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A Hobe Sound woman fighting an aggressive bacteria, she must soon undergo surgery to save her ear and her life.
Every 24 hours Holly Graston has to pump antibiotics into a pic line in her arm.
"I have to carry around a monitor with me 24/7 everywhere I go," said Graston.
It's the only thing keeping an aggressive bacteria, Achromobacter in her right ear, from spreading.
"If it becomes resistant to that, there's nothing left to treat it and then eventually it will go into my blood stream," said Graston.
This wasn't Graston's life one year ago, but one swim in the Stuart sandbar changed that. That's where her doctor told her she likely contracted the bacteria and a previous ear procedure left her susceptible to being infected.
"When the tubes came out, they left a hole in my ear drum so it was a perfect opportunity for it to get in there," added Graston.
She started getting drainage from her ear, headaches. A culture determined what bacteria she was dealing with.
"It came back as a waterborne pathogen," said Graston.
Holly says her exposure was before any before any bacteria advisories in waterways were issued in Martin County.
The bacteria has killed tissue in Holly's ear. Her only hope to stop it is getting surgery to remove the infected bone before this antibiotic also stops working.
"It's the last one left to treat it, so if it becomes resistant to this one then I have no other, that's it," said Graston.
Graston warns other swimmers to be careful with open wounds or any ear issues.
WPTV reached out to the Martin County Health Department to learn if this bacteria has ever shown up in water test results. Graston is trying to raise money for her surgery in December. She's set up a Go Fund Me account to come up with the 8-thousand dollars she'll have to pay up front.
Scripps Only Content 2016