For all of my supporters- here is a little note straight from my heart! Also- enjoy these photos from Joshua Lewin Photography! Recommend him to ANYONE in need of a photographer in the greater Colorado area!
Friends and friends of friends and even strangers- sorry for the delay in updating. I think most of you probably heard I had to go back into surgery on Friday because of a complication with a leak from the original surgery. I have been discharged from the hospital and everything looks good so far. I honestly don't have a lot to say- I'm continually humbled by the support of so many, but I'm also exhausted. So thank you for your patience and your kindness. More importantly, thank you for continuing to choose to be a part of my story. God Bless You.
The Thanksgiving Post: A note from the most thankful girls in the world.
It's Emily. I feel speechless. I feel like saying, "Thank you" has lost its meaning. I've said it hundreds and hundreds of times in the last three weeks. I don't know what to say to say more than just that, "Thank you."
What you all have helped accomplish by partnering with Laura and those close to her has been nothing short of miraculous. I give all my gratitude, all my thanks, all my love.
I feel speechless. But I have another request: I always do, and I won't stop asking so long as I know this network is still webbed and thriving.
Laura had her surgery just over a week ago now (Tuesday, 11/19), and the TN pain is gone, but the surgical pain is still making the fight difficult and exhausting.
She has been back in and out of the ER at home, and unfortunately was given six staples over her incision because the site was leaking. And still is.
The surgeon has asked her to travel back down to Los Angeles so he can evaluate the issue.
But it's Thanksgiving.
People have already given so much and Laura has been so humbled and vulnerable over the last few weeks it's hard to ask for anything else. A ride to LA, more money, whatever.
But we are a community of individuals from around the entire world, and now, we lift her up in prayer.
I'm asking all of you as you gather around your tables today and say what you're thankful for, lift her up.
I'm asking that all of you, where ever you are, whatever you're doing, at 4 pm PST (6 if you're in Chicago, 5 if you're in Colorado!): Stop.
Join hands with your loved ones, and spend five minutes in prayer for Laura. All over the world, let's pray together this Thanksgiving. If you're not the praying type, please, still join us. Just reflect on good people in your life and times that good things have happened to you and ask the forces of nature or whatever you believe in to bring her peace and a break from pain.
I'm not asking you to pray that her scar disappears and she is back to longboarding and jumping off swings tomorrow. Just that the pain would subside and the leakage would stop. So pray when you're at the table, pray when the time comes.
For a relief. For an embrace from her Maker. If you need the words, try something like this. God bless you all, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Father, we gather on this day, blessed by your grace. We give you thanks for for the food before us, the family around us, the love we share with those here, and all who couldn't join us. We know that all we have comes from you, and all our thanksgiving is to the glory of your name. We ask that you continue your abundant blessings upon us, your children, and that you continue to shine your light on our sister, Laura. Lord, be with her today as she struggles through recovery. Be in her nerves and vessels. Be in her scars and staples. Comfort her with your peace and remind her of your power, your grace, your love. Bring a relief from pain and seal the leak in her head. Lift her spirits, Lord, and circle her with your Holy Spirit. In her suffering, you are glorified, like in the suffering of your son, Jesus Christ. And as he died and rose, be glorified as Laura's pain dies and she rises to proclaim your Word and the story of your infinite love. Bless her on this day and those to come. Be with other sufferers of this condition and help them to shine your light as statements of your love and as beacons of hope for those who suffer and don't know you. Bless your children as you always bless us Lord, with wisdom, and give us the understanding and grace to learn. We praise you for all creation Lord, and we join in praying:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. AMEN.
I have had a lot of people ask over the last few hours, "Why are you worried about the other half? You already had the surgery. They can't take it back."
I just want to say, I am not worried. But I am concerned. Why? Because what happened with my story was unheard of. Many would call it a miracle. My team did, at least. And because of that, they believed in me. They believed in this family I grew.. a family of people all over the country who chose to come together and fight for something. They took a chance on me. They took a chance on you. And I want to be a woman of my word- a woman of character and honor.
