GALVESTON, Texas - A 30-year-old mother says she is lucky to be alive.
Last Saturday, Michelle O'Brien cut her left foot on an old oyster bed while walking in Galveston Bay. She was wearing hiking boots when she slipped and cut herself. Doctors say she was diagnosed with Vibrio Vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria.
"We had just arrived in Galveston early that morning. As tradition would have it, we went to go collect sea glass along the shore. When my foot slipped, it cut through the top of my shoe and my foot went into the water and I realized quickly it was a deep gash. That oyster was like a razor blade, like a surgeon's scalpel, it went straight through," said O'Brien.
O'Brien got stitches but hours later, she also had a severe headache.
"Blinding pain, followed by, it was a complete head to toe systemic, over-whelming agonizing pain, kind of like you're on fire from within. As soon as I got into St. David's , they hooked me up to some monitors and they realized that my blood pressure was dangerously low. I started going in and out of it," said O'Brien.
The mother of two spent a week in ICU. She is slowly starting to feel back to normal, but just lucky she survived.
"I feel like I won the lottery, I walked out of this like a cat that has used one of their lives, for sure," said O'Brien.
Doctors say this bacteria is found in warm water, especially in the Gulf states. They also say you can get this infection by eating raw seafood that is contaminated.