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Help with medical expenses
$1,060 Raised
44% of $2.4k goal
15 contributors
0 days left
Ended May 29, 2014
It's difficult to ask other people to help when you don't know how you will ever repay them.  I've done my best to be self-sufficient, find low income programs and pay what I can myself.  Without insurance or Medicaid, I'm forced to rely on the ... More ...

It's difficult to ask other people to help when you don't know how you will ever repay them.  I've done my best to be self-sufficient, find low income programs and pay what I can myself.  Without insurance or Medicaid, I'm forced to rely on the graciousness of others.  I hope you will understand my appeal.

For over a month I've had severe stomach pain that has left me unable to eat.  In early March I wound up at the ER severely dehydrated. (hence my picture) I had lost eight pounds in a week and a half.  They gave me some medications that provided temporary relief and told me to see a GI doctor.  It took a month to get in to see a specialist at a privately funded low cost clinic.

The doctor there told me I have internal bleeding and that my hemoglobin level could indicate something serious.  He wants me to have an EGD/endoscopy and a colonoscopy to check for tumors and other possible problems.  Together the tests are over $1600.00 and I don’t have the means to pay for them.

In the meantime, I’ve resorted to eating as little as possible and drinking protein drinks to keep up strength.  I have definitely chosen weakness and shakiness over pain.  

For those who don’t know me that well, I’ve had a long, ugly battle with my health that really became out of control in my twenties.  I was diagnosed after my son was born with the usual suspects; hypothyroid, hypoglycemia, and anemia.  As I continued to work full time and raise him I began to have more and more pain, increased heart palpitations, and eventually I could hardly sit at a desk.  I found out my tailbone had broken during delivery (not uncommon) and was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia/CFS due to EBV in my bloodstream.  I was actually fortunate because at the time many doctors didn’t believe in the existence of the illness, at the same time unfortunate because there were no treatments.  The doctor sent me to a heart specialist and I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse.

In my thirties I progressively became worse.  All the while still working full time and doing everything I could to pay the bills and raise my son and daughter.  I saw many doctors and had a multitude of prescriptions, some that gave me severe responses.  I tried seeing non-traditional doctors that dealt with experimental treatments, and natural doctors with herbs.  I tried acupuncture, hypnosis, chinese medicine, chiropractic and homeopathy.  I tried everything I could imagine to find a relief for the pain and something to increase my energy so I could continue to work.

I finally took a job at Whole Foods in the nutrition department.  Thinking if I educated myself I might be able to make myself well.  Being on my feet and the crazy hours put me in a state of near collapse.  My legs, back and feet hurt so badly I cried myself to sleep at night.  I began having a dark curtain descend in front of my eyes when I tried to stand and put things on the shelves.  I became very thin.  I knew if I returned to an office job I would make more money and the job wouldn’t be as physical - so I did.  Hoping once again that I had found an answer.

Back at the desk sitting all day the pain shifted to my knees, upper back, neck and shoulders.  I tried to walk everyday with a friend at lunch but there were days I walked bent over and had to stop for breath after a few steps.  After eating I was worse, when I stood up I was worse; when I was laying down I was just exhausted.  I would crawl across the floor to try and do some yoga to keep up my strength, but could barely hold a couple of floor stretches.  I started seeing doctors again.

In my early forties, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had surgery to remove it.  I thought maybe that was the problem growing slowly inside me over the years and that I would finally begin to feel better.

But the opposite happened.  Within six months the shortness of breath became worse and I got to where I couldn’t walk from the bed to the bathroom without feeling like I’d run a race.  I saw cardiologists, neurologists and pulmonologists; none could find anything wrong.  I was treated like a hypochondriac and patronized.  I began to feel like it was my fault somehow.  That there was something I missed, something I should have done and wasn’t doing.  Something I was eating?  Something I should be eating?  I just didn’t know what was happening to me.

I started hearing someone whisper my name when no one was around.  I saw doors open and close when no one was there.   Lightning would flash when I closed my eyes and the dark curtain continued to descend.  I would spend 20 minutes sitting on the floor of the grocery store trying to get enough oxygen to stand up again.  I was losing my mind - the doctors were right; I was crazy!!