So, yes. I am concerned, but not about the money. I am concerned about the next victim of Trigeminal Neuralgia whose only option may be fundraising like crazy in hopes that someone will believe in them and give them care. And I don't want to be the reason the medical team says no because of a negative experience. I want to be the reason they say, "Yes. We will help you, because we have seen this before and believe in the process."
I continue to be asked the question: "What if the money isn't in on Monday?"
And the best answer I can give is this: I have no idea.
So it's Emily here, and it's time that we address the question in a bigger way. So I want to give you a response if not an answer.
Several people invested large amounts of money (some even reaching beyond their means into funds they need returned) so Laura would be guaranteed surgery on Tuesday. With that, those individuals deserve to have the option of being paid back. Of course they knew there was a risk of no return when they donated, but we need to be diligent in advocating for Laura and working for those funds.
For me, this is the big thing. To protect the privacy of the hospital and the surgical office I can't share too many details here, but what's most important is this: Laura's story is completely original in the sphere she just occupied. What's that mean? Nothing like this has happened at this hospital.
She is the exception to the rule.
Of course, if Laura had been able to stand the pain for a few more months, she may have been able to have the cost of surgery covered by Obamacare. But it wasn't.
And although that brings hope for many who have been awaiting care, there is no guarantee that Obamacare will be here to stay.
(Disclaimer: Please don't use Laura's story and these posts as a platform for political commentary or crusading. It's not what's important here now. If you'd like to bring the discussion to your own blogs, pages, dinner tables, etc."”please do, but not here.)
Now, this is about setting a precedent. There are others out there suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia and other conditions and diseases and cancers who need surgeries/operations/treatments that they cannot afford. And Laura's story is a light for them.
She was a missionary who walked into a hospital with 800+ people involved in paying for her surgery and made a promise that the money would come in, that more would come alongside to pay the bills, to spread the word about TN, to be light.
SO REALLY, WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MONEY DOESN'T COME IN?
No, they can't undo surgery.
It would take months before legal action resulted in them taking her car or other valuables.
But Laura gave her word. She promised her surgeon.
And I gave my word. I promised her. And the people who gave more than they could afford.
And we put Laura's story in the spotlight to be a beacon of hope: we promised those who suffer from TN that we wouldn't stop fighting.
There are so many people to thank and so much love to be returned. You are all angels and heroes and lovely wonderful people.
As per Laura's request, there will be no further update until she is awake after surgery to give the OK.
We need to respect her privacy as this whole ordeal has been completely transparent and she has shared every bit of herself.
But I am not finished with you all yet (It's Emily here, if you couldn't tell by the unnerving perseverance. I know, I'm driving myself crazy too.)
My dad had a great idea last night: a blitz.
On Friday night, we all witnessed something incredible as the funds for Laura to reserve today for surgery flooded this page. It was nothing short or incredible--miraculous even.
So what if we could do it again?
What if, when Laura wakes up from surgery, she can relax and not have to think about money, but that when she does finally ask, we can tell her that another $30,000 had been raised?
I have a handful of links that have words to help us understand what TN is like. Because for the masses of us who hadn't even ever heard of it before last week, there is much to be understood. Check out the links below.
Let's blitz. Who's got another left to give? Who hasn't told a neighbor or a friend about Laura? Who knows someone in the media who can help get her story to a mass audience: TONIGHT EVEN?!
Who? How? What? Whatever it is, go do it.
Let's relieve the emotional stress so Laura doesn't have to feel it when she wakes up from surgery, shall we?
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for loving. Thank you for caring. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for giving. Thank you for choosing.. CHOOSING.. to be a part of a story that is all but dull. I'm almost there.. surgery tomorrow. The journey is crazy, and the second half of the financial deal is frightening, but I was reminded of a word this morning that was so comforting to my heart. "This sickness is not unto death, but is for the glory of God that Son of God may be glorified through it." Wow.. and then I thought.. how is God being glorified through this.. and then all of your faces (or names of people who have donated) came to my mind. Whether you realize it not, God has used you in a powerful way in my life, and your love has been glorifying unto Him.
