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ID: 100131 Time/Date: 04:37:10 AM PST/ 02-21-2011
Name: Nelly Waiya
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Story: No one should have to go through the pain my mother went through, i saw her skin peeling, her vision disappear, her mouth ulcerated to an extent that she could not eat nor speak.......
Being in a third world country(Kenya), health care is still in shambles, with poor infrastructure, few doctors, and barely no medication. To compound it, is the fact that SJS is a rare condition that has not been experienced in most health facilities, in fact i got to know about the condition from online resources. It was the most painful experience to see my beloved mom in so much pain yet there was nothing much i could do. Rest in peace my beloved mother.
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ID: 100130 Time/Date: 09:35:04 PM PST/ 02-12-2011
Name: Thomas
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Story: Hello. My name is Thomas and i was diagnosed with SJS in the Summer of 2010. I was extremely fortunate that my case did not reach the severe level that so many others have had to experience, but i figured that just maybe my story can hopefully be useful to somebody down the road...

The drug that caused my SJS experience was sulfameth-trimethoprim, aka Bactrim (a sulfa drug). But before i share my story, a brief history of my medical situation should be known...

I've been taken medications for acne for several years. I've taken everything from topicals to oral antibiotics to accutane, and everything in between. One of the first oral pills i had taken was doxycycline. I was on the pill for months with no signs or a reaction, but i suffered from the stomach flu and as a result stopped taking the pill for about a week. After i had all of my strength was back and i felt 100%, i continued my medication. Within a couple of days of continuing, i had a reaction. My lips had swelled (i mean they were huge). I had no prior history to allergic reactions so i didn't have a clue of what was going on. Finally my mother had read the medication guide and i visited my family doctor the following day. The swelling had already begun to subside, but my Dr. gave me a shot and then prescribed me for a week treatment of Prednisone (cortico-steriod). Everything was fine and back to normal. I continued other acne medications, but nothing was very effective so i wanted to go on accutane. My skin was great and outside of one abnormal liver test which caused me to pause my treatment for 3 weeks, i didn't have any problems. After my 5 month course of accutane my skin was great, but within a couple of months my skin was getting bad again. I started a 2nd accutane course, but once again liver tests forced me to stop. I was 2 months into the 2nd course. This time my liver tests didn't immediately return to normal after pausing. As a result i was no longer able to stay on the one mediaction that significantly improved me skin. Upset by this i wanted to do something, anything to help my skin. Not allowed to go back on accutane, i was prescribed sulfameth-trimethoprim, aka Bactrim (a sulfa drug)...

