Justin is married to his wonderful wife, Michell of 15 years. Justin and Michell both have serious medical conditions. Michell is a local dispatcher, however she has used all of her leave and is on short term disability with the application in for long term disability.
Justin has not been able to come to work, creating a financial burden on both of them that is an added stress.
Justin has allowed me to tell a short version of their story:
Michell has been battling very serious significant medical issues for many years. Her current battle started 9 years ago with a severe medical condition which caused her very serious gastro intestinal complications. After countless tests and MRI's, cat-scans, gastric emptying scans, gall bladder tests and many other countless tests she was diagnosed with gastro-paraylization. Which is a very complicated disease but in short her stomach and intestines have become paralyzed and does not function. Which means she can't eat without vomiting and immense amounts of pain and complications because her stomach no longer works. So a feeding tube was the only option because Michell was not getting the proper nutrition to sustain a healthy life. Learning that living with a feeding tube is not a life we wanted to live a hard decision was made to remove approximately 90% of her stomach in hopes the remaining 10% of her stomach with muscle memory would remember how the stomach is suppose to function.
(After several other hospital visits and being sent back and forth from the hospital to home it was determined that Michell had severe pancreatitis and all of her blood levels were extremely elevated and that we need to act now or her liver, kidneys and lungs would be damaged and death was a possibility) Along with the pancreatitis her liver numbers were now coming back negatively and the fear of liver damage was happening.
Michell has not had any food for over a month and malnutrition was a huge concern. So a decision was made to have a PICC line installed so I could feed my wife through a catheter that was inserted into her arm and goes straight to her heart, which has its own set of complications. So if and when we were to be released from the hospital I now had the responsibility in feeding my wife's nutrition through her arm since she could not eat or drink anything.
It was learned that Michell also has breast cancer. This last recent hospital stays of over a month has completely drained all of her sick, vacation and anytime she has with her employer. So we were forced to have my wife go on leave without pay, which has very hurtful to us financially.
I also have been forced to take a month and a half off just to dedicate the time and effort of taking care of my wife and spending whatever remaining days I have left with her.
Michell is going in for another surgery next week (Second week of July) to try to combat some of the problems she is having.
Any donations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for helping out one of our own.
Just wanted to reach out to you all say your graciousness and your wonderful spirit of raising money for is absolutely heartwarming and no words again will ever convey my appreciation for what you guys do for us and for me personally and my wife every day.
My wife is still struggling with her medical issues. And we are coming up to a year of this battle of trying to save my wife. As I watch her suffer and go through so much. And watching my wife suffer the way she does I don't wish upon anyone. If I could taker her place I would in half a heartbeat. And the battle is not over and we are still fighting. We still have uncertain future for my wife medically. Her pain and nausea and gastroperisis has unfortunately returned and the sleepless nights and the vomiting and the inability to take away my wife's pain is taking its toll on us. With the future of more possible surgeries and a complete gastric bypass in our future is scary. The medical bills and medications and just everyday expenses are starting to weigh us down and slowly drowning us.
Then today March 15th when I got home at 5:30 Me and my wife recieved the most gut wrenching and unsettling news that my wonderful hardworking dedicated wife was terminated from Castlerock police department as a 911 dispatcher. After 9 years of selfless dedication to the town of castle rock. Where my wife has received numerous awards and was the 2nd most senior dispatcher there with 18 years of awarded and dedicated and top notch dispatching experience. The Castle Rock Chief of Police and the dispatch manger made a cowardly decision to terminate my suffering sick wife. They did it through a cowardly email. They couldn't even respect her enough to do it in person. Even after a long years battle we finally reached a point that my wife's doctors released my wife and we gave the town of castle rock a doctors note on March 9th stating that my wife will return to work with modified hours. They still terminated my wife. This has absolutely crushed me and my wife and our spirits. And the uncertainty of our future absolutely scares me to death. But your kindness and your gracious donations Will hopefully keep me and my wife a float just for a little bit longer. With no longer a second income I'm not sure where we go from here or what our future holds. The fear of possibility losing all we have worked for absolutely scares me beyond anything I have ever felt before. After everything me and my wife have been through thus far this is the last thing we need.
But I just wanted to reach out to you all and say once again thank you for being there for me and my wife. Because if it wasn't for you guys and the Aurora Police Department we would have no support at all. So thank you again so much. I have no words that will ever say thanks enough.
I love you guys all and thank you and please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We need them more now than we ever have before.
