It was the day after Christmas in 2016, when Michigan father of three Kevin Breen complained of flu-like symptoms and took a very rare day off work.
He went to urgent care where he was tested negative for strep and flu and sent home with pain medication but Kevin’s condition just got worse.
The next morning he was back in the emergency room suffering unbearable pain and it was then that doctors discovered most of his organs were surrounded by puss.
Kevin was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of strep throat, placed on life support; his body went into septic shock and doctors were eventually forced to amputate part of his limbs.
Kevin is one of two men in the world with a documented case of this form of strep throat, his wife Julie told USA Today.
His journey has been painful and tough but he credits his wife with getting him through it, and three years later he is doing activities he never thought he’d do again.
Slipped into septic shock
When Kevin was admitted to hospital and doctors discovered the bacteria they had to flush his abdomen; he was slipping into septic shock and was in danger of being killed by his own body’s immune response, Today reports.
Doctors tested Kevin for strep again and it came back positive; it was concluded that the bacteria from his throat infection had traveled into his abdomen.
Thankfully doctors saved his life but his hands and feet had suffered permanent damage. Doctors had to treat Kevin by giving him drugs which redirected blood from his extremities to his brain and other organs, necessary to keep him alive.
Breen’s hands and feet started turning black, meaning the tissue was dying, so doctors amputated his legs below the knee, his entire left hand and some of the fingers on his right hand.
Kevin had to learn to do everything again.
“She (Julie) took care of me, she had to do everything — I was like a baby,” Kevin told Today. “She gave me so much help and that’s part of why I wanted to be more independent, to not make her do so much stuff.”
‘Holy cow, I can walk’
“I remember telling him like, ‘Kevin, you, you can cry,’” his wife told Today.
“My response was, ‘How I react to this is how our kids are going to perceive how, you know, we tackle challenges in life,’” Kevin said. “I got better and I could do more things and holy cow, I can walk.”
The journey has been a tough one but today Kevin uses prosthetic legs and a water-resistant robotic hand called the TASKA, which has 23 different grips and allows him do every day tasks like wash the dishes.
Kevin was determined not to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair and thanks to help from the Hanger Clinic he’s doing activities he never thought he’d do again like skiing and wakeboarding.
He requires very little help from his wife and can help take care of their three kids.
His ordeal has brought he and his wife closer together, who told Today, “watching his unwavering determination to be independent again was so inspiring to both me and the kids.”
Hear from the brave man himself in the clip below.
So awful to hear about Kevin’s story, but what a fighter he is and his journey has led him to do activities most of us wouldn’t dream of trying! He is a true inspiration.
Share this article if you also wish Kevin and his family all the best for a happy and healthy life!