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Third American With Ebola Returning to U.S.

A Survivor Breaks Her Silence

Shortly before SIM released details of Sacra’s condition, Nancy Writebol, a missionary with SIM, spoke to reporters for the first time, describing her own “dark days” with Ebola. Writebol was brought back to the United States for treatment in August and has since recovered.

“When we got to the airport, I really was very, very sick, and pretty much in and out of it. The only way they could get me on the airplane was to put me on the baggage conveyor belt,” she said, laughing. “I could feel the movement of what was happening.”

As she waited to board the specially equipped aircraft that would carry her home, Writebol said she recalled thinking, "I don’t even know if I’m going to make it back to the U.S."

Once at Emory University Hospital, in Atlanta, doctors told her that because of lingering pain she was feeling in her legs and feet, she might need special treatment in a rehabilitation hospital after she was released from isolation.

“They didn’t know if I was going to be able to walk,” she said.

But one day, Writebol said, she was determined to take a shower and started to climb off the bed to get to the bathroom. Nurses on duty stopped her and helped her.

“Oh, that shower was wonderful,” she said.  Each day after that, her legs got stronger.

Writebol said she is often asked what she believes saved her -- whether it was returning to the U.S. for treatment, an experimental medication, her deep faith, or the supportive care she received from doctors in Liberia.

“My answer to that question is all of the above,” she said.

“God uses means. God uses doctors, and I can tell you again, amazing doctors. God uses experimental drugs. We don’t know whether the ZMapp helped. We don’t know. We don’t know if it was the supportive care. The supportive care was very, very necessary,” she said.

“All of those things played a part in saving our lives.”

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