How 54 Leeches Saved my Finger and the Lessons I've Learned

Last Update: Jul 9, 2018

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I've not been around for a bit. Some say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time but I believe quite the opposite, that I was in the right place at the right time.

A few weeks ago, I sat down on a folding chair to have dinner with friends at home. It was a chair I had sat on countless times before. But this night was not about to be like any other.

Without warning, the chair collapsed beneath me, trapping my hand in the folding mechanism, partially amputating my right ring finger. There was lots of blood and it wasn’t pretty which together with the shock, is probably why I passed out. Truth be told I used to be squeamish about a lot of things which after this experience I no longer am.

The attending surgeon at the Sydney Eye and Hand hospital confirmed I needed immediate emergency surgery. He had no idea if he could save the finger because of the extent of the trauma. If they could ‘put it all together’ again they would, otherwise I would have to lose part of my finger.

Thankfully they decided to take a chance and save it, even though they believed there was only a 50-50 chance it would make it. At the same time they discovered I had also fractured three fingers, one of which was the cut finger.




The 48 hours post-surgery was critical. They had no idea whether the badly damaged veins in my finger would be able to repair enough to do the job required. There was also the possibility of infection, rejection and blood clots. The waiting was tough and stressful but I’m inherently optimistic, always choosing to believe in the best outcome possible.

Then came the bad news.

The blood was getting to the tip of the finger, but it was not draining away well enough. Unless they could relieve the finger of excess blood, it would not survive.

That’s when the medical team approached me about leech therapy. As if the whole experience hadn’t been surreal enough, now they wanted to attach blood-hungry leeches to my finger?

Yes! I had heard right.

Leeches, if you don't know, are blood sucking parasites that look like worms, found all over the world. The ones they would use are bred specifically for medical purposes. They would help drain the blood away, and give the veins in my finger a chance to get stronger to do the job on their own.

I have to admit, the idea did not fill me with glee, mostly because I was being challenged to move out of my comfort zone, in a way that was very unexpected.

Left alone to consider my options and make a decision, I knew I had to focus as clearly as I could on what I needed to do.

That's when I remembered something I'd read in a book not long ago. The idea is that you ask and answer the following focusing question to help you know the ONE THING you need to do next.



In an instant, I had my answer. Of course, I would opt for the leech therapy. It was the one thing I could do, to make the job of circulating blood in my finger easier, and should it work, make amputating my finger unnecessary.




Over the next eight days and nights my finger hosted 54 leeches in total. Some only fed for an hour before dropping off, others hung on for as long as four hours!

First, they were attached continuously, but towards the end, the time between attachments was lengthened to give my repairing veins a chance to step in and do the work on their own.

Some leeches were like disobedient kids, simply refusing to feed, while others did so eagerly, increasing to quite staggering sizes.




Nine days later I was discharged from hospital. The leeches had saved my finger!

I wouldn't be completely 'out of the woods' for another ten days at least, which meant I'd have to report daily for examinations, dressing changes and so on. I was just ecstatic to be leaving with all ten fingers.




It's been a month to the day, since the incident happened and I'm pleased to report that everything is still good and the finger is on track towards making a full recovery.

The healing process is not something that can be rushed and there's no knowing exactly when I'll be able to use my hand and finger as I remember, but that's fine, I'm on my way.

Who would've thought that a traumatic injury to one of the smallest parts of my body would impact so majorly on my life, but it has. Nothing is the same as it was before.

Of course, I've had plenty of time to reflect and lessons to learn:

  • I never knew that Sydney even had a specialized hand hospital, or that leeches were used in this day and age for medical purposes. I'm truly grateful for both, and for the wonderful care I received and continue to receive from hospital staff.
  • Things I was once squeamish about like blood, needles, hospitals,yes and leeches, no longer concern me. In fact I admire and respect leeches enormously. Did you know that when they attach themselves to your skin they release a natural anesthetic so you don't feel their teeth? They also release a natural blood thinner, so your blood doesn't clot preventing them from feeding. In my opinion those are pretty darn smart survival qualities to have.




