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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy 21st Birthday!

Happy 21st birthday little brother!
I hope you celebrated big in Heaven today! Kristiana was blowing you kisses while we were at your grave site. Cruz said he remembers wrestling with you and I told him so do I. Except I remember getting mad at you for getting the boys all hyped up. Kristiana yells at me "MOM do not get mad at my Uncle Justin! He loves you and you should love him too an be happy, not mad at him!" ha-ahaha-aha
I told her I do love you, I love you and miss you very much, but I did get so frustrated with you when you made Allen and Cruz all hyper. ;0)
They love you and miss you as much as I do. They say they talk to you and they hope you hear them.
Antonio is my mini Justin. I hope he doesn't give me as much trouble as you did mom and dad. ;0)
Justin the Bee we love you and miss you.
I'm sure your embarrassed hearing that nick name.
Love your oldest sister,


Anonymous said...

I was listening to the radio this morning about a mother who was awaken by her 24 y/o daughter complaining of a sinus infection that had been lingering for a couple of weeks. The Mom rushed her to the ER and before she could get there she had lost consiousness. It has been one month now and after her Lemierre Syndrome diagnosis she is lost both legs and her skin is in very bad shape. She is fighting for her life and seems to be improving. I dont know all the details but I wanted to reach out and say that your blog moved me and I know justin is up in heaven smiling very proud of his friends and family that love him so much. Best, Chad

Anonymous said...

I was listening to the radio on my way in to work this morning and a mother of a 24 y/o girl was describing describe the terror of watching her daugher fight Lemierre's Syndrome. It all hapened so quickly, in the course of a month she has lost both legs and fighting for her life. Just wanted to say that after reading the site and blogs I know justin is so happy and proud of his amazing family that love him so much. best

Anonymous said...

May god bles you and your family! I know Justin in Smiling down on all of his friends and family. with love,

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. My son had Lemierre Syndrome 8 years ago. His symptoms started 1 week after his HS graduation. We were lucky enough to have some incredible Doctors in Boston that saved his life, he is our miracle. there is still not a day I don't think of the horrible disease and the pain it caused. I will be forever grateful that he survived, I am sorry Justin did not, I will keep him and your family in my thoughts.

BC Mom said...

Dear Tammy - I am so sorry for your family's loss. My oldest son (age 18) was just released from hospital a few days ago with what was eventually diagnosed as Lemierre's Syndrome. Like your brother, Connor is a strong and otherwise healthy 18 year old boy. He was living 3 hours away from home and attending university (living in dorms, fairly isolated) and playing college football. On Oct. 3rd he woke up with a sore throat and fever and took himself to the campus clinic that day. They did a throat swab, suspecting strep, and he started on antibiotics the next morning. By Thursday morning he wasn't feeling any better and had basically been holed up in his room all week, with his friends checking up on him from time to time. His residence advisor was told he was "sick" but no actual adult in his new world at college was being very proactive. As his mom, I prompted him to contact the clinic again to follow up, which he did on Friday, Oct. 7th. The doctor suspected he could have mono, so she sent him to an off-campus clinic to have blood work drawn--results not available until after the Thanksgiving weekend (we're in Canada). As we were driving down the following morning for their football game (he was not playing!) he sent me a text and told me he felt much worse: pain in his neck, blurred vision, hearing loss, fever. Within two hours he was in the emergency department, and within 12 hours of that he was in the ICU, and 10 hours later was placed on a ventilator and under sedation. The photos of your brother chill me to the core as it's exactly how Connor was: a healthy wonderful kid, fighting for his life. We are so fortunate that we got him to hospital when we did because by the time he arrived he was extremely septic but the pneumonia hadn't fully taken him over. The diagnosis of Lemierre's took days--his fever just wasn't coming down. By around day 6 he seemed to be improving, and fortunately he has continued to improve. After 7 days of being sedated and on the ventilator he was extubated and woken up. It was the darkest time of our lives. We have been home from hospital only a few days--his semester is over for now but he is alive and we are so grateful. His road to recovery will be a challenge as he is very weak.We are so grateful for the miracle of his survival.

One of the things Connor said he now recognizes as big red flags was an unquenchable thirst that started about 2 days after he initially had the sore throat. His urine started changing color as well but he attributed both of these issues to the antibiotics and having a sore throat. In hindsight, this was the first sign that he was becoming septic. When we picked him up from the locker room, he was yellow and his face, chest, and upper back had a red "mottled" appearance.

