Holly's spinal surgery fund

On Monday, August 19th, 2013, Holly will be undergoing spinal surgery to remove a herniation on her two lower vertebrae. The ultimate result will be that she can slowly begin to live a more normal life.

On Thursday, August 15th, we will have been married for 4 years. Our life together has been plagued by this affliction for the better part of our relationship. We don't know what happened to cause it, but it's altered our lives at one turn or another.

We were so incredibly fortunate to be in a position a year and a half ago to put a down payment on a house. We never thought that we would be able to do this at any point in our lives in Los Angeles. We've been able to keep up with utilities and mortgage payments, but Holly's back continued to degenerate and as a result, we've not been able to maintain any kind of a savings. Over the past 5 years, we've tried so many different approaches to ease her pain: medication, physical therapy, chiropractic visits, massage, 3 steroidal spinal injections and countless checkups and diagnostics with 3 different specialists. On top of all this, 3 years ago she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia; a disorder that targets the nervous system, which causes nerve endings to become hyper sensitive and thus hold onto pain for much longer than normal. We often laugh at the hand she's been dealt, as there's not much else we can do. Earlier on this year, she developed Shingles, which, coupled with her Fibromyalgia just enhanced the amount of pain she was in from day to day.

Because of her condition, my wife left her full time position at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (where she'd worked for 10 years), in order to find a job with less hours and less stress. This, while easing her pain a bit, has hurt us even more financially. Our credit cards are stretched to the limit, we're paying off 2 personal loans that have long since been tapped and I've had to find more creative ways of pushing car payments, utilities and even our mortgage payments to the limit of their deadlines; truly living paycheck to paycheck.
Four weeks ago, Holly called me in the middle of one of my work shifts to tell me that she couldn't sit, nor lay down, nor could she feel her left foot:I immediately raced home and took her to the emergency room. After 3 hours of watching her in agony, after 2 injections of pain killers, the second of which was "as strong as they could give", we went home nearly in the same state as we arrived.

After her surgery on the 19th, my wife will begin to heal, but the challenges that we face won't be over. Our insurance will only cover so much of the procedure. Following that, she will need to be virtually immobile for 2 weeks after the operation. Then, she will not be able to exert herself for 4-6 weeks, thus drastically limiting her ability to work. To aid in the healing process, she will have to undergo extensive rounds of physical therapy.

With all I've tried to do to keep us afloat, I cannot support my family on my income alone. This is more information than I'm comfortable sharing with the world, but the livelihood of my family is at stake, so I swallow my pride and make this plea for help. I ask for your help, in whatever way you can. I've tried to be a strong person, for my wife, so that she won't have to endure more than she's had to. I ask for your help. Thank you.
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Brian Johnson 
Los Angeles, CA
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