Brandon's Operation Get My Life Back

So I'm sure most of you that know me have figured out by now, I'm sick...

In fact, I've been sick for the past three and a half years.  I have something called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) There is no cure really, just medication and Gatorade, LOTS of Gatorade. It is extremely difficult to live life like this. I don't even know that most people would call what I am living, life. I am unable to work a regular full-time job, Im not supposed to drive, I live back at home with my parents, and to top it all off I have over $100,000 in medical bills... Basically I lost everything, except God and my family. But I have found hope - there has been consistent help for people with my condition at the POTS Treatment Center in Dallas. That is why I need your help. Here's my story:



I'll never forget the day my life changed: December 29, 2010. The year 2010 was a GREAT year: 1) I re-dedicated my life to Christ, 2) I was working in the church, 3) I had my own apartment, 4) I had a great job, and I WAS HAPPY!!! It was the year I preached my first sermon. My family and I had grown closer than ever before. Everything was perfect. Then came December 29th. I was preparing for New Year's Eve service at my church. I had this pain in my side, which my mother was convinced was constipation lol, But I knew something was wrong. I got to the hospital and found out I had appendecitis. This was not at all alarming. The doctor said it was routine and I'd be out in a day or two. On the third day in the process of being discharged, I began to cough up blood and found out I had pneumonia. I ended up being in the hospital for six days. Six of many many days to come. My life would never be the same. 



Shortly after that, I had stomach pains (which I thought was from the appendectomy) which turned out to be gastrointestinal erosion. Then came hallucinations... which included a fully armed gunman at my job and a fight with an attacker during a "home invasion," which ended in the complete destruction of my bedroom. (I won the fight by the way)  Something was clearly wrong.



On April 27, 2011, while standing in my parent's living room, it felt like someone shoved an ice pick into the top of my head. It was a pain like I had never felt. It's a pain that I have felt almost every day since. To top it all of, despite numerous hospital visits and tests, everything came back "normal" and NOBODY believed I was sick. Hospitals had me red flagged as someone looking for attention or pain meds. But my job didn't have a problem believing it. They put me on short term (VERY short term) disability. By June of 2011, I had seen six different doctors and they all decided that I was either crazy or depressed. In fact, during yet ANOTHER visit to the ER, they decided they wanted to have me committed. After my mother and I realized what was going on, I signed an AMA (release against medical advice) and pretty much gave up. 



In August 2011, my dad and sister came into the living room and found me on the floor. I had no recollection of what happened. I went to the emergency room ... again "Everything looks normal sir." (I still hear this a lot)  I was referred to a cardiologist who put me on a 24 hour heart monitor. Then they discovered I had an irregular heartbeat... Irregular in my case meant consistently really REALLY fast.  On top of this the blackouts were now happening on a regular basis... I felt like things couldnt get any worse, boy was I wrong.



I was hospitalized to figure out why my heart rate was staying so high. During the hospitalizations, they discovered my blood pressure was doing some "interesting" things. I was sleeping and my blood pressure shot up to 189/121, ten minutes later it dropped back to normal. Then I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and my heart rate shot up to 140. So they put me in the bed and took my blood pressure, which now read 85/42. All this occurred in less than 12 hours. Doctor after doctor threw up their hands, not knowing what to do, but in the end, always asking me to see a psychiatrist. But I was clearly not crazy.  



Fast foward to November 2012, after another year of these erratic symptoms, I was finally diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome).  It was such a relief to know it wasn't all in my head as some doctors had told me. However just when I was breathing that sigh of relief I was told, "Embrace the fact that your life will NEVER be the same." I went to a POTS specialist and received a treatment plan. I have now been following the plan for over a year. Things have gotten a little better. No hallucinations. Very few blackouts. But I am still very debilitated. My doctor agrees, something further needs to be done.



This syndrome is a result of a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system, so the symptom list seems endless. I experience severe fatigue, abdominal pain, dizziness, pre-syncope, nausea, vomiting, orthostatic hypotension, brain fog, joint pain, muscle aches, chest pains, and all kinds of other symptoms. When lying down, my heart beats at about 70 beats a minute but standing, my heart rate jumps to 110-140 beats per minute. The most scary symptom is pre-syncope which is what occurs right before fainting. 



I think I have found an answer at The POTS Treatment Center in Dallas Texas. POTS is a result of my Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) going haywire. The ANS is something that, with training from doctors, people can learn to regulate. The therapy that the treatment center offers is a combination biofeedback, exercise, nutrition, relaxation of the ANS, physiological stress management, and regulation of heart rate. The POTS Treatment Center has given many people suffering from POTS their life back. Here is their website:

and here are quite a few testimonials:

http://www.potstreatmentcenter.com

http://www.youtube.com/user/PotsTreatment





I actually had the opportunity to meet Lisa, one of the ladies in the testimonials, who could not walk more than 2 or 3 minutes when she went to the treatment center, but can now excercise and take cross-country road trips. When I watch the videos of others describing how so many other treatments failed them and this time it finally worked, I am filled with so much hope. And despite what the doctors have said, I believe "Anyone who is among the living has hope!" Ecclesiastes 9:4



The treatment is in two parts and would be all out of pocket. The first part is a two week treatment in Dallas that costs $5,000. My stay would cost an additional $1,100, not to mention food and travel. The second part of the treatment will be about two months later for another week. That session is $2,000 and I'll need another $500 to cover lodging and additional funds to cover meals and travel. 



With your help, I can get better, for  myself and the people I love. I am getting married in September. I want to be able to enjoy our life together and run around with our future children. I want to play football with my future godson. I want my family to be able to count on me. I want to volunteer in the community and hold a job. I want to be there for our youth ministry without interruption. I want to run errands for people when they are sick rather than them constantly doing things for me because I am sick every single day. Any bit of assistance helping me get healthy enough to reach these goals would be much appreciated. If I am blessed enough to surpass my monetary goal, I would love to be a blessing to someone else dealing with this silent illness.



Thank you for your help and also for your prayers.



Brandon

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Donations

  • Rhonda Hill 
    • $25 
    • 73 mos
  • Yolanda Fitzgerald 
    • $50 
    • 73 mos
  • Mable Medlock 
    • $100 
    • 73 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $7,000 (Offline)
    • 73 mos
  • Clarice Evans 
    • $50 
    • 73 mos
See all

Organizer

Brandon Graham 
Organizer
Schertz, TX
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