  • You never know what you take for granted until it's taken away. I will remember how necessary and precious my hands are, and I will be thankful for them each and every day for the rest of my life.
  • When an event like this happens, it disrupts your life in a big way. There's a lot I have to do differently now and much I can't do it all, like tie my shoes, do up buttons, and unscrew lids. I'm thankful to still have the full use of my left hand and it's amazing how creative you can be when you're put to the test. :)
  • On the upside, I've many wonderful people in my life who can and do help me. This experience has been a powerful reminder about how important our family and friends are. I'm very grateful for mine.
  • I can't type with both hands which is a bit of a problem since everything I do for my job and online business relies on this. I've used Dragon voice recognition software for a few years but if you've ever used it yourself, you'll know is not perfect, which is why I've never used it exclusively. Until now. I'm extremely thankful for having it, otherwise there would be no typing and no post here telling my tale.




  • I believe everything happens for a reason, which is why I don't use the word "accident" in relation to events such as this. Things like this often happen to stop us in our tracks and then to move us forward, if we're open to making sense of the experience. It's called "growth" and most times it's not pleasant in the short-term. I'm grateful for all growth experiences in my life.
  • Before injuring my hand, I had been far too busy and extremely stressed. I had been putting myself under too much pressure, attempting to give equal importance to everything. This has always been a challenge for me. I desperately needed to slow down but in truth I didn't know how. I believe I was slowed right down so I could consider what's most important in my life, and learn how to do things differently. For this I regard myself as truly blessed.
  • My business goals, including keeping up with Kyle's Super Affiliate training tasks has taken a big hit. I'm way behind where I want to be. I accept this and I'm fine with it. Rather than hamper me, I believe what I've experienced will do quite the opposite, by moving me to the next level of success. For this I am most grateful.




  • Earlier in this post I mentioned a book I'd read. While in hospital, I not only reread it, but I studied it, word for word. This book is, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I believe the profound and simple message in this book is exactly what I needed at this time. It has changed my outlook and approach to absolutely everything in my life. I can highly recommend it, especially if you feel as if you're on an out control treadmill. You may learn, as I did, that a lot of what you have been led to believe about being productive, is pure lies.

So as a result of the experience I've had, what's the one thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

You may be thinking, that my one thing would be to never sit on a folding chair ever again. Well I did throw all the remaining chairs into the trash but that was simply a reactive move and not my one thing. :)

No, the one thing I can do is accept that I'll never get rid of life's "folding chairs". There will always be another. We need them, to help us grow. In fact, they'll especially come your way when you take on a new venture, like an online business.

When you accept these as part and parcel of the journey,it's easier to embrace them and learn from them. And that makes behaving in any other way, unnecessary.

Lastly, thank you to those of you who have sent me messages, wondering what had happened to me. Now you know. I very much appreciate your concern and follow up.

So I'm back, still journeying although doing things very differently. From now on I'll be focusing on what's most important only and I'll be expecting results that are nothing short of extraordinary.

As we move into the second half of 2018, may you also achieve the one thing that's most important to you.


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Recent Comments

237

Wow...I to went through something traumatic and the thing that stuck out the most in your blog was when you said:

" I believe everything happens for a reason, which is why I don't use the word "accident" in relation to events such as this. Things like this often happen to stop us in our tracks and then to move us forward, if we're open to making sense of the experience. It's called "growth" and most times it's not pleasant in the short-term. I'm grateful for all growth experiences in my life."

This statement alone reached out and did something to me to me out of all you said (like I really needed to read it ). I've grown so much as a person and spiritually within this last almost year. Yea I can't lie I got sidetracked from my online cause I went into severe depression, but I've since regrouped and my comeback is gone be one to remember.

Life does have a way of slowing us down when we're moving to fast or need a LIFE REALITY check.

