Hi! I'm Michelle and this is me (I'm the one on the right in the picture!) with my significant other, Chris, a few years ago at Disney World when I could still travel and move around with ease. Fast forwarding to today I need to have major back surgery and due to insurance issues, I need to raise at least $6,000 to cover what insurance will not cover and the deductible that my insurance needs me to meet, along with a few additional things like a walker, etc to use while I am in recovery.
One day about two years ago I bent over to pick up a piece of paper and was not able to get back up. In tears and searing pain, I called for an ambulance and they took me to the hospital where they did an MRI. I had somehow herniated several discs and no one knows exactly why. And boy DID I herniate those discs. While trying all the conservative options for treatment, my back just got worse and worse. Those discs became so bad that there's no fluid left inside them and they've now collapsed onto my nerves on the left side of the spine and I'm losing feeling in my left leg, which can sometimes last for hours at a time. The longer the discs stay this way, the more I risk permanent paralysis. And now? I spend nearly every day just lying on my back, crying, exhausted from the extreme pain I'm now in, and never being able to have a moment's escape from the pain.
They ran test after test to make absolute sure that I needed such an extreme surgery...and I passed each test 100%, including the dreaded Discogram (not even close by a longshot toward being as fun as that might sound). So I met with my surgeons and after many long talks with them and other surgeons, fusion was the only option I had left. But they have new less invasive fusion options now and so my time in the hospital with be minimal and the recovery time slashed in half! So I'm scheduled for surgery in January and I can hardly wait to finish be on my way to being out of pain!
And that's where I need your help...since I hurt my back and we moved to New York, I haven't been able to work. I have insurance but it is it only covering 80% of the surgery (and boy was it a fight to get them to cover that much!)...which originally left me with having to pay $40,000 (the 20%). Well, after hearing my story, my surgeons decided that they would waive all the pre-op visits and post-op visits and that I could pay the "cash payment" equivalent to the $40k that I would be left with and do the surgery for a flat fee of $5k. I will then need to pay a $500 deductible for my insurance to cover the $160k (so I will pay an additional $500 to cover the 80% that insurance will pay). And then there are some additional costs of medications and things that I will need during recovery.
So encouraged by all of you, my Facebook friends, I'm starting this fundraiser! And because I'm taking my life back, I thought "who was I and who do I want to be when I'm recovered?" Someone that loves adventure, laughing, and making people smile. And I'll be blogging much much more about my healing adventure and how your help has helped me at http://spineadventures.com/ where I talk about what it's like to go through all the needed tests, the surgery, and the recovery. And through my blog I hope to help provide a resource for others facing the same thing. I've waded through a LOT of scary stuff on the web so in the hope of helping clear things up for others I will be brutally honest about it all if it will help someone else! And it will provide everyone who wants to know all the gory details with, uh, that resource too. ;)