Some diseases can cost an arm and a leg...or your life.
Donald Mackenzie of Follett Run Road said he contracted necrotizing fasciitis in the Philippines. It is commonly known as "flesh-eating disease."
After falling down and scraping his leg, Mackenzie said he felt sick before returning home. He thought it was malaria or the flu.
While on the plane, Mackenzie told a stewardess he felt sick. An ambulance was waiting for him when he touched down at O'Hare International Airport.
At Resurrection Health Care Chicago, Mackenzie said doctors knew what he had as soon as the blood work came back. If not for the right antibiotics, he would have only had two hours to live.
Instead, doctors removed the diseased tissue in his right leg. Mackenzie spent two months at Holy Family Medical Center, a long-term care facility.
From the end of May to mid July, Mackenzie underwent three surgeries. He was fortunate to get some of the greatest treatment in the world.
"They told my family they would work on saving my life and then my leg," Mackenzie said.
If doctors couldn't save the leg, Mackenzie said they planned to cut it off at the hip. That wasn't necessary and he is expected to make a full recovery.
Medical bills totaled $200,000. However, Mackenzie said he was fortunate to have Veterans Affairs pick up the tab.
Although Mackenzie's only refuge from the pain is when he's sleeping, he still counts himself as fortunate. A woman in Georgia lost parts of all her limbs to the disease.
That case proves the problem is not relegated to third world countries. It could attack any open sore or wound, Mackenzie said, whether caused by falling off a bicycle or sliding into a base at Betts Park.
"When I fell, it was just a brush burn," Mackenzie said. "You just wash it with soap because you think it's minor. It's not."
Now, Mackenzie wants to prevent others from going through what he did. Swimming and recreation activities in the area make residents potential targets for the disease.
Symptoms may include fever; Mackenzie's temperature had shot up to 107 degrees. At the site of the wound, it may turn red or lumpy.
"Of all the places for me to get treatment, I was at places called 'Resurrection' and 'Holy Family,'" Mackenzie said. "It makes me believe the man up there has something he wants me to do yet."