Hey guys.. I am undone. Really, I am. You are amazing. Just wanted to let everyone know that the reason the goal changed is just in hopes of making up the small percentage that GoFundMe takes out when you withdraw your money. Once my half way mark is reached, we will up the goal to the rest of the amount to hopefully raise money for the other half of my surgery- but in a less urgent fashion. (still urgent, but not seven days urgent). Thank you so much for your prayers and support and cares and shares and donations. Y'all are awesome.
We are at 64.9% of our goal with less than 45 minutes remaining. What can we do? What can you do?
Pray. And wait. Donate if you haven't.
Call a friend and tell them the story. Ask them to donate $15.
And Pray. Over and over.
"I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." [Jeremiah 29:11]
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go." [Joshua 1:9]
Father God, we don't always understand your ways, but you are great and mighty, and your love is strong. Tonight we pray a blessing over all those who have helped Operation Laura in any way large or small. Continue to pour out your love over us, and bless us with abundance as we praise you Lord, our maker, our Father, our planner, our savior. You are the light at the end of TN. You are our hope.
We just need 300 donations of $70 and we are THERE. If you gave, thank you so much! Ask one friend.. just one to give $70. If everyone is successful, we are THERE. And guess what? I'm gonna tell the world about each and every one of you!
Thanks Jessie Rodriguez for having this be the first thing I saw when I woke up this morning...
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33
And for the ever-present verse from my mother in all times...
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13
And we are seeking. Not just all our hearts, all our brains, too. And bones and eyes and ears and toes and hands and pretty much everything else too.
Guys, Em here. Another incredible thing just happened. An incredible woman named Christine just donated her miles with United for me to go support Laura in LA next week.
Let that sink in.
I'll be with her Monday-Wednesday and will be able to keep all of you updated on everything that's going on step by step during our last day of prep, surgery, and the beginning of recovery!!!!
We are so blessed by all these angels!
But still, for surgery to happen Tuesday, we NEED to hit our $47,500 goal by Friday.
Keep posting and urging your friends to do the same.
I just created a Twitter account, @OperationLaura to share updates as they come. Go follow right away and spread the word. Let's trend on Twitter too! Mention @OperationLaura and hashtag #operationlaura #everydollaramiracle!
We're getting closer by the minute!
Thank you Christine for being so generous and amazing!
Laura Michelle Reed is scheduled for surgery Tuesday with a new surgeon of the Los Angeles Neurologoical Institute. It's not at all what we thought it was going to be, but Dr. Levesque met Laura this afternoon in LA and loved her. Surgery is at Cedar Sinai.
AND THE GOOD DOCTOR AGREED TO DO THE SURGERY FOR A TOTAL COST OF $97,000.
And that's not even the best part.
He is only requiring half of that upfront.
Which means all we need is $47,500 by Friday 5:30 pst!!!
Our prayers have been answered.
Our goal has been sliced by a third! Keep sharing. This just became way do-able!!! AMEN!
The Skull Base Institute and the surgeon Laura has been working with have agreed that if she can guarantee today that she'll have $155,000 by Friday, they won't give away her spot and surgery will still be next week!
We need to get Laura's story to the masses! Let's get her on TV! The Radio! Anywhere and everywhere!
Em here. On the phone with Laura now. We need your prayers.
She's just left her home in Pismo Beach, CA to head down to Los Angeles to see what's going to happen. She will find out when she gets there if there's any way that the money raised so far will be enough to convince the Skull Base Institute to reserve her surgeon and perform the craniotomy next week.
The amount of love and support we've seen over the last four days is incredible.
Over $15,000 raised--10% of our original goal.