Thanks for sharing

Hello Linzy,

Great to have you stop by and leave a comment. Thank you as well for highlighting that specific piece from the post. I really do believe every word I wrote there, and I'm pleased that it spoke to you too.

Wonderful to hear that you too are learning and growing as you go Linzy. Learning is not always easy or pleasant, but that's why if you can stick with it and come out the other side, it's so worthwhile.

Wishing you everything of the best!

~Mark

What a great way to look at this unfortunate situation, and transfer it into a fortunated one Mark. I wish your hand will recover soon

Hi Loes, thank you so much for the good wishes for recovery. I'm confident my hand will continue to do well. I'm really pleased to be back here. I've missed you all.

~Mark

Glad to see you back too Mark

What a very powerful story, which made wince like hell ( I am squeamish), but also very pleased that a solution was found.

Hi Dave

I know all about squeamish, believe me, but I seem to have conquered some of that of late. :) Thanks for leaving a comment.

~Mark

Welcome back! I'm glad you are healing nicely and that you are using your experience as a new lesson you needed to learn from.I also got injured last year in December. It was a very difficult experience for me as well. It made me realized I should relax and be thankful when everything is ok. It also made me think of my mortality as I could of hit my head and never gotten up. Thank you for this inspiring blog!

Francesca

Hi Francesca

Thank you for the lovely welcome back, for reading my story, and leaving a comment. It sounds like you know very well what I have been through.

When we go through experiences like this we definitely become stronger and more prepared for what's next. :)

~Mark

Hi Mark!

No problem it was my pleasure. :) Yes definitely Mark way prepared and stronger. It's event like these that makes us realize how strong we truly can be if need be. Everything happens for a reason.

Francesca

Wow! That is an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing!!

Hello Stacie, and thank you for reading it and leaving a comment!

~Mark

WOW! Mark! That is some story! I am glad you learned from it and it has helped slow you down and changed your life. I can totally relate. I was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer over 3 years ago, and I experienced a lot of the same things you experienced. I was way too stressed and constantly in turmoil. All of that came to a screeching halt! Incidents like this do change us, our lives, our perspective and hopefully we learn from them.

It sounds like you have had a lot of time to reflect. I am glad your finger was saved and you will succeed at this! Look what you have been through! Take Care.

Hello Connie

Thank you so much for reading my story and leaving a comment. I have no doubt that what you experienced with your diagnosis was totally life-changing. Something like that definitely jolts things into perspective instantly.

So wonderful to hear that you are a survivor and going from strength to strength! These experiences come to help us even though at first it may not seem that way.

Thank you so much for your inspirational comment Connie. :)

~Mark

i wish this idea was brought up when my dads hand got sucked into a hydraulic wheel press they amputated 2 fingers and repair the other 3 and the hand. glad it worked out for you mark

Hey Justin, Wow that sounds like it would've been an extremely painful and traumatic experience for your dad. I'm sure it was a life altering experience for him and hearing about it only makes me even more thankful. Thank you for sharing that.

~Mark

yea the damage done basically made him lose all function in that hand. its still alive like feeling wise but he can't move it and its been this way a lil over a year.

Woah... leeches sounds like from the dark ages but glad it saved your finger Mark. I had no idea life had turned to such dramatic events when you're quiet round the WA community. Delighted to hear your upbeat, positive mindset has not been shaken. Welcome back!

Thank you Fleur! It's great to be back, a bit slower when it comes to typing, but definitely not beat. :)

WOW - sorry to hear but you seem to have "handled" this magnificently.
Breeding Leeches could be your next niche ...

Ha ha, thank you Lawrence. You know, you're not the first one who has suggested that as a niche. :)

Hi guys
I’m new to WA. Still in training. I have not yet set up business how will this work?

follow the steps in training, as long as you are dedicated you will be successful. these businesses work with affiliate marketing basically you advertise major companies products and are paid commissions when people buy from your site.

hope this helps and motivates you

if you type into the search bar success story you can read a lot of other peoples success

Perfectly said Justin! :)

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