Long road to recovery

Previously on 'This is My Life'

Dear Friends,

My considerable health challenges lead me to ask for the help of my wonderful friends and family.
Around 3-15-2021, I will be heading into another super major surgery, during which my surgeons will literally gut me like a fish, move my intestines to the table next to me, then attempt to find 2 holes or Fistlae, repair them, replace the abdominal mesh that holds the insides inside, then put it all back as well as possible.
This surgery is indeed as bad as it sounds. I know because I had this type of procedure in 2017 to close my enormous belly wound. 

My poor gut has been in extreme pain ever since and has undergone 2 additional surgeries and 19 months of a drain sticking out of my belly, much like a giant Capri Sun.

I am a fiercely independent person and have always taken care of myself in these situations. This time I won't be able to do for myself for a good 6-8 weeks. This will be incredibly expensive for me. Between just getting fed and keeping the lights on, its going to be much more than I can source myself. So I ask you for your generosity at a critical time. This will be a very dangerous surgery and recovery. 

I really cannot adequately express my appreciation to those who have helped and are helping me along this very difficult journey. 

If you can, please consider donating $5, $20, or $100- really any amount will help. 

Thank you for all your help. Here’s to better days ahead!

Jen-Jen Haehnel

Ok, so all of that happened. Boy was I in for a big surprise.
When I went into the whole surgery thing I had severely underestimated the sheer hell I was in for. 
First, the surgery lasted 5 days. They started on Monday and finished on Friday. I was in a ketamine induced nightmarish semi- coma until Thursday evening when they woke me and told me not to move because my abdomen was still wide open. I also had a breathing tube down my throat so I couldn't talk and my hands were restrained because they don't want you coming to and panicking and pulling it out. But the restraints were at such an angle that my hands were screaming in pain and subsequently the nerves became damaged as a result.
Thank God I was only conscious for a couple of hours. It was real agony. 
The next day when they went back in to finish the surgery, at some point I DIED. I distinctly remember being given a choice: stop the pain completely, go back and deal with all the pain and misery that would follow. I chose to continue. My reasons were crystal clear to me, chief among them being I'M NOT DONE YET! My first thought was for my two beautiful babies. I'm not done being there for them. I relish every single day on this planet. I have a deep and very real appreciation for life. 
So, when I opened my eyes on that Friday afternoon, it was the best moment of my life. Another chance. 
But, there were horrible consequences that came with it. I was in more pain than I have ever experienced and had a gaping hole in my belly roughly 8"x10" with 2 intestines sticking out of it.
Now, 21 months later the wound is still open with those intestines wiggling and waving at me (the system called peristalsis) and everything I eat or drink comes out of that horrible creepathon I call a 'shit volcano'. 
I'm physically very weak and my nutrition comes intravenously. I can eat but only a very small amount is actually absorbed. There are 4 big holes in my intestines and everything I ingest leaks out of me. It's a nearly impossible situation to manage. There's a lot of pain and since the whole thing is open to the world, there's a lot that goes into keeping the wound properly protected and keeping the output in. It's a constant battle and requires a lot of dressing supplies, most of which are not covered by insurance. Medicare really blows.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm absolutely mortified to ask for help. However, my income, which is just social security of $949 a month. My rent is $750, utilities run about $125 per month, and the rest
is supposed to cover food, phone, dressing supplies... the list goes on as any of you knows. Supplies alone are over $1000 out of pocket each month so I've gotten myself into about $15000 in credit card debt.
I'm loathe to ask but the need is great.
I should be able to get my surgery to try to close everything up and repair the fistulas in my guts around March of 2023 at the Mayo clinic by a badass surgeon who is also a professor of surgery at the Mayo medical school.
That's the hope. Meanwhile I keep from going crazy from being near bed-ridden for the last year and a half with visits from family and friends, but especially my beautiful beasties, Bryce and Bailey. They are my motivation and my reason. Although I don't get to see them nearly enough, my little loves keep me going.

I really felt the need to update this as it was only telling half the story...a prologue really...

So, anyway after all my babbling, if you can see fit to donate, any and everything helps.
Thanks for listening and the love you've given. 

Jen Jen

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Jen-Jen Haehnel
St. Paul, MN

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