Anna P's Jaw Surgery
If I could only explain even half of what Anna has gone through the last year, it would be enough to make any grown man cry. Last October, Anna, the love of my life, was the victim of a horrible car accident. Before this life-changing accident, my girlfriend was the happiest, funniest, most adventurous girl I knew…
In the late afternoon of October 22 2014, Anna and her sister Marissa, were on their way to visit their grandmother at the local hospice center. As they were driving to hospice preparing to visit with their grandmother for the last time, a vehicle driven by an unlicensed and underinsured driver came out of nowhere and blindsided their vehicle on the passenger side, right where Anna was sitting! In an instant Anna’s life would be changed forever.
In the beginning Anna was strong. She was honestly not immediately aware of how catastrophic the damage to her jaw and neck were. During her initial search for answers she left experienced medical physicians baffled because her injuries are so complex and complicated. Anna’s new life as an accident victim has been a life spent in multiple Doctor’s offices. I have watched my girlfriend become lost in a maze of ineffective treatments by a collection of doctors that has left her with unrealistic expectations and considerable false hope. She was told she would be okay in a few months and today, over a year later she is living in continuous overpowering pain and discomfort that has progressed dramatically over time. Her life is literally dictated by her jaw and joint pain while her symptoms continue to amplify weekly. This has taken a serious toll on her spirit and personal morale and has left me in state of despair.
To see my Anna suffer on a daily basis and be powerless to help her has been my own personal tragedy in itself. Just a couple of months prior to the accident, we happily took the step of moving in together. Living with Anna while she has suffered has revealed three important things that I want to share with you...One is how damn tough my girlfriend truly is, both mentally and physically. Anna has refused to let her injuries completely stop her from working or living her life. She is the bravest, strongest woman I know! Second is how traumatic an injury to the jaw and face actually is. I honestly cannot begin to describe what she has gone through. I feel like words simply do her no justice, and even living together its still hard for me to put it into perspective. Third, witnessing and experiencing her desperate search for medical help has given me a whole new respect for anyone with loved ones who suffer from injuries and illnesses that are not easily diagnosed, treated, or worse covered by insurance. It is a beyond stressful, heartbreaking, overwhelming process and I can only wish that none of you will ever have to go through anything similar to this.
On top of the absurdly frustrating fact there are very few credible doctors ANYWHERE who can treat such a serious condition of TMD, we received the most devastating news ever from her medical insurance provider. Her insurance company told us that ANY treatment related to TMJ/TMD is EXCLUDED, will not be covered at all from her medical benefits and I found the same exemption within my own insurance companies policy! It was both offensive and outrageous to find out in a situation like this. Over and over again she keeps getting kicked when shes down, it is so painful for me to see the one girl I want to protect most carry on such agony.
Anna was finally referred to a world-renowned TMD maxillofacial surgeon; but of course with a big catch…Dr. Piper is based in St. Petersburg Florida!!! After a 5 month waiting list and just 2 days shy of a year from the accident she saw Dr. Piper. 1,300 miles and an actual 14 hour consultation, the doctor went ahead and delivered Anna, her father, and myself a lengthy complicated mix of exceedingly difficult news to bear. The problematic part was that Piper’s evaluation revealed the devastating reality that Anna’s injuries are a lot worse than other doctors had previously diagnosed. This was easily the most stressful, longest day of Anna’s life and I could not help but admire how brave she was once she learned about her long and difficult road ahead, he told us this is will be life-long. The doctor laid out what seems like an effective game plan with a long-term strategy in her only hope to find some relief, but again, the bad news… the plan only includes one of the most difficult of all surgeries, with no health coverage, and it must be performed in Florida.
This is the reason why I knew I had to start a Go Fund Me page in Anna’s honor. She needs this surgery to be whole once again! The out-of-pocket expense of the surgery alone is $60,000 and she needs to raise, borrow, and come up with this large sum of money by April 6, 2016. I would do anything to have my girl back to her normal playful self, and to see her enjoying life. Your generous help would go beyond words of appreciation! Please help me save the love of my life! Please help save Anna!
This is my beautiful girlfriend and I at a wedding over the summer before the accident.
I just purchased flights and lodging for my first of many follow-ups! These last 2 months have definitely been a challenging roller coaster ride, which I knew prior to surgery, but living it is much different! The pain on the left side has improved but obviously still healing as I have many more months of initial recovery. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the right side, I have run into some trouble with the healing process. Right now I am truly worried as the pain is worse now then before but trying to stay optimistic. I wish there was more “Dr. Pipers” closer to home. This past week in particular was very scary; things seem to have taken a turn in the wrong way. I’m looking forward to seeing my scans at the first follow-up and getting some answers.
Thank you all for the support, it means the world to me! I will be in touch as my journey continues.
Her condition has become so intense recently that in all the years I have known her I have never seen her have such a rough time. I remember when she would have one bad day a week and now it’s just like the opposite. It’s heartbreaking to see. Even since I’ve posted this GFM I’ve noticed her take on new painful obstacles. Living with her, supporting her during her most vulnerable moments...the word "heartbreaking" sadly does not even come close. Between her debilitating symptoms and overwhelming anxiety I am looking forward to leaving in two weeks and beginning our road to recovery. Please continue to share and donate, we will keep you updated! I love you babe!