AND HERE'S WHERE MY SJS STORY TRULY BEGINS. I took my 1st pill on a Monday. Everything was fine and i had no symptoms of anything. I took 2 pills a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Exactly a week later i had went out golfing. It was a sunny day in the midwest and when i had returned home from playing my face was very red and stinging. In addition i had a headache and i quickly noticed that my eyes were extremely sensative. Any glare or light forced me to close my eyes and only worsened my headache. I assumed that i just had gotten sunburn or maybe sun poisoning. I took a nap and when i woke up my symptoms hadn't worsened any and i felt like they were actually improving so i continued my medication by taking a pill that evening. The next day my skin wasn't as red, but i still had a headache and very sensative eyes. I noticed that anytime i quickly moved my head that the back of my eyes hurt. In addition a new symptom arose. I had this weird tingly feeling in my throat. Whenever i'd attempt to take a deep breath i was forced to let out this weird little cough. A little uneasy and having a past drug allery, i decided to stop taking any pills until all of my symptoms were gone. Within a couple of days (by Friday) i was symptom free. Still a little curious, i decided to wait until Monday night to start up my medication again. I took my first pill around midnight. Almost immediately my skin felt like it was crawling. I was very itchy. Shortly after, my face and eyes were very red and the headache resurfaced. I was almost positive that it was indeed the drug that was causing my symptoms, but i wanted to try to wait it out. I mean, it was midnight and the ER was the only medical option - and the ER wasn't a place that made me feel at ease. As a result i attempted to hang tough at home, but within a couple of hours a fever had surfaced. By 5:00am, without sleeping at all, i felt like i was on fire and cold washclothes weren't doing much good. By 6:00am i decided that it was time to visit the ER. I took the pills with me and explained that i was almost positive that i was having an allergic reaction. The registration lady had a nurse come look at me and they quickly took me back for examination. The nurse did her examination and hooked me up to an EKG. She quickly was concerned when my heartrate was somewhere around 130-150. They wheeled me to the ER and doctors began to come in. Their biggest concern at that time was getting my heart rate to calm down. Unfortunately, it wasn't ready to and it only continued to climb. They hooked me up to IV's and gave me benadryl for the allergy symptoms. I realized that it was pretty serious when i had quickly been visited by about 5 doctors and several nurses kept peeking in my room. As my heartrate increased to over 180, they injected me twice with adenosine (which was a crazy experience). My heartrate stayed at around 120 after that (still high, but better). One of the doctors told me that i had been diagnosed with SJS, and explained it and TENS to me and what could happen. Obviously we couldn't do much, but take a wait-and-see approach and see how my case developed. As he told me that little rashes were likely to develop, i looked at the palms of my hands and indeed there were several 1/2-inch red spots. They were also developing on my arms and legs. The doctors had continued to keep my on the IV for fluids, potassium, and contuining to give me benadryl and a steriod. By 9am i was omitted to an actual hospital room (not the ER) for observation. I was visited by my doctor and another dermatologist, both whom had good hopes seeing that my visible skin symptoms hadn't developed outside of the small red spots. My heartrate stayed in the 120s until later that night, and by the morning it was back to normal. In addition, most of the red spots had dissappeared. They had visiably began to disappear that evening, but by the morning they were almost all gone. I was released after about 30 hours in the hosptial and the doctors prescribed me with prednisone and benadryl for a week. When i got home from the hospital i obviously got right on the internet to learn more about what i had been diagnosed with. Reading that the symptoms could continue to develop for a week and not knowing if i was out of the blue yet, i was obviously very uneasy for the following week. Reading and learning of just how serious SJS was, it was very scary. Fortunately my experience was short and minimal. I cannot express enough of how fortunate i feel, not having to experience the severe cases that so many diagnosed with SJS go through. I pray for everybody who is diagnosed.

I know my story has been extremely long, especially for a case that was not as severe as so many cases, but i hope that it can maybe help somebody down the road. If ever you have any questions or concerns regarding a possible reaction to a medication you're taken, be proactive. My past drug reaction helped me understand that a reaction could be severe and it just may have helped my case of SJS be as minimal as it was. Thanks for reading. Enjoy life and know that you're never alone.
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ID: 100129 Time/Date: 10:30:29 AM PST/ 02-09-2011
Name: Julie Matthews Grimes
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Story: I am amazed at how many other people have had SJS, and I am so thankful to have found this website. My daughter is doing an independant study for a class on this subject and this is how I found the website. I was the fourth reported case of this in the United States, so there was no support for me growing up.

As for my story, when I was five years old, I had a kidney infection. My doctor put me on a sulfa drug. I don't know what drug it was, but immediately, I started getting a sore throat and a rash. Thankfully, my father was a pediatrician, and he recognized something was wrong. He called one of his partners, and I was diagnosed with SJS. I dn't remember a whole lot about that time. I was only 5 and I was running a fever of 104 so I was delirious most of the time. I do remember the sores on my lips and in my throat. I couldn't eat or drink because it hurt too much. I know that I had the sores elsewhere, but I couldn't tell you where now. Nature has a way of helping you forget especially when you are that young.