It's been awhile since I've updated you all on me and my wife's struggles with trying to save her life. Well it's a new year and I wish I had better news but we are still dealing with my wife's feeding tube stoma hole and her illnesses. Last time I updated you all the surgeon performed his last surgery in November. The surgeon used sutures to close the hole to the stomach and surgically removed the hyper granulation tissue that was growing and causing huge complications. During the surgery the surgeon found two large silk sutures that was left inside her. Probably left over from the feeding tube removal surgery. Which caused a large infection in her abdominal cavity that we had no idea she had. It is still not closed 2 and a half months later and she still has a big hole in her stomach that I am still packing and repacking with a foot of gauze multiple times a day. Her stomach is still leaking fluids and unfortunately still causing immense pain and horrific spasms.
We saw the surgeon about 1 month ago. He is also frustrated with the lack of progress. He thinks another surgery is needed but was afraid to do it right away because of all the recent surgeries and trauma my wife has had to suffer in the past 10 months. Also quite frankly he's afraid of causing a stomach leak and casing sepsis which could be deadly if he performs another surgery too soon. So he wants us to wait a bit to try and let her body rest and get stronger before performing another dangerous surgery. I have had to continue packing her wound site everyday and hoping for the best.
Also my wife's gastroparesis symptoms have unfortunately returned and she hasn't been able to eat and has been causing her lots of pain and nausea. So the surgeon is once again concerned with my wife's food intake and if she's getting enough nutrition to help heal her surgery sights and to sustain life. So that's a battle everyday but we are doing our best orally to try and get enough nutrition to sustain life. We are unfortunately on some days only getting about 100 to 120 calories a day. Which is clearly not enough to keep my wife healthy.
We again met with our surgeon 2 weeks ago. I knew it wasn't a good meeting when our surgeon began with "we have to talk ". That's never good. Our surgeon said that my wife just wont heal and he wants to try another life threatening surgery and the surgeon talked us through on what the surgery entails. Our surgeon said that this will be the most extensive and evasive surgery we have had so far out of the other 6 surgeries. The doctor told us with all she has gone through and her current life threatening illnesses and her non existent nutrition intake, this surgery has an unfortunate chance of being deadly or making her illnesses worse. But we also discussed that we have to weigh our current quality of life and if the risk is worth trying something to try and save my wife's life and make her better. Our quality of life is non existent and still can't enjoy life together. We can't go do normal fun stuff with each other or our friends and family. We don't have any type of normalcy or normal life that all of you experience everyday in your life's. I still have to help shower my wife, help her in and out of bed and constantly be vigilant so I don't lose her. So we also discussed with the surgeon that right now the end result of not doing anything is possibly my wife symptoms may get worse or could become deadly. If we have the surgery it's still life threatening but at least we tried something to save her. So me and my wife took 2 days to ourselves last week to think about this extremely difficult decision and we decided we have to try. We have to try and save her. I just hope it wasn’t the wrong choice and I lose her. I struggle with this choice every minute of everyday and I hope I made the right choice.
So today we are having another surgery. What we have to do is go back in and reopen her feeding tube stoma hole that I have been packing for the last two and a half months. The surgeon needs to go in and cut away all the bad tissue and dead tissue that may be causing the giant hole not to close. Then the surgeon is going to open up her abdominal cavity and surgically remove and shave what's left of her small banana sized stomach away from her abdominal wall that was surgically attached for her feeding tube. Then the surgeon has to possibly reconstruct some valves in her stomach and do an exploratory search of her other organs to try and find a possible cause to her ailments. And if that's not enough the surgeon will then possibility have to use what he calls a vacuum bandage. This will be decided if he needs to use it after the surgery or he may just insert a drain tube to drain the infection. But if he has to use the vacuum bandage, it is a bandage that will be placed over her surgical wound cavity and is permanently attached to a vacuum type device. This will provide positive pressure 24/7 inside my wife's wound cavity. This has shown in some patients to help some of the healing process as much as 30%. But my wife is probably that patient it may not work on. So we will be hooked up to this vacuum bandage 24/7 for 5 to 6 weeks. So any where we go we will have to drag this contraption with us for weeks. Then when that is removed I will have to resume packing her wound cavity several times a day with gauze. Also depending on what the surgeon finds we will be in the hospital from 5-7 days and possibly weeks.
We are still on disability and only receiving less than half of my wife's salary after taxes. And being a two income household that has definitely caused some severe hardships and stress of the never ending medical bills and everyday to day expenses have taking their toll. And also the looming possibility of my wife being fired because of her inability to work has caused us unmeasurable amount of fear and stress which also causes my wife healing to cease according to her doctors.
But every day we have together is what we live for and what keeps me getting back up everyday. So for everyone of you that has thought or prayed for us, thank you from the bottom of our heart. And thank you to the countless people and families for the numerous prayers and well wishes. When you don't think something as simple as a text or email or prayer can make a difference, you could not be more mistaken. It makes all the difference in my heart. And knowing me and my wife our a thought in all your busy life's melts my heart and gives me strength to fight another day. THANK YOU ALL!
