Dotty's Desperate Situation

My name is Dotty VanPelt and my story started over 12 years ago when a gall stone got lodged in the head of my pancreas.  After that I kept getting pancreatitis and had a biopsy done that showed some cancer cells. I was hospitalized 16 times before I finally found Dr. Syed Ahmad at University Hospital in Clifton, Ohio and I was the 98th person here in Cincinnati to have a new, innovative surgery - only 3 places in the country offered this medical technology at the time. I had the following organs removed: gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, 1/5th of my stomach and 12 inches of intestines. After extracting as many of my own Islet Cells from my pancreas after removal, they injected them into my liver as a transplant. The surgery was done 9-1/2 years ago. I am still recovering. I was told that if I had not had the surgery, I would have died in 6 months. My transplant made me a Type 1 Diabetic the day of the surgery. I test my sugar 4 to 8 times a day, I am on 2 types of insulin and take 6 to 10 shots a day. This surgery pretty much destroyed my immune system and I usually get pneumonia 3 to 4 times a year and am always hospitalized for it. In the hospital I have picked up C-Diff, Shingles, MERSA, breathing problems and staph infections because my immune system is so low. People and nurses would have to gown and glove up to come in and see me.  With all my very high and low sugar counts, I know my transplant is no longer working. I am 7 years too old to get a transplant and have been over 600 way to many times (Normal is between 70 and 110). Insulin also causes damage to the body, and I have to take a lot. Obviously I was not able to work, I lost my house (which was in foreclosure, sold it for less than 1/2 its value 2 days before foreclosure, and after paying what I owed, I had $13,000 to my name), which was my nest egg. I share a very small 2 bedroom apartment with my daughter and 3 year old grandson. I live on Social Security - $1282 a month. Try living on that! Our rent including water and heat is too much a month. This is the only place that would rent to me because I paid a years rent in advance (most of the money noted above) due to my horrible credit rating. My daughter and grandson live with me, and she pays part of the rent, which really helps a lot.  I can't answer my phone 90% of the time because it's always bill collectors. I am on 22 prescription medications, vitamins, etc.  My medications cost is so much a month that I hardly have money left to put gas in my car, buy groceries, etc.. I drive a car that is 14 years old, which I'm really not complaining about, but things are starting to go wrong and I do not have money to fix anything if it does. I also had Cervical Spine surgery 2 years ago which still hurts.  I also have degenerative arthritis in my spine, hips, shoulders and hands. I had two procedures for that last fall that burns the nerves, which lasted 10-1/2 months. He is giving me a 50% discount, but I still can't pay that and I need this procedure done in 5 more places.  This is my Pain Management doctor that I count on for many things. I did not know Medicare didn't pay more than they did, and I can't make payments.   I have 2 toes that are having problems and due to Diabetes my vision is going bad as well. I have Posterior Vitreous Detachment in BOTH eyes now and will need a procedure probably anytime within the next 6 months or so. I also have 2 teeth that are killing me, but can't afford to go to a dentist, and they do not take Medicare.  I am in dire straits and would appreciate anything or amount you want to give - even if you can only pray for me. I try to stay as positive as I can or I don't think I would have lived as long as I have! Thank you for taking the time to read about my hardship. I pray to God every day to help me. I can be found on Facebook by the name Dotty Kruse VanPelt. My address is 6624 Lakeside Dr. 212G, West Chester, OH 45069.
3/2/15 update. Just found out Medicare dropped my Part D prescription plan because I was $9.85 overdue. Have talked to 2 people so far and am waiting for someone to call me back from another number. They also do not cover 3 of the major meds that I take - have been on for over 7 years and will be on for life. Creon, 3 pills with each meal and one with a snack. Costs $2940 a month (I pay $190). My insulin Novolog, which is over $200 a vial and I use one vial a month. And Diovan, my blood pressure medication which is fairly expensive also.  I went to the doctor today that did the original big surgery 8 years ago and he told me that my Islet Cell transplant was definitely failing.  He wants me to try a different med with my meals and wrote a script for 200 (20 day supply) and gave me a coupon for 200 free ones (one good thing!). They were more expensive and didn't work.  I have talked to 5 places over the last 2 years about a pancreas transplant and was told I was too old at 62. The limit is 55 years old.  Please continue to pray for me. Share, donate, please get the word out to anybody and everybody. I can't stop crying. In the mean time, I have been applying like crazy for months for a part time Administrative Assistant job near my home. I have my resume on my Facebook page if you know of someone. Thank you so much.  3/10/15 Update:  Islet cells are definitely failing and my eyes as well. Thought the retinal detachment was happening, so I went to the eye doctor yesterday. Turns out in my right eye, on the bottom, I have 3 styes - 2 small and one large. In both eyes I have a thing called Meilbomian Gland Dysfunction. I have to clean my eyes out 3 times a day with baby shampoo (!), use  Systane Balance Drops (ouch) and put heat on both eyes at least 3 or 4 times a day. Thank God it wasn't the detachment thing. With people's generous donations, I was able to pay off several bills, and the Pain Management doctor. Thank you again to all who have donated (food, money and other) and who are praying for me. It means a lot. 3/16/15 Update: Just got home from 6 days in the hospital - had pneumonia again and will be on oxygen all the time for a couple of weeks, then can ease back down to 2 liters at night again. The steroids I had and have to continue to take are killing my islet cells from my transplant that has been failing anyway.   Since Medicare Part D cancelled my Prescription coverage, My new plan through Humana will not go into effect until May 1. I just paid almost every penny I had to cover the steroids, antibiotics and breathing treatment meds for the nebulizer. Thanks to everyone who has donated and for all the messages and prayers while I was in the hsopital!  4/2/15 Update: Pneumonia is finally gone and the pancreas transplant is out of the question - I am too old.  Through donations I have received, I have been able to pay off several bills and been able to buy most of the medicines I need, but am still in need of financial support. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Sharing, praying and/or donating will help greatly.  Life expectancy for the big procedure I had was 5 to 8 years. It's been almost 9 years. I'm very scared and nervous. I appreciate the help people have given me so much. It's so hard not to cry all the time.
