My name is Jessica White. I am a single mother who lives in Idaho. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 13. I spent my middle school and high school years on and off all kinds of maintenance medications, having several flares throughout the years. This is a very disabling and embarrassing condition for an adult, let alone a teenager.
In my early twenties, I had my one and only child, a daughter named Paige. She is my entire world. I became very ill when she was first born and had to quit nursing because I started taking so many medications to attempt to control this flare. Needless to say, she turned out perfect anyway. I fought through my twenties having flares almost every year. The quickest way to stop a flare is to take prednisone which is a drug that is very hard on your entire body. I have taken prednisone countless times.
When I turned 30, I had the worst flare of all as I was going through a divorce. In January of 2005, my condition was so bad that I had to have my entire colon removed which resulted in 4 subsequent surgeries and a temporary ileostomy all within 5 months. I was able to have the ileostomy reversed and the doctors created what is called a Jpouch. I continued to have symptoms, however they were a bit different, since I no longer had a colon. Doctors determined that I have Crohn's Disease and not Ulcerative Colitis. My condition continued to get more severe, making it necessary for me to use the restroom up to 18 times a day. I developed a fistula that doctors attempted to repair twice, both were unsuccessful. At this point, my doctor thought it was best to create another temporary ileostomy to give my digestive system and bowels time to heal. I had severe skin irritation and burning around the ileostomy/stoma site. I was hospitalized 5 times in 2011 due to complications with my ileostomy and fistula. After the second attempt to repair my fistula in June of 2011, I was not able to return to work and still have not returned due to complications around every corner.
It was at this point that my local doctor referred me to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. I had my first appointment with them in December of 2011. They were unable to locate or identify the fistula, so their only option was to do an ileostomy reversal and hope for the best. I continued to see evidence of a fistula and was still using the restroom up to 18 times a day. I have tried nearly every medication available to control symptoms of Crohn's Disease with no luck. I decided to visit the Mayo Clinic one more time in August of this year. They were finally able to identify the fistula and because of its position and lack of healing despite the medications, they recommended a permanent ileostomy. I thought I had mentally and emotionally prepared myself for this result as I assumed this was my last option. I had the surgery in early September to remove the Jpouch and create a permanent ileostomy. After recovering from the lengthy 6 hour procedure and a couple days in ICU, I was finally taken to a regular room. After the medications started to wear off, and although I thought I had come to grips with the fact that this was now a permanent situation....I suddenly realized that THIS IS FOREVER.
The good news is that I feel better than I have since 2005 when my colon was removed. The bad news is that I have thousands of dollars of medical bills hanging over my head. Luckily I was able to COBRA my insurance from my last job at a premium cost of $485 per month. So I do have great insurance that has paid quite a bit. That unfortunately will end in February 2013. I am also lucky to have a mother who has been willing to support me and my daughter financially through all of this. I do intend to pay her back every penny. I will use every donation to pay my mother back and for past due medical expenses that I have incurred.
For the first time I am reaching out to everyone I know for help. If you would please find it in your heart, and donate as much as you can spare for my family, we would be so grateful. I thank you for your time, and for any contribution you share for my cause.
I have direct and only access to all proceeds so that I can use them to cover my medical expenses.
- Donessa Mahoney
- jason h.
- Jason Legner
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