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A woman has said she is “happy to be alive” after a vaping habit left her needing life support. Amanda Stelzer began getting through two four-packs of liquid cartridges every week. The 34-year-old began the habit seven years ago, which eventually led to her being hospitalised and developing PTSD following the ordeal.
In October 2019, Amanda, who is from America, visited urgent care after experiencing severe lower back pain and struggling to breathe. She also describes how she felt like her heart was “beating out of her chest”.
During the urgent visit, doctors carried out extensive blood work and urine tests, before telling her they they couldn’t find what was wrong.
Concerned, they then sent her to hospital in an ambulance, where things escalated.
Without 24 hours of arriving at the hospital, Amanda was put on life support as her health deteriorated.
Amanda, who was on life support for eight days, said: “I was crying because I was in so much pain.
“I was so scared.”
Due to her ailing condition, doctors warned her family that she could remain on life support for at least three months.
Speaking since her recovery, Amanda said: “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.”
Still unsure of what had caused her ill health, a question from her mum regarding her vaping habit, prompted doctors to scan her chest.
Following this, Amanda was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Medical staff confirmed that Amanda’s diagnosis, which is a life-threatening injury where the lungs cannot provide enough oxygen to the body, was a result of vaping.
Following her time in hospital, life changed significantly, with Amanda suffering mental health issues, as well as financial struggles.
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Speaking of these struggles, Amanda said: “I was lucky that [I] 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.”
Despite this, Amanda, who vows to never touch a vape again, now describes her health as “amazing”, adding that she is in the best position she has ever been in.
Speaking out about her experience, Amanda hopes this will be the wake-up call someone else needs.
She said: “You never know what can happen.”
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