Read The Second Part of Nicole Wilson's Amazing Story
PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:58 04 May 2010
A TEENAGER from Sutton who had to have her legs amputated after contracting meningitis has spoken about her ordeal for the first time. 17-year-old Nicole Wilson, from Sutton, contracted the potentially fatal brain bug in June last year, while on holiday i
A TEENAGER from Sutton who had to have her legs amputated after contracting meningitis has spoken about her ordeal for the first time. 17-year-old Nicole Wilson, from Sutton, contracted the potentially fatal brain bug in June last year, while on holiday in Cyprus. She developed septicemia and as well as having both legs amputated below the knee, lost parts of all her fingers and is blind in one eye. Her kidneys were also badly damaged by the infection and she undergoes dialysis three times a week while she waits for a transplant.
Here, CATHERINE BELL tells Nicole Wilson's Amazing story.
DESPITE seemingly pulling through the worse in Cyprus, Nicole was most definitely not out of the woods. Her fingers and legs were still black, ravaged by the blood poisoning that had nearly cost her her life, and the Cypriot doctor told the shocked family that they would need to be amputated.
Mrs Wilson said: "Dr Kipriano was brilliant. He was lovely. They saved her life over there, but he told us they were behind the times surgically and we needed to get her home for the operations."
Nicole's holiday insurance covered the £50,000 cost of charting a private air ambulance from Luxembourg to fly her home, but even the flight home did not go smoothly for Nicole. She told the Ely Standard: "I nearly died on the plane. I had pneumonia and I deteriorated. They had to reventilate me.
"I saw a bright light on that plane."
The journey was traumatic for Nicole's dad, Wayne, 48. He was the only family member to accompany Nicole on the journey and he could see Nicole's condition worsening and there was nothing he could do.
In total, she had to be ventilated three times, and bears a scar on her neck where the tracheotomy was performed.
She also suffered two terrifying a stomach bleeds and lost 13 units of blood, undergoing many blood transfusions. Also while in the intensive care at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, Nicole suffered several infections, a collapsed lung and a seizure.
She was in intensive care for a total of three months before being moved into the high dependency unit at Addenbrooke's.
Her fingers and right leg were amputated in November and, despite the best efforts of her plastic surgeon, her left leg was amputated the following February.
Nicole said: "It was really difficult coming to terms with having the first amputation.
"They tried to save my left leg but it got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore and I told the doctor that I had made a decision and wanted to have it amputated too. I had had 22 operations and said 'that's it now'."
Nicole now sucks a painkilling lollipop to help her cope with the crippling pain in the nerve endings in her legs.
She was eventually allowed out of hospital on Christmas Eve 2008 and she returned to her family home in The Row, Sutton, for the first time since her ordeal began.
Throughout everything, Nicole has been surrounded by her family and friends - and has even had support from former television reporter, Helen Smith, and Heather Mills, who are both amputees.
Mrs Wilson said: "I contacted them by email and both got back to us after a few days. We have met with Helen a few times and had lunch with her. Heather telephoned Nicole and they had a lovely chat."
Nicole added: "She was lovely."
Both Helen and Heather have given Nicole advice on going to Dorset Orthopaedics, where the best prosthetics in the country are made, but these come at a cost.
The Nicole Wilson Trust has so far raised £20,000 which will help Nicole buy her first set of legs. However, the legs only last two to three years before they will need to be replaced and fundraising will need to continue to cover the cost of Nicole's future needs.
Carly and her friend Amy raised more than £10,000 when they ran a half-marathon last September, while Stacey and Nicole's former dance teachers, Vanessa and Sarah from The Lane Academy, have raised more than £7,000 doing various functions.
Nicole said: "I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to The Nicole Wilson Trust and if anyone would like to support future events, I would be very grateful."
Upcoming events include a dance at Southery Village hall on August 1, a cake stall in Ely on August 8 and a Policeman's Ball on October 17 at The Maltings in Ely.
For more information or updates on Nicole please contact Bev by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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