I was lucky. With my father being a physician, the drug was stopped very quickly. I was also lucky in that I didn't go to a hospital. I should have been in one, but at that time, I am not even sure that they would have known how to deal with my illness. This was 40 years ago so no one really knew much about SJS. My parents also felt that a hospital would scare me too much, so they opted to have me sleep with them and for my physician to come see me everyday. I am sure that if it became necessary, I would have been hospitalized immediately. I remember my doctor putting some kind of salve on me and using some kind of medicated swabs on my lips. I also remember having to have my eyes wiped to open them. I could tolerate ice chips so I was given plenty of ice to help keep me hydrated. Good friends of the family would bring me my favorite foods to eat in the hope that I could eat, but I couldn't eat. It hurt way too much.

I finally turned the corner 7 days in to my illness. My family had gotten a newfoundland puppy, and I got out of bed for the first time to see our little "bear." She looked just like a bear to me. My mother always called that dog her million dollar dog.

I am so sorry for those that have also suffered from SJS. As a result of this, I have alopecia and suffer from asthma. I am now getting arthritis at 45, and I wonder how much of my medical history has been related to SJS. I don't know that I will ever know for sure. I worry that my children might get this as well, so I refuse to let anyone give them a sulfa drug of any kind. It's always a scary thought.

Out of all of this, I feel lucky in so many ways. First of all, I had excellent doctors who were smart enough to diagnose me correctly. I have suffered from some side effects from this, but I have my life, my vision, and no real remaining scars. I know that things could have been very different for me. I don't know that my story will help anyone, but it's nice to be able to finally find a place to share my story and to get some answers. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers. Julie Matthews Grimes
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ID: 100128 Time/Date: 10:47:13 PM PST/ 02-05-2011
Name: Jessic Bunnll
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Story: My mother at he age of 52 just passed away November 8, 2010 from SJS. Her dealth was preventable and horrific. A atibiotic given to her in May of 2010 caused her first case. Although serve ebough to cause extensive scaring and months in a nursing home, she over came it. Only to be placed on the same meds in October when she was admitted for a small boil on her leg. The only hours of the same medication was given did she devlope the blisters again. This time serve enough to cause breathing issues to when she has to be placed on a vent. Over the next 2 days she devloped these blisters to over 90% of her body. After the stopped forming and her skin was completely removed, they discovered it had spread inside of her. He devloped many infections. After a month and a half fight. My mother had subcommed to her illness. Her medical charts stated to not give her that drug. They did and killed my mother. I was not even aware of SJS untill my mother fell ill. I fell cheated and betaryed. What ever I ca do to bring awareness to this matter I will.
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ID: 100127 Time/Date: 07:25:07 AM PST/ 01-27-2011
Name: Melissa Bryan
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Story: Bless all of you who deal with TEN & SJS. I have Epilepsy and just diagnosed with SJS. My first outbreak was last week. The pain is the most difficult. I have seen 8 physicians and been to the ER twice. But now that I have an DX that will stop. How do you deal with your seizure meds? My SJS was the result on 1 antibiotic pill. A slight reaction happened like this two other times not as bad. Thanks for reading my story.
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ID: 100126 Time/Date: 06:06:58 PM PST/ 01-24-2011
Name: Linda Michaello
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Story: I am contacting you on behalf of a lady I met, she has been diagniosed with SJS. She need an advocate, she has tried several times to get social security disability but has been denied, she is indigent, she has no assets. Please have someone contact her It my understandingthat this condition maybe life threatening, because her feet have been effected and her legs are numb, she cannot feel sensation. PLEASE HELP HER. SHE NEEDS HELP RIGHT AWAY, perhap her nerves are shutting down.
Her condition made new headlines in September 2006, Janice St. James interviewed her regarding taking a pill lamacell, or something like that.

Willa Robinson 972-5722829

Thank You
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ID: 100125 Time/Date: 05:24:33 AM PST/ 01-16-2011
Name: John C
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Story: Took Zithromycin (ZPack) in July 2002.
Took Zithromycin (ZPack) in Oct 2002 and got TENS

Treated at the burn unit in the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, USA for 3 weeks. Started on Alrex drops, flax seed oil, and doxycycline

Treated by Dr. Scheffer Tseng in Miami, FL, USA around 2004 (to include surgical procedures).