Unfortunately, odds are now that Plan A (The Skull Base Institute doing the surgery in LA next week) is a bust, which means Laura is going to be in pain longer than we had hoped.
Now we need your prayers and input to see what Plan B is going to look like. Laura has a meeting set with the Mayo Clinic next week, and if they take her on, we will need only $55,000! That would mean we reached a quarter of our goal in just four days!!
The catch is that we don't know for sure when they would be able to operate, and in the meantime Laura will still be in pain and unable to live life the way Laura lives life (which means lots of excessive laughter, dancing, singing, guitar-playing, encouraging, and most of all, serving).
You have all sacrificed and advocated to help her raise this money and we are humbled by the outpouring of love (especially from my own family, friends, former classmates, acquaintances, family's acquaintances, acquaintances' acquaintances, etc.--seriously the connections are astounding, but I digress--).
We need to break Laura's story out to a broader audience: bigger than Facebook sharing and Tweeting. We need news or Ellen or radio or all of the above.
And we need prayer! So please, if you or anyone you know have any connections in media, PLEASE share this story and ask them to help get Laura out there.
She doesn't just want money to fix her brain. She wants to tell the world why Trigeminal Neuralgia is called The Suicide Disease, and she wants to promote awareness of this awful neuropathic condition so that those suffering can see light and hope. Something she has seen because of all of you!
We can do this. Let's make hers a face without pain to be the face of those in pain.
To anyone. To everyone. My story is your story. Emily and I will keep you updated every step of the way today, and yes, the plan is to just keep moving forward and believing for the right amount of money and the right surgeon to line up in the right place at the right time. Am I frustrated? oh yaaa! Mostly because I desperately want to play my guitar and sing at the top of my lungs. But I know God is using this, so thank you for being a part and fighting with me and refusing to give up! Turi kumwe! follow my journey today on Instagram if you want :) @lareedster
It's Emily again. I know I have asked a lot of everyone here and everyone I know. But we have another request.
Who thinks Ellen DeGeneres will run this story on the Ellen Show if we can get their attention. We're asking from the deepest and most humble/sincere places of our hearts: please, just one more thing...
The link below takes you to a form to submit content to the Ellen Show, and we are begging you to please go suggest Laura for the show.
If you have questions about what to say, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post comments here and I will respond as quickly as possible.
We are so grateful for the financial sacrifices you've all made, and for your love and support.
Raised $6,000 in the last 24 hours!
Passed the $13,000 threshold!
1,500+ views of the YouTube video!
1,100+ shares on Facebook!
Donors from all across the US!
Just one more thing, we hope.
Let's get Laura to dance with Ellen!
Be sure to include the link for this page and the YouTube video created by Anne Fox.
Emily Fox here, Laura's college roommate and one of the voices of this campaign. Just want to update you all and say thank you SO much for your donations, shares, and most of all, prayers.
We (the people who know and love Laura) are so grateful words are not enough.
For those of you finding your way to this page for the first time, and are considering donating, please read the text below. I posted this explanation of my love for Laura and it helped many of my friends to understand: This is the kind of girl who deserves a miracle.
It's always darkest before the dawn. And even before all this, Laura faced personal challenges that devastated her, but now, with this, there's no time to worry about the darkness of days passed.
WE NEED A MIRACLE TO MAKE THIS SURGERY HAPPEN NEXT WEEK. WE NEED THESE LINKS TO GO VIRAL AND WE NEED DONATIONS.
WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS AND CONTINUED LOVE AND SUPPORT.
And if you have any doubts, consider this....
It doesn't matter that you've never met her. It doesn't matter that you had never heard a story about her before this weekend. What matters is that someone you know calls her family, calls her friend, calls her sister in Christ. Calls her when in joy. Calls her when in pain. Calls her.
Laura is the kind of person that can make you laugh so hard you'll think you'll pee your pants. And she's done that herself a handful of times. She's afraid of spiders. Like, paralyzingly. She loves kids. She used to have a fear of dogs because she got bit in the face and needed a bunch of stitches, but she's working on getting past that.