One of my biggest fears is the fact that my doctor is so far away. That means I need to fly to Tampa and find a place to stay in any kind of emergency situation... that’s scary. That and waking up from the surgery not able to open my mouth, eat or speak! I have never been so intimidated by anything before. It’s going to be a long road, I mean 2-3 years kind of long, but I know this is my only hope of getting my life back. And I want my life back. It’s been almost 4 months since I scheduled this surgery and now it finally feels real, time to book the flights!
I just wanted to share with you all, that thanks to you and your generosity my two-week stay is booked! Thank you and please keep sharing!
Wow! Everytime I look on here or Facebook I see a new heartfelt post! 50 donations in only 2 days is absolutely amazing and honestly unexpected! I am so happy and blessed to recieve all of your generous support, it means so much to me! Reading all of your posts and seeing so many shares has brought tears to my eyes and has really given me new hope. I just want to say thank you to each and everyone of you!!! Lastly, a big thank you to my boyfriend, Justin for creating this in my honor....I'm terrified of this horrific and long recovery that lies ahead, but if it gives me relief it will all be worth it. Thank you again for helping me to get my life back!
So thrilled to see so much activity for Anna in a single day! Justin's account of Anna's ordeal is beautifully written and precisely on point. As Anna's stepmom, it's been heartbreaking to witness as I have known Anna for 11 years and have never seen her cry before over anything. She's a tough cookie and a real trooper, an adventurer who parachutes out of airplanes and snowboards as a hobby and always, ALWAYS puts other people first. With Anna, it's not "All About Anna" but all about the people she loves first... But this chronic pain in her jaw is a game changer. Her dad and I have watched her break down in tears again and again, just from the pain, and at other times from the overwhelming stress of the medical maze she has to navigate through. She is scared and panicked and who wouldn't be when one's future is so uncertain. Kudos to Justin for putting up her profile where her family and friends can show their support - and others just learning about Anna & TMJ & the arduous ordeal of TMJ's victims and find the heart to give. May all this support fill Anna up with inspiration & hope until her operation in April! We love you, Anna!!
Dustin Adkins I would love to talk with you on this. If you have Facebook can you send me a message? Or a cell number
Anna, we've never met. I'm a total stranger. But I typed Dr. Piper into GoFundMe to see if anyone has ever used this site to rise money for his surgery. Looks like you're on the road to a success story. I'm so happy for you and if I weren't saving money for my own journey I'd donate to your recovery. I'm so happy for you and your family and hope recovery goes well. If you ever want to talk to someone who is going through the same troubles, I'd love to pick your brain about Dr. Piper. I went down and had the consultation with him last year and really need both sides done. I just can't afford it. I'd love to have a chance to pick up any tips from you I can about Dr. Piper, the surgery, and how you managed to pay for it. Anyway, best of luck to you and your family! -Dustin
A big sisters plea: I can't believe my sister's surgery is 2 weeks from today!! It's honestly surreal that in less than a week we have to travel to Florida for Anna to undergo an intense 9 hour surgery! For those of you that know my sister, you know that she's an adventure seeker; live in the moment, jump out of of airplanes and swim with sea turtles kind of girl! This accident has been a nightmare for her and for us, as her family, to watch her become a shell of the person we all love and hope to get back someday. My sister is truly the strongest person I know. It has been gut wrenching to watch her these past months. Her injuries and daily chronic pain has robbed her of the life she had. At this point she's lucky if she can make it through a full day of work let alone do the things she loved to do. It kills me to watch her suffer and be helpless to intervene. It's so crazy that this is what our lives have been like since our car accident. Anna and I say all the time that we still can't believe this is the result of us getting t-boned on the way to say our last goodbyes to our grandmother. I can only hope and pray that this surgery is Anna's first step to a very long road of recovery. It's so overwhelming and scary to think about how much she will have to go through. Her surgery & its recovery isn't going to easy, but I pray that it will bring an end to the intense pain that's been causing her to throw up and leaves her rendered incapacitated and losing pay because she can't make it out of bed let alone into work!! All this coupled, with the fear of losing your job, no insurance coverage, medical providers being over 1000 miles away is enough to make the strongest person feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Anna needs all the strength, hope, love and support she can get right about now. Any donation is much appreciated! No amount is too small! Every bit will help to ease our stress and lighten the financial burden for my sister. Thank you isn't enough to express my gratitude to all those who have donated, shared & supported my sister & our family ❤️
Wow! So many AMAZING people sharing your story and donating! We all want to see you get better and every day you are that much closer to relief! We all can't wait to see that beautiful smile and hear your infectious laugh again! Love you so very much!
Its so amazing to see all the support that has poured in the past few days! This really brings hope and light to Anna knowing she isnt in this alone! Every dollar and share is one step closer to her getting her life back! Anna youre an amazing person and its easy to see how many peoples lives you have touched along way who are here for you! Stay strong ! Love you to pieces!