TULSA, Okla. — Stephanie Porter of Tulsa is a single mother of three young boys. The sister of one of 2 News Oklahoma's own is clawing her way back after a fight for her life with COVID.
"It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever been through in my life," Porter said. "It was really scary just not being able to breathe."
Porter turned a positive COVID test on August 5 and spent the next couple days isolated in her room. Soon enough, a mild cough turned into suffocating breaths.
"Finally it got to the point where I was just laying in bed and had to call 9-1-1 and get the ambulance here because I was struggling just to take any kind of breath at all.”
She was admitted to the COVID unit at Saint Francis Hospital away from her boys Jayden, Jaxon, and Jase.
"Being away from my children was by far the hardest of all of this," she said. "All you can think about is life and coming home and me coming back to my three boys to raise them."
Thankfully, Porter's breathing improved enough after six days, and she was released from the hospital. However, the battle back from the virus is just beginning.
She uses a breathing apparatus to retrain her lungs to hold air and checks her blood oxygen level five times per day.
"All that goes through your mind is that you wish you would’ve gotten it and it’s too late now," Porter said.
Porter passed on the COVID vaccine, she said, because of what happened to her oldest son, Jayden, after getting a flu vaccine.
A rare condition hospitalized him twice and doctors were unsure if he would ever walk again.
"He was literally paralyzed from the waist down," Porter said. "A 9 or 10-year-old boy not being able to stand is just heartbreaking, especially when it’s your son and you don’t know why or what’s going on.”
Now, Jayden is back to being his 11-year-old self with hopes of one day playing in the NBA. His mother hopes Oklahomans learn from her traumatic experience and get vaccinated while they still have the chance.
"Nothing is worth risking your life over," Porter said.
Porter said she accrued tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses during her hospital pay and medication prescriptions in recovery. A fundraiser is available to help Porter and her family get back on their feet.
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