Approximately 2005/2006 nearly lost right eye due to a corneal ulcer that nearly perforated. Doctor prescribed bandage contact lenses. I still wear them to this day.

Around this time the doctor also put me on Restasis. I proved to be sensitive to the vehicle that it used (the same vehicle as in Refresh Endura drops) - so I had cyclosporine compounded for me at Leiter's Pharmacy in San Francisco, CA, USA with a different vehicle.

I also use autologous blood serum eye drops (saline and blood serum mixed). I learned the procedure for making them from Dr. Tseng, but make them myself. I currently only use them when I'm experiencing severe eye issues.

I have had relatively few eye problems since I started wearing bandage contact lenses. This is against the advice of the doctors, but the healthy appearance of my corneas tends to support my use.

Currently my cornea specialist is weaning me from the steroid drops (due to a spike in my intraocular pressure) and has referred me for the Boston Scleral lens. Due to issues with the pressure spike and sensitivity to the anti-pressure drugs I have some serious vision problems that I hope will resolve in the near future.
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ID: 100124 Time/Date: 11:02:21 AM PST/ 01-11-2011
Name: F. Danback
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Story: On October 6, 2010 my 6 year old son woke up with mouth pain. His mouth appeared to be covered with small white blisters that were pervasive and covered his entire mouth and throat. He visited his pediatrician and was referred to the hospital emergency room. The ER doctor inspected him and based entirely on the mouth lesions she correctly diagnosed him with SJS/Erythema Multiforme Major. I asked her what to expect and she said that he should be admitted and we will have to track the progression of the illness and keep him well hydrated but that she never managed a case of SJS before. Of course by this point I already Googled SJS and my heart was pounding with great fear. (Sidebar: This is a major hospital in Westchester County, NY so it is important to understand that this hospital serves a geographic area that has many millions of potential patients). My son was admitted and was put on IV fluids. He started to develop target like lesions on his face and his lips became swollen. 1 day later the hospital discharged him and said he would be fine and to just check back in with his pediatrician. This was on a Thursday. Saturday Morning (2 days later) he woke up with severe swelling of his lips and eyes and lesions began to appear across his face and arms. It was at that point I made the decision that he needed to go to a hospital that understood SJS. I drove 40 miles from my home to Yale University Childrens Hospital. This was the smartest decision I could have possibly made and it is what I recommend to anyone suffering this illness - get the right expertise as early as possible). Over the next two weeks the illness got progressivley worse and my son was not able to ingest food orally. We needed to put him on a PICC line. The bad news was that the anesthesiology team would not put him under to do the procedure because they thought he might throw-up while under anesthesia and aspirate. My 6 year old son had to have the line installed without anesthesia. I nearly had a heart attack watching this but he was a tough little guy and did it. Finally he was on oral nutrition! I was thrilled. His eyes were sealed shut from the swelling and conjunctivitis, his mouth and lips were bleeding, new lesions were appearing daily and I just did not know when this was going to plateau or if it might even become TENS.... I spent 20 nights in the hospital with him by his side while no less than 20 doctors (it is a University Hospital) in teams broken down by area of expertise who each visited him daily. We had Dermatology for the skin, we had Infectious Diseases, we had Hematology, we had Opthamology and then we had the Attending hospitalists and their teams of interns.

