Mom of 8 nearly dies from COVID, regrets not getting vaccinated

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:00 AM MDT
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LAKE BUTLER, Fla. (CNN) - A Florida mother is sharing her story about how she nearly died from COVID-19 and regrets not getting vaccinated.

“It was horrifying. I never in my life have felt like I was going to die until that day,” Ganeene Starling said.

Starling had chosen not to get the vaccine. Her husband and her children weren’t vaccinated either.

“Honestly, I think I listened. I think I let people influence me, like saying ‘Oh, you know, this is the government just trying to fill our bodies with stuff and they’re trying to push this shot on us,” Starling said.

Earlier this month, however, Startling’s husband got COVID. It then spread to Startling and their four kids living at home, including their youngest who is just six.

Soon, Starling was struggling to breathe and had to be rushed her to the hospital.

“I remember being very desperate, grabbing the mask and just feeling the oxygen come in,” Starling said.

Starling spent nine days in the hospital, six of them in the ICU.

“In those moments when you can’t breathe like that, even with all the oxygen they were giving me, it feels like you have a Ziploc bag over your head,” Starling said. “Like somebody’s holding you. I had oxygen on and I was still feeling that way.”

Starling said she and her husband both agreed they had likely already had COVID and didn’t know they had it.

“There had been times I’d been sick and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s COVID. No big deal,” Starling said.

However, when she did get COVID, Starling’s oxygen dropped to dangerously low levels.

She said she was told she had about a 20% chance of survival.

“My youngest baby is six years old. And so when you’re told that and you have a six-year-old, you know like if I die, he’s probably not going to remember me,” Starling said.

Starling is telling her story now because she wants people to know how much she regrets not getting the vaccine, a decision that nearly cost her life.

“I was one of those people that was like, ‘I can’t believe people are just going to inject their bodies with this medication. We don’t know enough about it.’ Now, I’m just like, it’s just a shot. Just get the stupid shot. That vaccine could have stopped all of this. Just one little shot,” Starling said.

She still has trouble breathing, wears an oxygen tube, and has trouble doing even simple tasks.

Starling now plans to get vaccinated along with her whole family.

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