Kentucky mom-of-two Lucinda “Cindy” Mullins is back home six weeks after a “perfect storm” of infection left her without legs — insisting she’s at “peace” and not angry despite also awaiting amputation of her arms.
The 41-year-old nurse went home Friday, telling “Good Morning America” she was just grateful for surviving the septic shock that shut down her organs soon after routine elective surgery to remove kidney stones.
“When they told me that was going to happen, that I was going to lose my hands and my feet, I wasn’t angry,” said the mom now home with her husband and two sons, aged mom to 7 and 12.
“I had a peace about me. I just felt God’s presence saying, ‘It’s going to be OK. You’re alive. This is what has happened,’ and I wasn’t upset about it.”
Still, she conceded that the ordeal “has kind of been hard for me to wrap my head around.”
“I’m a normal person, and for these people to do those things for me is just, you know, that’s another God thing,” said the mom, whose first plan was to go to church Sunday.
Mullins, 41, underwent elective surgery Dec. 1 to remove kidney stones, receiving a temporary stent to prevent blockage, ABC News reported.
She removed the stent at home, as instructed — but soon collapsed on the bathroom floor, where she was found by her husband, who rushed her back to the hospital.
“They checked my blood pressure and it was 50 over 31, and in my mind, I knew that was not good,” said Mullins, who has worked as a nurse for almost 20 years.
“They started IVs on both arms, and I don’t remember anything after that,” she said.
Doctors discovered that she had an infected kidney stone and had suffered septic shock, which caused her organs to start shutting down.
“It was a perfect storm – over a kidney stone,” she said previously.
If left untreated for long, septic shock can cause “tissue damage, organ failure, and even death,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
Mullins was placed on a ventilator before she was transferred to a larger hospital in Lexington, where she was sedated for days in dire condition.
“My husband and sister were there and they told them that I was on the edge of a cliff and it was about to get worse before it got better,” she told “GMA.”
“After the surgery, I was put on ECMO and dialysis, and was still on the ventilator,” she said, referring to a device that removes carbon dioxide from the blood and sends back blood with oxygen to the body.
Mullins had her legs amputated the following day and expects to have her hands also removed in the next few weeks. She told “GMA” that the doctor will try to preserve as much of her arms as possible, likely removing everything just below the elbow, before she eventually gets prosthetics.
“Doctors tell me they can’t put a percentage on how close I was to actually dying, and then me doing as well as I am after being on ventilator, ECMO and dialysis… for me to be doing that well, as fast I did, is yet another miracle,” she said on the program.
“It was just one of those things where they explain all the bad things that can happen when you have surgery, and I was that rare case. I was really healthy,” Mullins explained.
Dr. Nate Thomas, the rehab specialist overseeing her care, said she has worked hard in physical therapy to get to the point in which she could head home.
“The attitude that she’s had in staying positive, staying upbeat and doing everything that she can has been something that’s been truly amazing,” Thomas told “GMA.”
“I don’t think that’s something that should be taken lightly, given the situation that she’s in and having gone through a lot. I think her whole [medical] team is ready to take a lesson from her mindset and the way that she’s really gone through this,” he added.
On Saturday, Mullins’ sister, Luci Hatfield Smith, posted an update on Facebook describing her progress during rehab.
“In just a few days at Cardinal Hill she went from not moving much at all on her own to sitting up, lifting her arms to scratch her nose, driving with her head, booty scooting all over the place, and even scrolled through her messages and sent some messages on her own,” Smith wrote.
“We got to enjoy some family and friend time and now she’s out. Now I just have to set my 15 alarms for her nighttime meditation and bathroom trips, but there’s no place I’d rather be right now,” she added.
The post is accompanied by several images and videos of Mullins participating in rehab exercises.
In one clip, she is seen working on how to get on and off her scooter by herself and uses her phone with her elbow in another.
Photos also were shared in the latest update to a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $263,000 as of early Monday afternoon.
“The hardest part about this is I miss my children, of course,” Mullins told “GMA.” “Without my faith, I don’t think I could be where I’m at today,” she said, saying one of her first plans was to go to church.
“And I cannot wait for that,” she said.