The illness plateaued at about the 17th day and it appeared as though there were no more new lesions. Finally, I could sleep again. What happened next was not expected. All of the sudden my son started getting high fevers. The attending drew blood and confirmed that he had contracted methicillin-sensitive staphlyococcus aureas bacteremia. Staph infection. Worse yet, we think it was possible that a penicillin based antibiotic was the catalyst for the SJS so we had to fight it with the heavy-duty drug Vancomycin. 5 Days into Vanco treatment and the MSSA appeared to be under control - many bad nights of scary 103-104.1 fevers before we put this in check. For the next 6 weeks I had to administer Vancomycin using a home-use bubble into his PICC line. Mind you this was his second PICC that he received after the MSSA cleared up because we surmised the first PICC caused the MSSA. During an ultrasound check of the placing of the second PICC we got more bad news. Two blood clots, large blood clots. One was near his heart, at the end of the PICC line and another in his arm. The result? Lovenox injections twice a day for 6 months!! This poor little guy gets two shots a day (and he is handling it like a champ). He has been out of the hospital since just before Thanksgiving 2010 and he is strong again. No more MSSA, no more lesions, no more SJS and the blood clots are being treated with the Lovenox. He goes back for a three month exam in February. We are praying the clots are gone so we can take him off the blood thinner. This was a horrible experience for us but there were lots of lessons learned. 1. Avoid giving your kids medication if they do not absolutely need them. 2. If they do have symptoms you must be in charge of their healthcare. Doctors can be arrogant and dismissive. Take charge and push the envelope. Be respectful but also do not take what they say without being personally convinced they know what they are talking about. 3. Track down the expert and if you have to travel to get to the right hospital then do it, this is your family and you need to protect them! 4. Be careful of the doctor looking for a paper to be published. There was one doctor that suggested maybe going with IVIG but the research showed that this should be a last case treatment for this illness. The possible side effects are scary. We opted not to do this and it worked out ok. 5. Be strong but by all means get support from your friends and family. I cannot tell you how many nights I cried myself to sleep as I stroked his hair in the hospital bed just praying for him to get better. You need to get away from the hospital room and give yourself a mental break or you will break yourself and your family cannot have that happen, not now.

The story of my son is probably not unlike many stories here. This is the first time I am writing about it and I only wish I could help someone going through this illness to impart what I have learned along the way.

Good luck to you,
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ID: 100123 Time/Date: 09:33:57 AM PST/ 01-03-2011
Name: Belinda Palmer
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Story: Austin's Story
My 7 yr old son Austin was being treated for ADHD. We had tried several medications that just didn't work. His Dr. suggested we try Lamictal to control some of his issues. She told us the drug worked for a lot of kids with his problems. She also told us that SJS was a side effect. (Thank God) Being made aware of this saved my son's life. I knew that there was possible to develop SJS, but that it was a "small possibility". After taking the medication for 1 month, we saw great improvements in him. It was the only drug that had ever worked for him. We were thrilled. However, the Dr. said the dosage needed to be increased a little. So, that is what we did. Within 2 days of increasing the medication, Austin RAPIDLY developed bumps on the palms of his hands, his arms and chicken pox. His eyes began turning red. On the onset, I thought chicken pox, but he had already had the vaccine so it couldn't be that. Within 4 hours his eyes were swelling and the bumps had turned into horrible looking spots like burns. I immediately took him to the hospital as his Dr. warned me not to wait if I even thought it was SJS. Which I was sure it was. After hours in the ER, the Dr came in long enough to let me tell him I thought it was SJS and for him to tell me to get a grip on myself and take my kid home and give him an oatmeal bath, eyedrops and the LAMICTAL. I was dismissed as an over protective mother who's child had chicken pox and pink eye. I left the hospital very frustrated and scared. By the next morning, my son looked terrible. The spots were getting worse. He didn't want to open his eyes, eat, drink or even talk. Just lay still to keep the pain down. I called the pediatrician and took him in. Again, I was told pink eye and chicken pox. I brought up the SJS and was told this was not SJS. "Take him home and give him meds.
Being his mom, I knew this was wrong. I did not give him the lamictal. I did give him the eyedrops. By the following day, he looked terrible. I was taking him back to the pediatrician even if they didn't want to see him. On the way, the inside of his mouth began to swell like he had a jaw breaker in his jaw. I knew this was the start of the end. I pulled into the nearest ER, told them my son had SJS and I wasn't leaving until somebody helped him. I knew what he had, was anybody going to listen. This time, I found a nurse who had seen SJS. She pulled me to the side and told me that no matter what they said, to keep my child in the hospital or he would die. She was the only person who had ever seen SJS that I had come in contact with and she was telling me my son may die. Thank God again. Somebody knew and listened this time. The Dr. had no idea, but he knew who did. He called Arnold Palmer Childrens Hospital to get their input. Another Thank God moment. Arnold Palmer sent their people to transport my son to Orlando. For the next 2 weeks we lived in ICU. IV's, feeding tubes and cathaters. It was the worst and best days of my life. He was alive and getting the best care possible. Then he was moved into a regular room. Because of his emotional issues, he wouldn't let anyone to touch him. The wonderful dr's and nurses taught me how to care for him. Each morning, when he would wake his eyes and mouth would be fused together. I would spend my mornings removing the dead burned skin while he bravely layed there crying behind eyes he was unable to open, lips he couldn't move. He was a trooper.
Finally, healing began and he could eat. However, he wouldn't. He was so afraid of the pain. The feeding tube would remain until he would eat on his own. Nothing enticed him. Finally, he ate his entire lunch. That was when we could go home. For the next year, my son was homebound. Mostly due to the trama it caused him emotionally. He tried to return to school. It was devastating. Kids were mean, teachers were not kind to his emotional state. His Dr. said it would be better for him to be taught at home until he could physically and emotionally heal.
Today, he is a healthy 11 year old. We see some signs of the SJS. He has the scars, there is light sensativity, and frequent nose bleeds and a little dry eyes. But, he is here. Thank God, and a select group of nurses and doctors. And a mothers intuition.

