By Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WCCO/CNN) - A Minnesota woman survived a life-threatening battle with kidney stones, but lost her limbs in the process.
It's a rare occurrence, but a very terrifying one to be sure.
"I thought, 'My gosh, what is wrong with me?'" said Sue Johnson.
It was a February day that would change every one that's followed for sue, a woman known for her big personality, her sense of humor, and her love of family.
She got out of bed that morning thinking she had the flu, and called her sister.
"I said Kay, 'I can't feel my hands,'" said Sue. "I can't even open up my water bottle."
Her sister called 911. Doctors said without making the decision to call an ambulance, Sue would have been dead within an hour.
"I remember him looking down at me and saying you are very, very sick and I had no idea what was happening," said Sue.
For 10 days, sue lay in a coma at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. She had no idea but a kidney stone had blocked the tubes that carry fluid to her kidneys, so sue went into septic shock and her organs started to shut down.
Then, a very rare infection called disseminated intravascular co-agulation blocked the blood flow to her arms and legs. Her medical team told her it was too late to save them.
"So, that was the beginning," said Sue.
After two months in the hospital, she spent another three in rehab learning how to use her new prosthetic limbs.
"She was dancing, physically dancing on her way out the door, smiling," said Dr. Scott Crowe with Fairview Acute Rehab Center. "That's not how she came in."
Dr. Crowe believes Sue's strong will has helped her make it this far. And, as for why this even happened at all, he says in her case just too many things went wrong too fast.
"By far the vast majority of people having the flu or people who even have kidney stones are not going to have this kind of a thing," he said.
"Gosh probably five weeks ago I couldn't stand up out of my wheelchair," said Sue.
But, Sue refuses to believe she can't push through, giving credit to her family and friends for their support. She's heard from more than 8,000 people alone on her CaringBridge site.
After the constant reminder from doctors that most in her shoes, don't make it this far, sue is sure there's a reason she did.
"He must have more plans for me. I don't know," she said.
Sue celebrates her 60th birthday on Saturday. There's a big party and fundraiser for her next month.