A mother-of-two is looking forward to celebrating Christmas after miraculously escaping a double amputation following a gnat bite 13 years ago.
Jorja Austin, 40, was mowing her lawn at her Basildon home in Essex in 2009 when she was bitten by a gnat.
The stay-at-home mother had no idea that 13 years later she would be fighting for her life as a result of four ‘pinhole-sized’ bites on her right leg that never healed.
She was then forced to give up her two children to state care due to continued ill health after contracting pyoderma gangrenosum, a rare skin condition that causes excruciating ulcers which were left untreated, leading Jorja to contract life-threatening sepsis in May this year.
She was then told she may need both her legs amputated in order to save her life.
But the terrified mother has since made an incredible recovery after fearing for her life following the dangerous illness.
She will be able to enjoy Christmas at home this year after her open wounds began to heal for the first time.
Jorja said: “I’ve had no life and been in agony for 13 years. I lost both my little boys due to my bad health. It got out of control.
“I couldn’t believe that my legs were finally getting better.
“I’m so happy and over the moon after being so frustrated for so long.”
The gnat bites 13 years ago left Jorja with a wound that never fully healed, partly due to her low iron levels, she believes.
Doctors told her the bites were “fine”, but instead they just grew bigger.
Her rare skin condition was diagnosed two years later before it migrated to her other leg, preventing her from working for over a decade.
Jorja said her recent recovery is entirely down to the dedicated work of the community nurses who have treated her ulcers every three days for months.
She said: “I was put into a coma in May because I couldn’t breathe from the sepsis.
“My family were told to say their goodbyes.
“Since I came out of hospital I’ve learnt to walk again and now one of the ulcers is 50 per cent healed.”
Jorja warns anyone with ongoing wounds to seek help to avoid going through the ordeal she did.
She said: “I didn’t get the right help at the right time.
“You have to keep going back, again and again, to fight for the right treatment, or you’ll end up nearly dead like me.
“Don’t leave it to get as bad as I did.”
Jorja has since enrolled in a flower arranging course in January and plans to spend a quiet Christmas with her sister Paige.
She hopes she will be able to have her boys, ages 13 and 17, back home again soon.