Just to let you know, I contacted that ER Dr. who treated me so badly. At first he didn't want to talk to me. So, I told him he had a choice, he could discuss it with me, or my lawyers. (I had no lawyers.) I reminded him of how he treated me then told him the story. I don't think he will ever again treat a mother the way he treated me. Nor do I think he will ever forget SJS.
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ID: 100122 Time/Date: 05:38:39 AM PST/ 01-02-2010
Name: Mervin Waldapfel
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Story: Hi there , my story happened in 1979 i was 18 at the time , roughly around january time . at first i thought i was getting a cold or flu so i bought an "over the counter " medicine ( Contac 400 ) , at first i felt better then the next day i felt rough again so i took another in the morning , by the time it got to around 4pm ish i felt Really Bad , my grandmother took one look at me ( i was staying there for the weekend ) called my mother and rushed me to the doc's in town i remember seeing him very soon after getting there , and him calling his partner in to see me , very soon after that i was in hospital , now this is where memory starts to get very hazy, i Do remember feeling Awful and that there was thousands of ants crawling around under my skin !!! It was painful for me to breathe let alone swallow anything . i had fluid filled blisters all over my body, about the size of a fifty pence coin, Fortunately i was never allowed to see what/ how i looked ,i was starting to get dehydrated so i was on an IV drip for a while , also i remember the nurses putting ointment on me ,which was a whitish colour then it was changed to a different one which was a dark brown colour and smelled awful ( a bit like coal tar ) this went on for what seemed weeks but i am not sure , i do remember it was extremely painful ,after a while the medical staff were concered about my ability to swallow , so i was required to drink water in great quantities ( i hate water ) so i was given a drink of eggs, vanilla flavouring and milk, which helped somewhat. I started to get better after around week 4 of my stay in hospital and was told that as long as i continued to improve i could be released , after 8 weeks i was released and continued to improve to full health .
i have since learned after talking to my mum about the incident that she had been told that i was very close to dying from the SJS and that it had been "touch and go" for several days and that she was told to expect the worse ( poor mum though she never told me ) i contiued to improve and i find myself incredibly fortunate that i have not had a repeat episode or that i have been affected in anway at all, i learned years later that i had the classic symptoms of SJS ( conjunctivitis , urethra-itis, ulcers and swelling of all the mucus membranes throughout my body(lungs ,digestive tract,mouth and nasal passages)blisters that caused scarring that lasted for years , but have now faded , as i say some of the events have got a bit confused due to how i felt at the time and also time has done it bit aswell (30 years ago ), i hope some of you find relief and hope in my story as i was returned to life untouched by SJS but for a bit of minor scarring of my skin ,.
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