UPDATE 12/7/11 @ 10:30 p.m.
LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Tara Williams, who was bitten by a copperhead snake nearly a month ago and developed life-threatening complications, continues to recover.
Williams, 21, faced the fight of her life after suffering two bites that she said first felt like bee stings. Then, things suddenly turned serious.
“It started throbbing, and I couldn't walk on it as soon as it bit me."
Her boyfriend quickly drove her to the hospital.
Three days later, she went home – until the swelling got worse. Then she had to have emergency surgery and even had to go on a ventilator.
"I was so sick and I just didn't know,” she said. “And I knew when they told me what was going on that some people don't live through something like that, so it scared me."
After spending nearly a week at a Morgantown hospital, Williams’ condition began to improve, although she could suffer nerve damage and will have to undergo lots of physical therapy.
"It makes me upset because I know that my leg is never going to be the same,” she said. “It's not going to look the same."
Williams was back to see her doctor on Tuesday. The stitches came out of her leg, and she starts therapy next week.
If everything goes well, doctors say it could take a year before she is back to normal.
Tara Williams, 21, of Logan was on a hunting trip with her boyfriend three weeks ago in Ritchie County when she stepped on a large copperhead snake.
Tara's mom tells WSAZ.com, the snake snapped at her and bit her twice and her boyfriend drove her to the hospital.
"Right now, mentally, she's having a hard time with this," said Tara's mother Mitzi Williams. "You know this is going to be rehabilitating for her."
Tara was on a ventilator Wednesday night as doctors removed part of her calf muscle and continued to try and relieve pressure.
Tara's mother, Mitzi Williams, is a nurse and has been by Tara's side since the accident.
"I mean I'm on the other side of the fence now," said Mitzi Williams. "You know I help others and it's different when it's your own -- it's hard to handle."
It's a painful reality as Tara's leg had to be sliced open to relieve the swelling and pressure.
She spent three days in the emergency room and a couple weeks later is when things took a turn for the worse.
Her mother says she was getting sick from the anti-venom and suffered more swelling.
"When this all happened to her, she knew, she knew what was going on," said Mitzi Williams. "She was terrified, frightened, she knew what it was coming to."
Familiar with the signs and symptoms as a respiratory therapy grad, Tara is now putting her faith in her surgeon's hands.
"She's young and she's tough and she's strong," said Mitzi Williams. "Hopefully later today things will turn around."
Tara's mother says her daughter is still sedated but has been regaining consciousness.
Why she had such a terrible reaction to the snake bites weeks later is still a mystery.
Tara is expected to suffer some nerve damage but with the help of physical therapy, Tara's mom is hoping her daughter can make a full recovery.
The City of Logan is accepting donations to help with Tara's medical expenses.
Tara Williams, 21, of Logan, was hunting in Ritchie County, W.Va., when she stepped on a copperhead.
A family friend tells WSAZ.com the snake wrapped around her leg. When she tried to remove it, the snake bit her not once, but twice.
Williams was driven to a hospital in Parkersburg and then rushed by ambulance to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.
Family members say Williams has undergone several surgeries and had to have her leg opened to relieve the swelling and pressure.
Williams was put on a ventilator Tuesday night and remains in intensive care.
The city of Logan is accepting donations for the family and for Williams’ medical expenses.
Meagan Sellards, who is also from Logan, now has something else in common with Williams.
“It felt like getting pinched, but within seconds it was this uncontrollable burning feeling. I could feel it going up my leg,” Sellards says.
Sellards also was bitten by a snake when she was walking through her yard last June.
However, the DNR says it’s surprising to see snakes out this late in the year.
“Usually they're in hibernation by now, but we haven't really had any prolonged cold spell,” DNR public information specialist Art Shomo said.
Therefore, the DNR has some steps to take in case this happens to you.
First, stay calm so that the venom doesn't rush through your blood. If possible, kill the snake and take it to the hospital with you, so doctors will know the best way to treat you.
They also don't recommend the cut-and-suck method, which could be more dangerous than helpful.
Four months later, Sellards still has problems from her snake bite. Now, she’s hoping that Williams will have a quick recovery.
“I can say that I’m praying for her, which I have,” Sellards said. “My church is also. I know that's the only thing that got me through.”