A 32-year-old woman from Newark, New Jersey, is living her life with her intestines hanging out of her abdomen after surviving a horrific nightclub shooting.
Takieyah Reaves was struck in her stomach and right leg during a shooting in Newark, New Jersey in 2019.
One of the bullets blew her entire stomach open, which led doctors to believe that she won’t survive the intensive surgery that is required to repair her intestines.
Reaves, who is the mother of 2 children, lived to tell the tale, however, her wound made it impossible for medics to completely close the wound until it heals fully.
For the last 3 years, she has lived with a gaping hole in her torso, with the inside of her intestines fully exposed.
She said that the wound left her feeling depressed because her body had scars all over it.
The wound also made it hard for her to live a normal life.
Reaves, who is a criminal justice student and gun control activist, said:
I wasn’t supposed to make it out of hospital alive, my family were told to say their goodbyes. I am so grateful to still be here and be given a second chance at life, but I can’t help feeling depressed by how I looked. I kept my stomach hidden from everyone for a long time, even from my kids. I was so depressed by my body, I had scars all over and I hated it. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide and I was scared to go outside because of guns on the street. I also didn’t want anyone to see my body so I found it hard to live my life as normal. It has changed my life but I am so grateful I am still able to raise my kids. I was depressed for a while but I decided that I couldn’t go on like that for their sake. I do want my body back but I see them as my war scars. People tell me how beautiful I am and I have learned to embrace what happened.
The mother believes that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The 32-year-old was shot as she stood in the doorway of a nightclub that she had left.
She said that she remembers little of the night.
Reaves could only remember Lavona, her close friend, saying that she should keep her eyes open and listen to the voices around her.
I remember feeling very tired, like I wanted to go to sleep. My friend Lavona kept telling me to keep my eyes open and listen to the voices. I lost 4.5 litres of blood and my doctors told me my heart stopped on the operating table, but I came back. I had surgery to remove the bullets but they had to leave my stomach open like this.
Reaves will have her stomach stitched back at the end of June 2020.
The 32-year-old mother will be going through the last of the 8 operations that she had gone through since that night, and it will be the final one.
The incident has helped the opinion of Reaves on gun ownership in the United States of America.
She is currently campaigning for tougher gun rules to be imposed in the country.
The mother said that she was shocked initially, but now she wants to finish her college degree so she could educate kids on how to stay safe.
She also wants to raise awareness about gun violence.
I am completely against guns being legal. I want to see them taken off the streets completely. When I finish in college I want to work within the criminal justice system and I want to go in to schools to educate kids on how to stay safe and to raise awareness of the effects of gun crime. I was just as shocked about my stomach as everyone else but I want to use what happened to me to make a difference. I have come a long way in the last three years. I am not afraid to go out alone and am trying to live my life as normal. I am feeling very good about the future now.
Let’s all pray for the incoming operation of Reaves.