How It Started:
In July 2016, Angela started having health problems. It began as many “minor” things that she would brush aside… bad headaches, dizziness and facial pain. The symptoms started to quickly progress and she instinctively knew something was seriously wrong. Stabbing abdominal pains, debilitating muscle weakness, throbbing, aching leg spasms and strange sensations (buzzing, tingling, numbness) throughout her body. Extreme fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, earaches, and painful stiff joints. Vertigo, blurred vision, nausea, blocked ears, and legs so stiff and heavy she says it feels like she is “walking in cement blocks”.
The Turning Point:
One day at work this January, Angela could barely get up from her chair and could not get home by herself. She finally admitted to me that in her final week of work, she would literally crawl up her stairs to get to her living room at the end of the day. So utterly exhausted and in such terrible pain that she would fall asleep in her work clothes on her couch. My sister was hiding how bad her health had turned from even her closest family and friends – scared to admit that she was really that ill.
Over the past 18 months, she has gone from being a busy, independent woman, a community advocate for her Condo Board, to not being able to get out of bed for days. From joking that she was Super Woman, to not being able to open her own coffee cup, push buttons on a phone or do up a zipper. She is in bed with terrible pain and weakness many days, needs help with basic things like cooking or grocery shopping and says it feels like she has the worst flu of her life that never goes away. She is terrified. She is becoming more and more ill and does not know what is going on with her body.
What We Know So Far:
Angela has been in our medical system for months, desperate to get a diagnosis but the specialists are still searching for an answer. She has undergone countless blood tests including specialized protein tests, an MRI of her brain and spinal cord, CT scan and ultrasound of her abdomen, and has visited the ER. She is currently seeing an Internist, Neurologist, GP, ENT Specialist, and is on the wait list to see a Rheumatologist. Right now, we know Angela has a systemic auto-immune disease. The latest blood tests are indicating Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus) or Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD) She has been told she will need to start an immunosuppressant drug protocol (corticosteroids, anti-malarial drugs, chemotherapy or a combination of these) in hopes it will prevent damage to her organs and put her illness into remission.
How YOU Can "Be An ANGEL FOR ANGELA":
Angela is now on medical leave until further notice. Her employer does not have a short-term disability plan and there is a mandatory 13-week waiting period before any Long-Term-Disability plan will start. My sister lives paycheck to paycheck like so many of us, and is also in a single income home. Without a paycheck, she will not be able to pay for basic necessities like her mortgage, utilities, food, and medication. She is currently awaiting her treatment plan and expects significant medical expenses in the coming months.
I am asking for donations to help bridge the gap until her Long Term Disability starts and for upcoming medical costs.
Stress is the absolute worst thing for any autoimmune disease and right now she is filled with worry about her health, losing her home and not knowing what her future holds. Any donation will help take a world of stress off of my sister right now, so she knows she will be able to cover her expenses, won’t lose her home and be able to pay for the treatment she needs.
My sister has always been the strong one in our family – the care giver – the one to hold all of the worry for everyone. Now, she is the one who needs help.
Please share this link with your friends and family on Facebook. "Be an ANGEL FOR ANGELA" and help my sister through this terribly hard and scary time.
- rob cohen
- Denise Abreu
- Luznel Velasquez
Organizer and beneficiary
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