I’m sharing a photo of myself on life support so you don’t make my mistake | The Sun
A WOMAN who puffed on vapes every day has shared shocking photos of herself after the liquids left her on life support.
Amanda Stelzer started vaping seven years ago when her friends all started doing it and the 'cool flavours' gave her a 'buzz'.
The 34-year-old has now told how she is happy to be alive after her habit left her struggling with a lung condition.
The cashier said for seven years, she would get through two four-packs of liquid cartridges every week or the equivalent of more than one cartridge a day.
Eventually, Amanda, from Delaware, Ohio, US ended up in Hospital when she was struggling to breathe and was suffering with severe lower back pain.
"I was crying because I was in so much pain. I was so scared," she said.
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Amanda said it felt as though her heart was beating out of her chest.
Despite extensive blood and urine tests, doctors couldn't work out what was wrong and sent her to the hospital in an ambulance.
Within 24 hours of being there, Amanda was put on life support.
"The last thing I remember is someone handing me a form and basically saying I needed to sign this if I wanted to live – that was the consent form to be put on life support," she added.
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Amanda was on life support for eight days in October 2019, and doctors warned her family that she could be in that state for at least three months.
Medics were still stumped by the cause of her condition, but when her nurse mum asked if vaping had anything to do with it, a chest scan was ordered.
It was then that she was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a life-threatening injury where the lungs cannot provide enough oxygen to the body.
In most cases, it's caused by inflammation of the lungs, the NHS states.
This inflammation then causes fluid from nearby blood vessels to leak into the tiny air sacs in your lungs, making breathing increasingly difficult.
Medical staff confirmed that her ARDS diagnosis was a direct result of vaping.
The NHS states that vapes are an alternative to smoking, and that they could even help you permanently quit.
However, studies have suggested that they could be as bad for your heart as regular cigarettes.
Amanda spent two more weeks in hospital, but when she was discharged, she was unable to work.
On top of this she wouldn't see her friends or family – or be around anyone using cigarettes and vaping for six months whilst her lungs healed.
Following her time in the hospital, Amanda suffered huge financial losses and mental health issues.
She said: "I was lucky that owned my car at the time and my insurance covered my treatment, but I still got into a lot of debt.
"It was depressing. I was happy to be alive but I was sad that I couldn't work and I couldn't be around family and friends without a mask.
"It was awkward having to disinfect everything and ask people not to vape or smoke around me anymore.
"I even lost two friends because they refused to quit."
What is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and what are the symptoms?
THE NHS states that ARDS is a life-threatening condition where the lungs can’t provide the body with enough oxygen.
Guidance states that it's usually a complication of a serious existing health condition.
This means that most people are already in hospital by the time they develop it.
Signs you need to look out for include:
- severe shortness of breath
- rapid, shallow breathing
- tiredness, drowsiness or confusion
- feeling faint
The illness can start quickly as a result of an infection like pneumonia, or if someone accidentally inhales their vomit.
You should call 999 or visit your nearest A&E if a child or an adult is having breathing problems.
Amanda now sufferers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of this experience.
However, her health is 'amazing' right now and she is in the best position she has ever been in – with lots of supportive friends and family members around her.
She has vowed to never touch a vape again and hopes that her experience will the wake-up call someone else needs.
Amanda said: "It seems harmless until it isn't. You never know what can happen – I thought it was no big deal when I started.
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"It is dangerous and I don't want someone else to go through what I went through.
"People might not want to see it or hear it but if it helps just one person stop, I'll be happy."
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