A QUADRUPLE amputee claims her husband of 14 years left her while she was fighting for her life.
Kim Gilliam Steele, from Georgia, watched in horror as sepsis caused her limbs to rot, forcing her to have them removed.
The 54-year-old developed sepsis after having a toxic reaction to her new medication for Crohn's disease.
Her hands and legs had to be amputated after turning black as she fought for her life in hospital.
Kim was given a less than nine per cent chance of surviving after being put into a medically induced coma.
And if that wasn't heart-breaking enough, Kim claims her husband dumped while she was still recovering, leaving her in "a very dark place".
Kim said: "I was devastated when he left me but I knew by the way he was acting that he wasn't going to stick around.
"Not only did I have to deal with losing my limbs; I had to accept that I was losing my family as well.
"In 2016 my doctor suggested I try new medication for my Crohn's disease because he thought it would help but four days in, I suffered from a toxic reaction and went into anaphylactic shock which eventually led to sepsis.
"Once I came out of hospital, I had to rely on my family to do everything for me."
Kim says she was left with depression but after going to rehab and learning how to live as an amputee, she decided to turn her life around by using her experience to help others and create more awareness around sepsis.
"My life came to a screeching halt and it led me to a very dark place; I had lost my limbs and my husband all in a short amount of time and learning how I was going to live with this was extremely difficult," she added.
"Rehab was one of the most wonderful places I could have gone to; it made me realise that you can still live a productive life after something like this happens and I wanted to use my experience to help others.
"I feel like I'm living a better life than I was before because my whole mindset has changed and I now feel like I have a purpose.
"I truly believe I would not be where I am today if he (Kim's husband) would have stayed; I wouldn't be the strong independent person I am.
"I have a wheelchair but I also have prosthetic legs that I am able to use everyday."
Kim's hands were amputated at the wrists on June 6 in 2016 and her legs were amputated just below the knee on November 16 after doctors struggled to save them.
She says she has worked hard to be able to live alone, without a carer.
"I have been living by myself since April 2017 and am able to look after my three dogs, clean my home, drive a regular vehicle with no special adaptions and I live every day as if it were my last," she said.
"When you go that close to death, your whole life perspective changes.
"So many people are losing their lives to sepsis everyday and my goal is to try and make hospitals more aware and proactive in their response to sepsis.
"Losing your limbs is a major change and I want people to know that they can live a productive life if they want to.
"When I realised what I wanted to do and that I was going to fight, I started working so hard towards that goal and now, my life is good.
"Most amputees need a carer but I've pushed myself to where I can live on my own."
Kim says since her quadruple amputation, it has pressed her to go out of her comfort zone.
"Two years ago on Easter Sunday I decided to go sky diving," she said.
"They were hesitant about letting me do it at first but it was the most amazing experience and I feel like I can do anything now.
"It proves that I am stronger than I ever thought I would be and I want to be an advocate for others and inspire others.
"My family are always here for me and I have wonderful neighbours but I am doing really well on my own; I came home from hospital in February 2017 and two months later I was living by myself.
"You need supportive people in your life; I will reach out to people who are going through the same situation and will even go and visit people who need help.
"I hope to find love again one day but most men aren’t as accepting of women missing their limbs.
"If I don’t find love again I’m happy being who I am. I want to continue spreading awareness and positivity around the world."
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