She has been documenting her story on TikTok to raise awareness about sinus infections.
A martial arts instructor in California had to have half her skull removed after an unchecked sinus infection spread to her brain. The shocking medical case happened in 2021, but her story is going viral again. Natasha Gunther, 26, who went through an extremely traumatic experience, has now come out the other side with a more positive mindset and a wonderful life with her family, Metro reported. She has also been documenting her story on TikTok to raise awareness about the seriousness of sinus infections.
It all started in 2021 when Ms. Gunther complained of cold-like symptoms and thought that it was just a mild infection. She suffered from five different sinus infections, which were consistently successfully treated with antibiotics. However, when she started vomiting and having severe migraines, she went to the hospital, where doctors told her she could be dead in a week without surgery, the New York Post reported.
A scan revealed a brain abscess, owing to which surgery was immediately required to relieve the pressure on the right side of her head by removing and replacing a small piece of skull. She needed seven operations in total, four brain surgeries and three sinus surgeries.
Ms Guinther faced various post-surgery challenges, including a seizure, deep vein thrombosis, and the need to learn how to walk and talk again through intense therapy.
As a result of the final brain surgery, she now has a hole on the left side of her ear and a scar across her entire head. She was also forced to wear a special helmet for five months to protect her head.
It took her over a year to overcome her terror of being around people, but she has defeated her fears with the support of her husband who is also a martial arts instructor.
She said, ''I wore a helmet and tried my best not to go outside. I went out of the house for doctor visits and maybe less than five times out to places like the mall. I'd wear my helmet and a hoodie so people couldn't see it. It's extremely scary. I was also very traumatised and afraid of people walking by and accidentally bumping into me. It took me about a year to get over the trauma and fear of being hit by someone by accident. I felt very insecure and it made me extremely depressed.''
After several months of recovery, she finally returned to teaching martial arts. The couple have also since welcomed a baby boy.
Though she still suffers from headaches, she has accepted this as the new normal and is ''happy to be alive.''
Through her TikTok stories, she warned others with recurrent sinus infections to seek medical help from an ENT specialist.