A new Leish on life

A new Leish on life Marc and Audrey Leishman with their two boys. “I do know how lucky I am,” Audrey says.
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Harvey and Ollie in a picture that was taken in the week before Audrey fell ill.

Audrey was so swollen she was unrecognisable. Her illness had inspired the Leishmans to create their own charity foundation.

Marc Leishman has had his share of ups and downs this year.

TweetFacebookFrom being told your wife has a five per cent chance of survival to golf course success, 2015 will no doubt be memorable for Marc Leishman. KATRINA LOVELL reports on his year of turmoil and triumph.

When Marc Leishman talks about having to say goodbye to his wife before she was placed in a coma, it’s clear that emotions are still raw.

“It’s something you don’t expect to have to do when you’re 31 with two young kids, say goodbye to your wife,” he said.

In March, Audreywas hospitalised with respiratory distress syndrome and toxic shock syndrome.

“It was seven or eight months ago but you still get pretty emotional talking about it,” he said.

Audrey had become unwell with flu-like symptoms.Bylunchtime the next day,Audrey’s nose had started to bleed.

“That’swhen I got scared, finally really got scared. But I still didn’t want to go to the doctor,” she said.

Her best friendinsisted she get medical help.

“I’m very lucky that she had because the doctors did say that there was a good chance that I may not have survived the night if I hadn’t gone,” she said.

Marccut short his golf trip and flew home. That night her lungsstarted to fill with fluid.

“Her heart was shutting down, her liver, her kidneys, her bowel, everything was shutting down. We basically got told she was done,” he said.

Marc recalled how she was so ill she would fall asleep mid-sentence because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen.

“I remember being able to feel the crackle in my chest and being able to hear it. I remember being only able to say one word at a time. I was panicked. I’ve never been so scared in my life,” Audrey said.

“I kept fighting them on the intubation because I really wanted to talk to my boys one more time. I kept trying to hold off until they would wake up and I could talk to them but they didn’t give me that option, thankfully now looking back on it.”

Audrey doesn’t remember anything from the coma. She doesn’t remember using the notes app on her iPhone to communicate while she was intubated.

“The first note I saw on my phone was asking the doctors whether I’d be able to have kids again,” she said.“The second note was telling Marc to go take the boys to the Easter bunny.”

The first few days were touch and go.

“The first three days she was in a coma, they thought she was never going to wake up and then they had to turn her on to her stomach to try and drain the fluid,” Marc said.

“Normally when they have to do that they have to paralyse you to do it. They wouldhave done it earlier except if they had have flipped her when they wanted to flip her she wouldn’t have survived the flip.

“They had to do it right then or she was going to die.She was face down for 24 hours, then they flipped her back and she started to improve then.”

When Audrey was taken out of her coma, Marc was told she would wake up within hours.

“Then a day went past and she didn’t wake up, and then another day went past and we’re like:‘I don’t know, she’s brain dead or whatever’.

“When she first woke up, she couldn’t lift her phone, she couldn’t talk. She wasn’t strong enough to do any of that. That was hard to see.”

Marc said it initiallytook doctors a while to work out what was going on.

“There was so much going wrong. Everything was shutting down. Her heart, her blood pressure was 90/30 for about two days.

“I didn’t eat or sleep for a week. Everytime you’d try and eat you’d just throw it up. It’s just gutwrenching to have to see what was happening. And then having to look after the two boys as well.”

The ordeal left Audrey so weak she had to initially use a walking frame and it was weeks before she was able to lift her children to give them a cuddle.

“When you’re in a coma, every day you’re on the breathing machine is like lying motionless for two weeks and she was on it for seven days I think. So she woke up and her muscles basically turned into a newborn baby’s muscles.”

After 10 days in hospital, she was allowed to go home. But she was forced to return to hospital a few days later.

At first they thought she had life-threatening blood clots on her lungs, but it turned out to be pleurisy.

“It meant every single breath she took was excruciatingly painful,” Marc said.

The golfing fraternity rallied around Marc with tour wives delivering meals.

“Guys were coming up and they’d have tears in their eyes or tears rolling down their face just saying how much they were thinking of us and praying for us and all that.It really meant a lot,” he said.

Audrey said thathavingan IUD removedmay have caused trauma which created a gateway forbacteria from a tampon which led to toxic shock syndrome.

The experience has inspiredher to create a blogcalledpsdontusetampons老域名出售to raise awareness of the symptoms of toxic shock.

The ordeal has also inspired the couple to create the Begin Again Foundation.

“I’ve always had a heart for charity and giving back. All my jobs when I worked were in service to others. I used to work with mentally ill adults and developmentally disabled adults,” she said.

“When Marc got selected for the Presidents Cup we knew that we would be given a lot of charity money… if there was ever a time to start a foundation, I think this was it.”

The main focus of the charity is to help peoplewith medical bills.

The foundation also providebackpacks of food to 50 schoolchildren so they don’t go hungry on weekends.

The foundation will help charities that supportpeople with a disability, as well as junior golfers.

“That part is really important to Marc and special to his heart because of how much local support he received in Warrnambool growing up. He has said it many times he would not be where he is if people had not helped him pay for gas or hotels or pitched in for his flights,” Audrey said.

The foundation plans to hold charity golf days in the US and Australia to help raise funds.

The road to recovery is a long one. Doctors say it will be two years before they know if Audrey will make a full recovery.

“She has good days and if she overdoesit she can’t get out of bed for two days,” Marc said.

They have hired a nanny to help Audrey look after their boys while Marc is away, which can be up to 35 weeks a year.Audrey’s illness has meant his family can’t travel with him.

“I try not to be away for more than two weeks.”

Since October 3, Marc has spent more than 120 hours flying around the world, and that’s not counting the 50 or so hours waiting in airports.

It’s a long way from his humble beginnings in Warrnambool where he won his first club championship at 13.

Heturned pro at 21 and has been on the Australian tour since 2005 and the US PGA tour for eight years.

This year had been his most successful on the golf course, coming second at the British Open and winning the $1.25m Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

The Standard

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