Student Overcomes Bacterial Meningitis

By Todd Strain
|  Monday, Dec 9, 2013  |  Updated 5:14 PM PDT
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For many meningitis is a deadly virus, for others a little more fortunate it's a life altering virus. One East County man took drastic measures to survive meningitis, now he's living  a whole new way. NBC 7's Todd Strain has the story.

For many meningitis is a deadly virus, for others a little more fortunate it's a life altering virus. One East County man took drastic measures to survive meningitis, now he's living a whole new way. NBC 7's Todd Strain has the story.

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In the span of just a few days, Spring Valley resident Jonathan DeGuzman went from being happy and healthy to fighting for his life. Deguzman won the fight to survive, but that fight cost him things most people take for granted.

In May of 2005, then-23-year-old DeGuzman was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis after days of flu-like symptoms. His condition quickly deteriorated. Doctors told DeGuzman’s parents to prepare for the worst.

"I was in a coma for 12 days," he said. "They started planning my funeral arrangements already."

On the 13th day came a miracle when Jonathan woke up. But the bacterial meningitis had spread and his life was at risk. A drastic medical procedure was needed.

"They amputated all ten of my fingers and both of my feet," he said.

The meningitis was gone, but so were DeGuzman’s hands and feet.

"I was frightened at beginning but I was able to say this is my reality and I have to make it work for me," he said.

He went through months of rehab and basically relearned how to live, teaching himself new ways to do basic human functions like picking things up and drinking.

"It’s just basically adapting to my new environment using what I have now," he said.

Now he's a meningitis survivor success story. DeGuzman lives indepently, and does other things like driving and jogging. He's a grad student at SDSU and works with disabled kids at the educational culture complex.

He says the key to his recovery was personal patience and support from family and friends.

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