Thank you so much for sharing your brother's story with us. I am not overly religious but do believe in a power greater than us. Your brother knows he is loved.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was 15 at the time that she got Lemierre's. She was also misdiagnosed as having strep throat. She started feeling ill on a Saturday. That Monday I took her to see a doctor. He told us that it was strep and gave her an antibiotic. By Wednesday of the same week (2 days later) she was getting worse. Once again, I took her to see another doctor. This time I took her to a local ER. That doctor told me the same thing. He increased her antibioic and gave her IV fluid. He also dismissed her extreme neck pain as "overreacting". I questioned him because I work as a nurse. However, I took her home and did as he had instructed. Friday,(the same week) she woke up unable to move. I had to carry her to the bathroom just to toilet her. She had a fever of 104. Her urine was amber colored, and her breathing was very labored. I rushed to the ER again to see the third doctor in one week. When we got there, her BP was 70's/40's and her pulse was elevated. I knew that she was in serious danger. This doctor did admit to me that she needed to be shipped to another hospital. My daughter had become septic due to pieces of the infected clot that had broken loose in her jugular vein and traveled to her lungs. When we arrived by ambulance to the next hospital, the doctors told me that she was critical, which I already knew. When the room filled up with multiple nurses and doctors calling out medical terms and procedures, my daughter looked at me with the most frightened look that I had ever seen. She was already in so much pain. It was the worst day of my life. I had no control. She was put on a vent and spent weeks in the hospital. She came home with a picc and had 4 months of lovenox. Time has passed now and she is better, but I thank god everyday that she made it. This year I will watch her finish school and go off to college. I want Justin's family to know that my prayers are with you. I have personally referred doctors to this website. Please know that it is bringing awareness.

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Justin's news article in the West Magazine

This was taken from

Rockwood student dies rapidly from little-known disease
By Diane Plattner

In April, Eureka High School student Justin Rodgers began to complain of a severe sore throat and was dead approximately one month later from an unfamiliar disease. Now, his mother hopes to spread awareness about the deadly disease.
Justin died in the early morning hours of May 12, the day after Mother’s Day, after losing a battle with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a serious bacteria that is not well-known and even doctors are prone to misdiagnose the disease. Unfortunately, Rodgers’ doctor was among that group after initially diagnosing him with strep throat on April 11, said Sheryl Rodgers, Justin’s mother.
“Justin had said, ‘Mom, this is the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life,’” Rodgers said.
She said that Justin’s doctor took no throat culture and gave her son medicine for strep throat. She said her son’s condition worsened over the next few days during which he had increased high fever, chest pain and a lump in his neck. On April 14, Rodgers took her son to St. Anthony’s Hospital, which transported him overnight to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where he underwent extensive testing, including X-rays and blood work, Rodgers said.
Rodgers said that hospital officials diagnosed him with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a bacteria that can surface after mouth trauma. Last July, Justin was in a car accident that resulted in mouth injuries that required him to get major dental work, including a recent new tooth. In addition, Justin had suffered a broken nose just before the onset of his sore throat, his mother said.
“I wonder if all this woke up the bacteria, which was already living in the body,” Rodgers said.
The last time Rodgers saw him fully awake was a few days later, when hospital officials decided to place her son on a respirator and sedate him with drugs.
“He was out of it but still with us then,” Rodgers said. “He would frown when the doctors worked on him. So he had some responses.”
However, Justin’s lungs kept collapsing, prompting hospital doctors by April 25 to place him on an ECMO machine to help rest his lungs and heart. Doctors at that point also put him into an induced coma, Rodgers said.
“At that point there was no response from Justin,” Rodgers said. “Still, I talked to him and rubbed his sore spots to let him know we were there.”
By Mother’s Day, Justin was leaking too much blood, prompting doctors to decide to remove him from the ECMO, a move they said was risky if his lungs were not healed enough.
“Once they took him off the ECMO, Justin’s face was getting gray,” Rodgers said. “He was holding his own for a few hours, but then he starting going downhill.”
Justin died early the next morning following Mother’s Day with his immediate family, including three older siblings, by his side, Rodgers said.
“He was our baby,” Rodgers said. “I think the hospital tried to keep him going so he did not die on Mother’s Day.”
The tragedy is not the first for the Rodgers family. They also lost a 4-year-old child in a horseback riding accident and had a stillborn child many years ago, Rodgers said.
“I thought God could not possibly do this to us again,” Rodgers said. “I asked why again, why us. But there is no answer. Here we are walking on egg shells again.”
Rodgers said she was at least thankful that Justin’s funeral was so big that people were standing outside, a huge tribute to his life. She also hopes to honor his life with a campaign to help spread awareness about Lemierre’s Syndrome, which she said often hits people between the ages of 14 and 25. It is not spread by kissing but instead lives in the body, she said. Her goal is to make people, including doctors, more aware of its symptoms so they are not mistaken for strep throat.
“I do not want Justin to have died in vain,” Rodgers said. “This is one bad bacteria. It is very serious. People should not treat it lightly.”
To learn more about Lemierre’s Syndrome, visit the Rodgers’ family Web site at