Now I will leave you with something to think about. Live everyday to its fullest and like it's your last. When your loved ones and friends want to get together or perhaps go to dinner or just get together, do it! And enjoy every moment you have with them. Even on those days you may just want to stay in and not do anything. Just think twice and never take those times for granted. Because I can attest to very well, that you never know if tomorrow they will be gone and those chances you had to make new memories and share some stories and laughs are also gone.
So till next time, take care, support one another and lift each other up when their down. Stay strong and be safe everyday and make it home to see another tomorrow.
Love you all tremendously my friends and family,
Justin has asked that I post an update. Below is an update he sent me:
November 19th, 2015-
It's been a little while since I last reached out an updated you on my wife's condition. I wish I had better news to report but unfortunately we are still battling, still fighting, and still living each day as it was a new day.
Her last surgery was a removal of the feeding tubes because her body was rejecting the feeding tube. The decision was made to have the tubes removed because it was causing her too much pain and discomfort and it just was not livable anymore. Her quality-of-life was no quality at all. The removal of the feeding tube left a gaping hole in her stomach. With enough light I can actually look through the hole and see the inside of her body and stomach. We were told the feeding tube hole would close on its own and heal, however it has not.
Michell's body grew what the doctors call hyper granulation tissue, which in short is bloody living tissue that grows to try and protect itself from foreign objects such as a feeding tube. This hyper granulation tissue became so big it will not go away. It was so painful that she was referred to a wound care nurse. Michell had about six appointments every week with the wound care nurse who would burn and cauterize the hyper granulation tissue with silver nitrate, which burns and melts the flesh away. This is very painful and hurts tremendously. The first couple silver nitrate treatments appeared as if they were working, but the hyper granulation tissue became so strong that it started fighting the enzymes of the silver nitrate off and was growing back at an even more alarming rate.
During one of the treatments the nurse grabbed the hyper granulation tissue with some forceps, cut it off in two different places, and then burned it with silver nitrate. The hyper granulation tissue still grew back after that. Due to the complications it is causing tremendous pain and eating away at the tissue. Michell has a hard time getting around even getting out of bed some days.
Michell has been referred to another surgeon. After the surgeon met with my wife he decided that she would need another surgery to try to alleviate, not fix some of her symptoms. The surgery will be done to try to reconstruct her abdominal wall and she may have an abscess causing her pain.
Justin will have to pack Michell's wound with gauze multiple times a day.
I will keep you informed on how the surgery goes.
December 29, 2015-
The surgeon performed the surgery and used sutures to close the hole to the stomach and removed the hyper granulation tissue and found two large silk sutures that were left inside her. Probably left over from the feeding tube removal surgery. Which caused a large infection in her abdominal cavity that we had no idea she had. It is still not closed and she still has a big hole in her stomach that he has to pack with gauze everyday. Her stomach is still leaking fluids and unfortunately still causing immense pain and horrific spasms.
The surgeon is frustrated with the lack of progress. He thinks another surgery is needed but afraid to do it right away because of all the recent surgeries and trauma Michell has been through in the past 8 months. They will wait about two months to let her body rest.
Michell's gastroparesis symptoms have unfortunately returned and she hasn't been able to eat. The surgeon is concerned with her food intake and if she's getting enough nutrition.
Justin wanted to acknowledge what a wonderful police department he works for and all the support. Justin said the department helps lift him up in his darkest days and it makes it just a bit easier. Justin said, "I also have wonderful friends and family and the complete strangers that have supported us through these difficult times are amazing. So once again no words I can ever say will repay the gratitude that I have towards all of you. You all are wonderful and keep me going on days that I just don't think I can keep going. You help me get up on days that I just don't think I can get up anymore. So I will never ever forget that."
Per Justin, Michell also wanted to pass along a message:
"Every day I’m very grateful for the people that are in my life and to everyone who have helped us. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s messages they have sent and they brought a smile to my face. To see the extent that people cared about us was absolutely amazing. Both of us have dedicated our careers to saving lives, serving the community and helping people and I never thought we would have to turn to the community for help. The out pour of kind words, assistance and donations are overwhelming and words can’t begin to say thank you. One thing I have learned during this is sometimes people don’t know what to say to someone who is sick or going through something. Start by just saying “hello”. Many times it would just make me smile that someone just thought of me. And believe it, when I see someone who needs help, I will say “hello”. Justin and I pay it forward when opportunities have arised and will continue to do so. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers and keep the kindness going and just say “hello”."