8/23/15 Update: Still in so much pain - my neck (from the surgery), my hips from arthritis and my abdomen since my surgery 8 years ago. Pain Doctor is going to burn the nerves in my neck and upper back soon. Have been in the hospital twice since my last update and was in the ER 4 times in 3-1/2 weeks due to pain.   Thanks for whatever you can do and any prayers you can send my way.
November 2015 Update: I was told by 2 of my doctors last month that I am dying. Neither doctor could give me a time frame at this point. The islet cell transplant is still fairly new, so they really don't know, and my lung capacity is down to 35%. The arthritis is spreading and I am in pain all the time. I take 4 mg of Dilaudid 4 times a day - which is a lot. I was in the hospital again the other night. Starting to have trouble swallowing and I aspirated 2 of my pills into my lungs. They went down the windpipe instead of the esophagus. The one I was able to cough up, but the other was a capsules with 100's of tiny time-released beads in it. I coughed up a small piece of the capsule, but the beads all went down into my lungs. The lungs do not like foreign objects and my COPD is acting up pretty bad the last few days. Social Security is not raising their pay outs for 2016, but cost of living keeps going up. I am literally begging for monetary help, thoughts, shares on your Twitter or Facebook page and prayers if you believe. Thank you.
11/18/15 Update: Just home from 3 hours of errands, a bunch of x-rays and a doctor appointment. The sleep study I did 3 weeks ago was "inconclusive". I have to have blood work done in the morning - first thing, and I might have to repeat the sleep study. The electrode they put under my chin should not be active - mine was active all night. I breathed ok on my side, but not when I flipped over to my back. They got good results from the first 4 hours, but not the last 3 hours. I might have to repeat the sleep study, depending on the results from the blood test where they take the blood from your wrist. Should have the results by tomorrow. Also had 8 x-rays on my shoulders. The degenerative arthritis is spreading very quickly. Just one more thing to add to the list of what is going to kill me first. I need prayers. I have so many bills to pay and NO money to do so.
12/20/15 Update: Well I fell getting out of the bathtub last weekend. Walked around for 2 days in pain and  went to the ER this past Wednesday. The ER doc said I had a fractured tibia and a partial fracture of the ankle. I also had a bone chip. They put a cast on it and told me to go to an orthopedic surgeon, which I did Friday morning. HE said there was no fracture, but my ankle is a little messed up and there is a bone chip. He put me in a gigantic boot and wants me to come back on the 28th. He will x-ray it himself and decide if I need surgery to remove the bone chip. It hurts worse everyday and I'm beginning to feel like the ER doc was right. They also told me it could be a deep bone bruise, and there is a major nerve that runs along the area I hit and my nerve could be injured. Those 2 things can heal themselves.  I can't drive, I have very little money to buy food and Christmas presents for the rest of my grandkids. I bought for only 2 so far. I'm really at my wits end. Thank you so much to the people who donated! I was able to give each grandchild a gift! The bad news is 3 nights after I fell getting out of the tub, I woke up at 4:04 a.m. to pee, fell asleep on the toilet, woke up, grabbed my crutch and the counter top, but my legs were just like rubber and down I went AGAIN!  I have a large bruise on my behind, and had two injuries - one on each arm that bled a lot. I had to call for my daughter to help me get up. It was 5 a.m. when I got back in bed. I'm in more pain than before.  I've also been sleeping a lot - some days 3 to 5 naps a day - from one hour to three hours. Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!
January 2016 Update: Well, was taken to the hospital by ambulance Sunday for chest/back pain. The EKG in the ambulance didn't look good, but I think that was just because of the shaky ride. My heart is fine - but I did have exacerbated COPD again and was kept in the hospital for 4 days. They think I might have gotten the flare up on Christmas because one of my grandkids was coughing and sniffling. Since my immune system is so low - I can get sick very easily. I know my days are numbered, and I am so worried about my kids having to deal with my financial issues when I pass. I only have a very small life insurance policy. I can't get through any month anymore without borrowing, and I owe so many people and doctors and hospitals so much money. Please find it in your heart to help.
