Hello friends and family, as many of you may already know our longtime friend and school mate, Marian Gossett Sparkman is in need of a necessary surgical procedure to allow her to swallow solid food again. Unfortunately, as with many other hard working Americans, Marian has no health insurance and will not be able to receive this much needed procedure without an initial down payment of $3,800. The hospital is requiring a "˜down payment' before the surgery can be scheduled. There will be additional fees for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and other costs related to the surgery including her recovery time when she will be unable to work for a time.
During the past year Marian has suffered with the symptoms of Achalasia, a rare swallowing disorder that affects about 1 in every 100,000 people. Symptoms usually get steadily worse and include difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, nocturnal cough and regurgitation of food and liquids. Marian is experiencing all of these and overall weakness due to lack of nutrition.
She has been unable to swallow solid food for the past few months and has lost a substantial amount of weight. Marian is living on a liquid diet of water and Ensure and even those are difficult to swallow. She also is able to eat a thinned out version of rice pudding.
Marian's job consists mostly of manual, physical labor and unlike a desk job she is burning more calories and continues to lose weight, which is why she will need to have a Heller myotomy procedure as soon as possible.
This surgery is performed laparoscopically, using instruments and a television camera that are passed into the abdomen through small abdominal incisions. The surgeon cuts the muscles at the end of the esophagus and at the top of the stomach.During the operation for esophageal myotomy, surgeons often perform an additional procedure called a fundoplication in which a portion of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus to prevent the reflux of stomach contents. Keep in mind there is no cure for this condition; however, the myotomy will help to allow the esophagus to "˜empty.'
Slowly, over a number of years, people with achalasia experience an increasing difficulty in eating solid food and in drinking liquids. As their condition advances, achalasia can cause considerable weight loss and malnutrition. People with achalasia also have a small increase in the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Other problems that can arise are pneumonia caused by food passing into the lower airways, pulmonary infection, lung infection and several other issues.
An account has been set up for Marian and we are asking for donations in any amount. Please know that there is no amount too small to give. Anything you can offer will be deeply appreciated. Thank you for your generosity.
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