Carolyn Gower was like any other healthy woman her age when suddenly she was struck down by a mystery illness that would have killed her if it wasn’t for an eleventh-hour act.
The Australian woman was found by her adult children in bed on the evening of March 14 suffering from delirium and a high fever, triggering an immediate trip to hospital.
There, it was determined she had been infected with the deadly flesh-eating bacteria, Necrotising Fasciitis.
If her children hadn’t arrived at her home that evening, her chances of surviving the night were practically zero, according to her friend Susan Begbie.
“Carolyn’s life hung in the balance for the next two weeks. She spent three to four weeks in an induced coma, had numerous hyperbaric treatments, 15 surgeries including two skin grafts and spent two months in the burns unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne,” Ms Begbie said.
“Carolyn is now back home in Ballarat and is undertaking a rigorous rehabilitation program including physiotherapy, exercise therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology as she learns to walk and take care of her daily needs again, while processing the trauma she’s experienced.”
Ms. Gower faced immense challenges following the death of her husband in 2017 and her condition has significantly intensified her difficulties.
In a GoFundMe aimed at supporting her to purchase necessary medical equipment, Ms. Begbie said nothing had been funded by the public system.
“These generous donations will assist Carolyn with the necessary requirements for her recovery including medications, dressings, equipment, safety rails and custom made compression garments,” she wrote.
Ms. Gower, prior to the illness had saved up to attend a four-day healing camp called Camp Widow in Brisbane, but the funds had to be funneled into her treatment.
“Carolyn’s medical team are urging her to go for the healing benefits it will bring, and the hope of doing so has pushed Carolyn to achieve some of her rehabilitation milestones quicker than expected,” Ms Begbie wrote.
“For the past few years Carolyn has dedicated her life to helping other widows and grievers across the world as a grief coach, podcaster and through her social media.”
Ms. Gower hosts her podcast My Person Died Too and supports fellow widows with her business, Carolyn Gower Coaching.
She has been unable to work for the past four months and has yet to receive the green light on when it might be safe for her to return.
“Even when she does, it will be in a much lesser capacity for quite some time as she continues the long road to recovery,” Ms Begbie said.