Friday, March 4, 2011

From the University of Colorado Burn Center to Ironman Training

In August 2007, I was admitted into the University of Colorado Hospital Burn Center with Stevens Johnson Syndrome from an allergic reaction to a still unknown allergen.  My case was severe enough to be labeled Toxic Epidermis Necrolysis, with more than 60% of my body covered in an extreme rash.  The doctors at the burn unit placed me in an induced coma for ten days while they monitored the sloughing of much of my skin.  I also had three amniotic membrane surgeries to help my eyes heal through this difficult process.

Four years later, my husband, Dave, and I are planning on completing the Coeur D'Alene (Idaho) Ironman June 26th.  An Ironman entails swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles.  We started a seven month training program in November 2010 and are currently about half way toward our goal.  In this blog, I will keep an update of our training progress, while also reflecting on my experiences with SJS.

Throughout this process, I hope to raise both awareness of SJS and money for the Burn Center.  If you would like to donate to the Burn Fund at the University of Colorado, you can do so by mailing a check or going online.

Mail your check to "UCHF- Burn Fund (Team Emilie)" to UCHF 12401 E 17th Ave. Mail Stop F485 Aurora, CO 80045

Or go online to  In the Designation field choose "Other" and type "Burn Fund (Team Emilie)".

Here are a few pictures from the past few years so you can get to know me a little better:


  1. Very cool Emilie! I am proud of you.

  2. Emillie,
    This sounds great. Your strength will
    help others achieve their goals.
    Auntie Marilyn

  3. Emilie
    You are such an inspiration!

  4. Emilie! I'm so happy that i found your blog. Your story is such an inspiration.
    My cousin Catalina was diagnosed with SJS last week, she's in Atlanta, and on monday she was put in an induced coma. This has been extremely painful for all of us, but founding your blog has been a ray of light and hope. I'm going to share it with my family and all my cousin's friends.

    Thanks! Love <3


  5. Evelyn,

    I am so sorry to hear that. I will be thinking about Catalina. Hang in there and please let me know how things are going. There are many support groups out there, so just contact me if you have any questions. Although it seems very rare, there are many of us that can relate to what you (and Catalina) are going through and can share our experiences.

    Take care,


  6. Thanks Emilie! I'll keep you posted!
    Good luck with the Ironman! You are soooo brave :)

  7. Emilie,
    I just saw your story tonight on the news and was so touched, I had to write to introduce myself. My name is Susan Geffre. My husband is an accomplished Ironman and has always been an inspiration to me. It was not until this year though that I decided to challenge myself with an entry to Ironman Cozumel in November (a day after I turn forty!) Long story short, I was in a serious bike accident while training (on May 22nd) severing my femoral head and breaking my ulna. After two surgeries and a week in the hospital, I was sent home to come to terms with the fact that my dream of becoming an Ironman was shattered. Every Sat/Sun since, instead of my traditional long ride/long run routine, I have had cry sessions with myself. But as I write to you now, I am approaching one month post op... and because of you and your journey, I have a renewed spirit. I meet with my surgeon on Tuesday and my coach on Wednesday... and instead of bringing a deflated Susan, I shall meet them both with hope. I wish you all the best at IM CDA, Emilie. You can bet I will be keeping an eye on you all day (via live web results) and dreaming, once again, of the day I too cross the finish line as an "IRONMAN"!!

  8. Susan,
    Recovery is a long journey. Listen to your body... and to your doctors. Allow yourself time to heal properly. But when you're ready (and you will be), go out there any kick some Ironman butt. It sounds like you husband knows the ropes pretty well, but I am here for you if you need me.