Nadine's Major Surgery Fund
The doctors found I was born with my digestive organs in the wrong places - a disorder known as Intestinal Malrotation. My small intestines sit vertically on the right side of my abdomen, my appendix on the left, my colon sits vertically along my left side from my ribcage on down, and has been deemed “inert” – its muscles do not move properly. I am also missing parts of my digestive system. Scar tissue was stretched across and pressing down on all my digestive organs. I had an initial surgery to remove the scar tissue – with the hope of alleviating the problems.
It did not.
I now find myself unable to eat solid food without pain and abdominal distention – (at times after eating I look like a 57 year-old woman who is 6 months pregnant) – I have a severe inability to process food and digest solids.
Stated simply: Food doesn’t go down, eventually swells up my body and doesn’t come out for sometimes over a week or more. Food also causes hot flashes, passing out, and pain. Every day, my routine is to not eat all day (a small bowl of soup can feel like Thanksgiving Dinner) and then wait for dinner time – do the best I can – then sit up late into the night until 3 or 4 AM often, hours after eating a small amount, until I can comfortably lie down to try and sleep. And I continue to gain weight. Some have speculated that the reason for that is that my body is in starvation mode and not absorbing what it needs. This is every day, 24 hours a day.
I have been lucky to find an experienced surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio who can help. He is the head of the Digestive Disease Institute and Transplant Center at The Cleveland Clinic and has extensive experience with congenital disorders like mine. I have friends from other parts of the country, who also had my rare condition, had surgery there, and now live normal lives.
It is an exciting prospect. The surgeon requires a commitment to stay in the Cleveland area up to six weeks for surgery and follow-up, until I would be released to fly home with my husband. After that a 6-month recovery is expected (no driving the first 3 months) but, I would be home.
The surgery has been preauthorized by my insurance company and estimated to cost around $200K. Luckily, that will cover most of the expense, but not all. In addition to the uncovered medical expenses, there will be airfare for two, lodging in a studio/kitchenette hotel room for possibly six weeks, rental car, and other miscellaneous living expenses.
I am in need of $15,000 to make this dream of normal life a reality.
Any amount of help you can give will be appreciated beyond words. While I do not look forward to major surgery, I do look forward to living the second chapter of my life more normally - being able to enjoy the simple things – like being able to eat a meal without pain and lying down to sleep.
Please watch this very short video of my highly-esteemed surgeon, Dr. Kareem Abu-Elmagd, which conveys his warm and compassionate nature toward his patients and his work:
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