I just wanted to write you all again and give you a quick update on how me and my wife are doing. First I wanted to start off by trying to convey my complete humble gratitude to all of the kindness, support, prayers and uplifting comments. This is the most difficult time of our life and it's the kindness of people like you that help us get up everyday to fight another day. There are not enough words in the world that would ever convey my complete and utter appreciation for what everyone has done for us and how much love we have been shown. Thank you so very much.
Last time I updated you guys me and my wife were preparing for yet another surgery to try and alleviate some of her symptoms she is suffering from. We had the surgery which proved to not be successful. After the surgery the doctor said that he observed some signs in her stomach that concerned him so several biopsies were taken and sent off for testing. My wife's nausea and pain actually became worse after the surgery and everyday life became very difficult for her. Most of her days were spent trying to be normal but then her symptoms would take over and the rest of the day was spent battling nausea and pain and complete fatigue.
So after another consultation with our doctors our options were discussed. Which included possibility of another surgery after barely a week from the last surgery. So after weighing our options we decided to make another difficult decision to have another dangerous surgery. We were warned by her doctors that this next surgery is risky and could worsen her condition if not possibly take her life because of the the evasiveness of the surgery and because her body still hasn't healed from the last 3 surgeries. But once again the condition my wife is in currently it is no quality of life for anyone to have to try and live with. So we decided we have to try. We have to try and save her life with another risky surgery. This next surgery is scheduled for early next week. This surgery will consist of reconstructing certain valves in her stomach and intestines and working on her ducts and other organs inside her body to try and save her. During the surgery the surgeons will also install two separate feeding tubes into her body. One of the feeding tubes will be placed into the remaining 10% of her stomach and the second feeding tube will be installed into her bowels/intestines area. The feeding tube in her intestines will be where I'll have to now learn how to feed my wife's nutrition through instead of her catheter in her arm. The second feeding tube in her stomach will be placed to try and help her symptoms of nausea and pain. Basically that means if my wife becomes sick and needs to vomit instead of vomiting through her esophagus she will vomit the contents through the feeding tube that's placed in her stomach. We were also advised that the two feeding tubes will most likely be installed for the remainder of my wife's life. We were then advised that to try and heal her body, stomach, intestines, liver and pancreas and other vital organs. There is a possibility that my wife will not be able to ingest any food orally for 6 months to a year.
So everyone that is the most current update since the last time I spoke to you all. Right now every new day we get to spend together is a good day. So until our next surgery we will just keep focusing on that.
So once again no words will ever convey our complete gratitude to your kindness and there is no life long enough that I could ever live that would be able to repay the generosity shown to us. Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Thank you all! And love you ALL!!!
Wish I had money to donate. I have Gastroparesis too and am also on TPN and have been for two and a half years. So I am offering my experience. Feel free to PM me anytime if you need someone to talk too. Know TON can be overwhelming at first, but for those of us who need it it is a life saving thing! Sending prayers and love bed hugs. Kerri aka Ahiru
Praying for you and your family. Sounds exactly like your wife has Gastroparesis. I have a teenage daughter who has the idiopathic GP and the believe that is was caused by a virus years ago that never fully exited her body. There is no cure, but there are treatment options. GOD has this!
God bless.u both and ur families..wish i.jad money to.donate ..I will pray for u both ..THANK YOU THANK YOU a million times for.being a hero to many including myself..listening to youre story broke my jeart but also.brought joy knowing that u are an awsome.person ..may god watch and protect you n ur wife ..god bless you and once again THANK YOU FOR BEING AN AWSOME HUSSBAND FRIEND AND OFFICER U ARE TRULY AN ANGEL..GOD BLESS
I am not able to donate although I really wish I could. God bless you for your heroic action and it's people like you that make this world a better place to live in. I will keep you in my prayers and will continue. i cant express how your story touched my heart
Sending hugs your way today with gratitude for what you did for our family 4 years ago...and praying you feel the love in return tenfold.
Griz: Thank you for your update...what challenges you are both going through. Prayers and good tthoughtshoughts to you and your wife. Remember, God never gives you more than you can handles. Those who keep optimistic and cherish each day are the ones who will find the biggest rewards.
Just want you and your wife to know that I will be praying for you. Thank you for your service. I won't forget.
The wound vac is amazing!! My dad has had one for three months now, it has sped up his healing time from 6 months down to 4. Keep positive. When she makes it that far, the wound vac will make a huge difference!!
Praying for you and your wife and asking God to help you with this burden!!!
May God bless you both and heal you. You are in my prayers
This is such a worthy cause. My heart goes out to them both
Extra prayers now with this 2nd theater shooting in Lafayette, LA. What is happening here with Michell & Justin proves that compassion, hope, prayer & integrity are more powerful then anything. ~We ALL love you both.
Thinking of you both and so sorry for what you are going through! I will say prayers daily for you both and your family.