A woman is forced to live with her guts hanging from her stomach after surviving a horrifying nightclub shot.
Takieyah Reaves, 32, was punched in the stomach and right leg in a 2017 shooting in Newark, New Jersey.
One of the bullets blew her whole stomach open, she told Metro, and doctors warned her that she was unlikely to survive the intensive surgery it took to restore her insides.
Mother of two Takieyah lived to tell the story, but the size of her wound made it impossible for doctors to close the wound completely until it healed.
For the past three years, she has lived with a gaping hole in her torso, with the inside of her gut fully exposed.
She said the wound made her “depressed” because her body “had scars all over her body” and she found it “difficult to live normal life.”
Takieyah, a criminal law student and gun control activist, told Metro: “I wasn’t supposed to come out of the hospital alive, my family was told to say goodbye.
“I am so thankful that I am still here and getting a second chance at life, but I can’t help feeling depressed by the way I looked.
“For a long time I kept my stomach hidden from everyone, even my children.
“I was so depressed by my body, I had scars everywhere and I hated it.
“I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide and I was afraid to go out because of guns on the street.
“I also didn’t want anyone to see my body, so I found it difficult to live my life normally.”
She added, “It has changed my life, but I am so thankful that I can still raise my children.
“I was depressed for a while, but decided I couldn’t go on for their sake.
“I want my body back, but I see them as my wounds of war.
“People tell me how beautiful I am and I’ve learned to embrace what happened.”
The mother thinks she was in the “wrong place at the wrong time” and was shot while standing in the doorway of a nightclub she had left.
She doesn’t remember much about the night, but said her friend Lavona kept telling her to keep her eyes open and listen to the voices.
Takieyah said, “I remember feeling very tired, like going to sleep.
“My friend Lavona kept telling me to keep my eyes open and listen to the voices.
“I lost 4.5 liters of blood and my doctors told me that 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.”
Takieyah will have her belly stitched at the end of June this year, it will be the eighth surgery she has had and will be the last.
She said the incident completely changed her view of gun ownership in the United States and imposed campaigns for stricter rules.
The mother said that she was’ shocked ‘at first, but now she wants to finish her college education to’ teach children how to stay safe and raise awareness.
Takieyah said, “I am completely against guns being legal. I want them to be taken completely off the street.
‘When I finish studying, I want to work within the criminal justice system and go to schools to educate children about how to stay safe and to raise awareness about the consequences of gun crime.
“I was just as shocked at my stomach as everyone else, but I want to use what happened to me to make a difference.
“I’ve come a long way in the past three years. I am not afraid to go out alone and try to live my life normally. I now feel very good about the future. “