HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A 19-year-old Huntington Beach woman lost all her limbs to bacterial meningitis earlier this year, but she won’t let that stop her from pursuing her dreams.
On Feb. 12, Kaitlyn Dobrow, a healthy teen with plans to travel to New York and become a chef, became so sick her parents rushed her to the emergency room.
They soon learned bacterial meningitis had taken over her body.
“I was in so much pain, I don’t remember the pain,” Dobrow said.
In the hospital for more than five months, she only remembers a few things.
“Them telling me they’re going to cut off my hands, they’re going to cut off my legs,” Dobrow said.
Her best friend, Kristen Kidd, never left her side at the hospital.
“She was just crying and weeping. This is the last time she can hold my hand,” Dobrow said.
“Kaitlyn is not mad at God, but I went through a phase where I was mad enough for the both of us,” Kidd said.
Dobrow’s mother, Kathi, said she was living her worst nightmare.
“I used to beg God, ‘Please don’t let anything happen to my kids.’ Sometimes I see pictures of her before she got sick. My thoughts are, ‘I’m so sorry, baby.’ I can’t say this,” she cried.
Dobrow doesn’t feel sorry for herself, though.
“Being sad is a waste of someone’s time because you only have so little life. Like, you think, ‘Oh, I’m 18. I have the rest of my life. I can do whatever I want. I’ll do whatever I want.’ And you really don’t know,” she said.
Dobrow told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler that she still has big dreams.
“I wanted to be a chef. And now I kinda want to be the bionic chef where you can just pull the chicken out of the oven with no mitts on. Like, don’t try this at home,” she laughed.
Dobrow said she just needs expensive waterproof prosthetic legs and mechanical hands so she can be independent.
Kathi, who had to quit her full-time job to care for her daughter, said insurance won’t cover their medical expenses.
Donations, however, are already pouring in.
Feb. 12 may have changed Dobrow’s life, but it didn’t break her spirit.
“I could have died. Instead, I’m scratched up a lot, but I’m alive,” she said.