TYLER, TX (KLTV) - (Graphic content warning: Some may find the description or pictures of the spider bite disturbing.)
A Tyler woman is warning all East Texans of a potentially dangerous threat in the area, something she says nearly caused the loss of her foot: the bite of a brown recluse spider.
"One would expect it to be really awful, it wasn't, it was uncomfortable, it was a burn," Suzan Chapman says.
Suzan Chapman lay in a hospital bed for 30 days, underwent two major surgeries, and doctors have told her the full recovery is still a year away.
Mobile users: GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Progression of spider bite
"They said they were going to take me into surgery that night, I said 'I can't, I have the plumber coming in the morning, I need water,' and they said, 'well ma'am, would you like your water or your foot,'" Chapman says.
Her brown recluse spider bite started out as a marble sized black spot, but soon began to eat away the skin.
"They literally cut a hole in my leg and went down to the covering of the bone," Chapman says.
The venom had eventually eaten away an inch of her skin, leaving a softball sized hole in the side of her leg.
Doctors say she's lucky she went to the hospital when she did.
Chapman says she thinks she was bitten when she went out to her barn, because a couple of hours later, she started to feel a sharp pain in her ankle.
"Apparently that's when it happened, because the bite is painless," Chapman says.
Now Chapman says she wants to warn others of this potentially deadly arachnid.
"The brown recluse makes the black widow look like the merry widow," Chapman says.
Chapman says doctors told her she still has about 9 months to recover, but she will keep her foot.