I had an appointment with a new neurologist and had decided before I saw her that I would ask to be locked away if she didn’t find anything wrong.  Wouldn’t you know when I had given up all hope, I finally found someone who took me seriously?!  After testing she diagnosed me with temporal lobe/partial complex seizures.  I was put on medication and was optimistic  that I would at last be able to live a happy and somewhat normal life.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

Within a month I thought I was having seizures every 20 minutes and went to an emergency room.  Again I was patronized and asked if I wanted something for anxiety, even though their machines couldn’t detect my blood pressure and my heart was racing.  I was laying there exhausted.  Had I been hyperventilating or crying I might have understood the cruel comment, but I didn’t have the energy to sit up, let alone have a panic attack.  How fortunate I was indeed that my neurologist could see I was weak and failing and had me checked in for observation.

To make this horribly long story a tiny bit shorter, over the next few months I was diagnosed with orthostatic hypotension (my blood pressure was dropping to 50 over 30) and Congestive Heart Failure.

My friends were astounded!  I had the healthiest diet of anyone they knew; I was fairly young and didn’t “look" sick.  Treatment consisted of EECP, a high sodium diet and medication - all of which took a tremendous toll on my stomach and I wound up with chronic severe reflux.  I was only in my mid-forties.

In 2008 Hurricane Ike crushed my tiny house with a hundred year old pine tree.  I was inside with my fur babies and spent hours trapped before the flooding went down enough that we could be removed.  Graciously none of us were physically harmed but my mind had all it could take.  In my late forties I finally succomed to the panic attacks I’d been accused of having for years before.  I was diagnosed with PTSD.

At last I was on good medications but I was exhausted!  I couldn’t continue to go on like I had been.  I made the difficult decision to leave my full time job, start working from home and try to take care of myself.  I wanted to improve my quality of life.  It was a struggle to make ends meet but I was doing it and from time to time I’ve had help from my very generous and loving friends, as well as my daughter.  At least I could manage my medications and take care of my personal hygiene, something that had been slipping.  

I applied for disability, was denied, appealed, had a hearing and was denied again.  

I yearned to sing with friends again, something I hadn’t done since my son was born 28 years prior and found a group of the most lovely people known as the Celtic Chorus of Houston!  This has been the most wonderful therapy and I doubt they have any idea how much I treasure them.  We sing at a retirement home quarterly and I adore the folks there.  I feel I’ve adopted them as parents and they shower me with love every time I see them.

Last year I turned 50 and with the help of friends, Chorus, other people I’ve met through the music circuit, and my precious daughter with her husbands friends and family; I had the best birthday of my entire life!  

This year was a new start and I began learning to play the bodhran.  I began training my little dog to be my service dog. Things are looking up!  Except now I am once again challenged by my health.

I’ve reapplied for disability and have a hearing pending.  I’m exempt from health insurance due to my low income.  Because Texas didn’t expand Medicaid I can’t get that.  I’ve applied for the county gold card program but it could take months to get in to see a doctor and have the tests done.  I’m thankful to at least qualify for Snap (the food stamp program), and discounted electricity rates.  I’m extraordinarily grateful to have the most incredible friends and support system who have helped me through some of the most ridiculous and often laughable hard times.

I know everyone has a story and everyone is strapped thin these days.  Believe me I would never ask for help if I thought there was any other way to have the tests done that I need. Normally they would cost $2000 to $3000 each - but because I’ve gone through a low income clinic, this doctor has a facility that does them for less for people between a rock and a hard place - like me!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.  If you can’t give a nickel I completely understand.  But if you can help, even the smallest amount would be so greatly appreciated.  I’m trying to raise enough to cover the tests and pay for the ER visit in early March which was over $600.  They were kind to me there and at least got me stable enough to keep working my part time contract from home, and made it so I can still get out to sing with friends and play the drum.  It's the best therapy there is!

A basket of love to you all!

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