Nikki Belza spent $24,000 on breast implants to increase her chest size from a 32A to a 32DDD. Afterward, she accidentally ripped out a nipple ring from her freshly pierced left breast.

Months later, she contracted her husband’s streptococcal throat infection.

“My husband had had a sore throat, and he passed the infection on to me. Because of my recently infected nipple, I was more prone to infection, and my breast tissue became damaged,” Nikki told Caters News. “I woke up on my birthday with some tenderness under my left arm, and when I got to work the pain became excruciating — I have never felt anything like it.”

The 33-year-old from Las Vegas thought she was at her life’s end. The strep infection quickly turned into sepsis of the blood. Fortunately, doctors were able to save her.

“I genuinely thought I was going to die, and I knew having my breast removed was the only way to save my life. But when I woke up after the operation, I couldn’t look down at my chest,” she said.

However, Nikki has been able to see her situation with a bit of humor.

“Not long after my op, my coworker made me a ‘farewell boob cake.’ Even though I was really upset, I was able to see the funny side,” she said.

Nikki has been recovering for the past nine weeks and hopes to have a new implant within six months.

“Doctors reassured me that having breast implants was not related to contracting sepsis, but it’s so important to know that sepsis can occur from any untreated infection,” she says.

Nikki has come forward to warn others about the signs of sepsis.

“In its early stages, sepsis can look like a bad case of the flu. Symptoms might initially include a very sore throat, achy muscles and fatigue,” said Dr Ron Daniels BEM, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust.

“Anyone with flu-like symptoms and one or more of the key signs of sepsis must present to health care immediately, either by calling an ambulance or going to an emergency department. With every hour that passes before the right antibiotics are administered, risk of death increases,” he added.

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Photo credit: Little Things