On June 19, 2001, I woke up at
around 3 a.m. feeling like I'd come down with the flu. I felt like I was running
fever and was very nauseous. I stood up to go to the bathroom and immediately
fell down. My mom heard me fall and ran into my room to help me. She picked me
up and helped me to the bathroom. I spent about an hour throwing up. Somehow I
managed to go back to sleep until about 9 a.m. I woke up and luckily my mom was
worried enough to stay home from work and was going to take me to the doctor
later on that day.
As the morning went on I became more and more ill. I was running a fever
around 103 degrees, was very weak, my whole body ached, and I was developing a
purple rash on my entire body. My mom and I were both very scared so she
decided I needed to get to a doctor immediately. My uncle came and got me,
because by this time I couldn't walk and my room was upstairs. They drove me to
my doctor and when we got there, she immediately knew what it was. The doctors
and nurses there rushed me to the back and started a iv on me immediately. The
secretary called 911 and they got there within minutes. As the paramedics were
loading me in the ambulance, I heard my doctor say, "Hurry, I don't think she's
going to make it!". The last thing I remember was giving my mom my dads' phone
number in California. I woke up a month and a half later in ICU surrounded by
my parents, family, and friends.
I was very scared at first. I'd never really been in a hospital, besides
visiting people. I had tubes coming out of almost every part of my body. I
felt like a higher spirit was in my room and watching over me. It gave me a
real sense of peace and I realized that I was going to be ok.
I ended up having both my legs below the knee, most of my fingers on my
right hand, and some of the fingers on my left hand amputated. Naturally, this
devastated me. I had been a cheerleader and dancer since I was 4 years old.
Here I was, 19 years old, and to me my life was over. My whole life revolved
around dancing, so to me it was over. Finally, one day I woke up and realized I
had to stop feeling sorry for myself. God had brought me through this horrible
disease, so I had a reason to be here.
I got out of the hospital in September. I'd been there for 3 months. I
was afraid to be out because my whole life was now changed. I started to learn
about prosthetics and all the things that could be done with them. I began
doing research on meningococcemia. I wanted to educate people about this
disease. I began writing to magazines, and have had a couple of offers to do a
story for them, which I'm working on right now. I did a speech for people my
age, and I plan on getting involved with educating people about this disease
After a few setbacks, I'm now in therapy. I've began learning to walk on
my prosthesis. I'm doing very well. My therapist wants to get me involved in
modeling for prosthetic companies, and I've received a request to enter the Ms.
Tennessee pageant, which my therapist is also pushing me to do. I've realized
that there is still so much to live for. One of my friends mother is a dance
instructor and wants to work with me, so it looks like my dancing days aren't
I'm very happy with my life now. I still get sad when I think about it,
but I realize I can't turn back time so I can't sit around and feel sorry for
myself for the rest of my life. That part of my life will forever be a part of
me, but I have an opportunity to live a totally different life now.
I'm a very lucky girl and I'm so happy to still be alive. I want people
to know how precious life is. We take the simplest things for granted. Live
everyday of your life to the fullest. Let your family and friends know how much
you love them. You never know what life will throw at you or when you or
somebody you love will be taken to live with God.
Lindsey Nicole Gray (Phil 4:13)
May 12, 2002,
Lindsey and Cody the