so rapidly that you can actually see the skin change in front of your eyes.

–Dr. Spence Taylor


In early May, just days after giving birth to twins, Lana noticed a spot on the back of her left leg.

At first she was concerned it was a blood clot.

Instead, doctors discovered, it was a rare flesh-eating infection.

"You could literally see the abnormalities of the tissue, and if you sit long enough these flesh eating bacteria grow so rapidly that you can actually see the skin change in front of your eyes," says Dr. Spence Taylor.

Surgeons had to move fast, removing muscle tissue and skin in an attempt to to save her limbs, and her life.

New mom talks about battle with flesh-eating bacteria

"Lana had at least 18 different operations over a 21 day period to remove the bacteria and the necrotic and dead tissue that the bacteria chose to inflict, which is really extraordinary," says Dr. Taylor.

Then again, so is their patient, fighting not only for herself but also her new twins, Ian and Abigail.

"I was just glad to see them, very glad and just wanted to hold them and get to know them," Kuykendall says.

Doctors say Lana still faces a long recovery, but could go home from the hospital by the end of the week.

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