She just went through the hardest time of her life emotionally when she came back from Rwanda in the Spring. And yet she is still faithful to her God. Is still radiating His light. And now she's in physical pain that she doesn't deserve.
She's the kind of person that you don't need to meet to know. She's a gem. A beauty. A firecracker.
I've told everyone I know to treat this situation like it was me in it. Because that's how much she means to me. I've met her. You've met me. I vouch.
PLAN A: A miracle. $155,000 somehow shows up.
PLAN B: A miracle. Mayo Clinic will see me. I'll still need $55,000 and a flight or two, so help me keep going. (and encourage me as I wait in pain)
PLAN C: A miracle. My surgeon finds out my surgery was postponed and hears it was because of finances and helps a girl out.
TO ANYONE WHO IS SUPPORTING! THE MAYO CLINIC HAS AGREED TO SEE ME NEXT WEEK! IF I DON'T HAVE THIS WHOLE AMOUNT TODAY, I CAN SEE THE MAYO CLINIC NEXT WEEK! THIS IS A MIRACLE! PLEASE KEEP SHARING AND FOLLOWING MY JOURNEY! I'LL GIVE ANYONE ANY DOCUMENTATION OR VERIFICATION YOU WANT!!! Either way, I'll be posting tons of photo updates on my journey and you can find those on Instagram! @lareedster
Here's a video of song from a few weeks back.. It's an original.. the quality is super low, but I just thought it might help anyone feel more connected to me as a real person! Help me get back to this love!
Donations (large ones) can be made directly to my surgical account. If you know of a donor that would be willing to give a large sum, this is a great way! My patient account number is on here as a part of the process so it goes directly to my surgery!
In October I began experiencing excruciating pain in my left jaw. I, along with others, thought the pain was simply related to my temporomandibular joint (tmj). I had experienced mild episodes of this pain throughout my entire life. I saw an orthodontist who was hesitant to treat me, as he was certain it was something more. As the pain got worse, I saw another doctor who was also sure it was something more. Several visits to the Emergency Room, and multiple doctor visits including a visit to an ENT gave me no answers. FInally, a close NP suggested I see a neuro specialist. That same night I ended up in the ER once more, where the doctor suggested the same thing. I was able to see a neurologist in Los Angeles on November 4, and he ordered a series of in depth tests, including 3 specialized MRI's.
IN early November my neurologist/neurosurgeon followed up with me and confirmed that my MRI's did in fact show a condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia. In simple words,TN is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the trigeminal nerve as it exits the brain stem. This compression causes the wearing away or damage to the protective coating around the nerve (the myelin sheath).
The path of treatment chosen for me is this: Retrosigmoid Craniectomy and Craniotomy, Endoscopic Exploration of Posterior Fossa with Endoscopic Vascular Decompression of Cranial Nerve(s) and Cranioplasty. Basically, this means they will drill a hole behind my ear, exposing my brain, and find the nerve and separate it from the blood vessel.
My surgery has been scheduled for November 19 in Los Angeles.. the problem?
Because I am uninsured, and at this point applying wouldn't help because the condition already exists, I have to pay out of pocket, upfront.
The discounted price of the surgery is $97,000.00, but because my surgeon is incredible, only half of that is due before surgery--Friday, November 15, at 5 pm PST.
I have, by a miracle, been able to be accepted to the Mayo Clinic next week if this doesn't work out. It is my assumption that, because my surgeon loves me so much, that he will be disappointed when he hears that I was turned away because of finances. God could totally move his heart. But, if that doesn't happen, I have a second option. So I need to keep raising and keep believing.
So.. I need your help! I need your ideas! I need your connections! I need your prayers! I need your love! Please please please post any creative insight you might have on how this could happen! Press in with me for a miracle!
Here is a link to a couple of sites where you can read more about it!
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