February 2015 Update:
Had a procedure on the right side of my neck for the horrendous neck pain I have been having for months and some nerves were semi damaged as well. I have felt like someone bashed me in the back of my head with a baseball bat, my hair actually hurts, the pain/ache has radiated out about 5 or 6 inches from the procedure site and my optical nerve going to my left eye (the 2 main nerves criss-cross) and I had strange vision (like looking through a prism) quite a few times. The eye doctor said it's called an Occular Migraine from nerve damage, and I asked why I didn't actually have a headache from it. She said it was probably because I'm on such heavy duty pain medicine. I am scheduled for another procedure on the right side of my lumbar area on the 19th and about 2 to 3 weeks later, he will do the left side. My car died last July and I was able to use my daughters old car for a few months, but the brakes went out. I also had fallen in the shower and was in an air cast for awhile. My car is now in the shop and it's going to cost $788 to get it fixed. My son is helping with part of it but the balance I will have to pay from an insurance check I received. I was counting on that money for other bills and food - so again I'm still in a desperate situation.
May 2016 Update:
Things have gone from bad to worse. My degenerative arthritis has spread and so painful. My abdominal pain has returned with a vengence and I cracked the 2nd bone in my thumb and have a soft cast on. They could barely see the crack from all the arthritis. My financial situation is also getting worse. After paying bills, insurance and rent - I will have $27 whole dollars left for the month of May, and today is only the 2nd. I have 3 days worth of Creon (pancreatic enzymes for digestion) left, which I have to take 3 to 4 capsules with every meal, and my out of pocket cost has gone up from $170 to $206 a month. I have 9 days left of Spiriva, which costs $42.50 a month. I used the last of my Symbicort this morning - $43 a month. And I have 3 other meds that I'm almost out of, but are relatively cheap.  I have about a weeks worth of groceries and will be going to the Vineyard for food, but I have no idea how to get my meds. I'm broken and don't know what to do.
6/10/16 Update:
On Memorial Day, I inhaled wood smoke from a grill and had an extreme COPD exacberation which has lasted 11 days now. Finally today I am a little better. I was taken by ambulance to the ER, have had numerous tests and doctor visists. They put me on another new medication. Have also lost my voice again. My abdominal issues are worse and the pain is awful. Same with my degenerative arthritis. All of my medications have gone up in price and it's time for my Creon - which is $206 a month out of pocket, and several other meds need to be filled very soon. I don't have the money. I have 3 bills for around $250 that I can't pay as well. My Pulmonologist was kind enough to give me a supply of inhalers, which really helped. I need so much financial help right now - any amount would be so appreciated.
July 2016 Update:
Have been in so much pain from the arthritis, and the Dilaudid is not very effective anymore. I see the specialist next week. All the tests they ran on my stomach showed nothing, until I had the upper scope. The results had nothing to do with the pain, but I have have Candida (a fungal infection) in my throat and all the way down my esophagus. Have to be on antibiotics for 21 days for that. I have no money to buy my Creon, and the price went up again to $242.50 out of pocket.  I can't pay bills, can't buy meds and can't buy groceries. I really need help - please...
July 24, 2016 Update:
Well, I'm having the first of 3 or 4 surgeries on Tuesday. I have 9 medications sitting at WalMart Pharmacy that I can't get because I have no money. I have no clue how I'm going to get through.  My pain increases daily and I can't do a thing about it without my medications.
8/13/16 Update:
My cable company shut off my phone, cable and internet. I will have 5 or 6 prescriptions I need refilled in about a week. I am driving on fumes and have enough food for only a few days. I have NO money. My second surgery is scheduled for August 29th. They will be removing 1 bone from my hand at the base of the thumb (trapezium), scrap or cut off as much bad bone as possible and somehow they will be taking tendon from up further in my arm to band things together. I will be in a cast for a week, then they will change that one out for a more permanent cast which I will wear for 3 to 4 weeks. Then I will have physical therapy.  Then we will concentrate on my spine, which is in excruciating pain all the time. The surgery I had almost 2 years ago did not do everything it was supposed to. They could not see one of the screws they put in and 2 of the spacers are not where they are supposed to be.  I could really use some donations at this time for so many things. Thank you.
10/18/16 Update:
Started physical therapy last week - OUCH!! But my hand, wrist and arm are getting better. Soon I will be able to start Aquatic Therapy for my back. If there is no improvement, Medicare will approve an MRI and I can finally have my lumbar surgery, Money issues are still horrendous, and I am so worried about getting Christmas gifts for my 8 grandkids and 3 great grandkids. The only good thing is that I hit my deductible with my prescription Part D, and my meds are very reasonable through the end of the year.
November 2016 Update:
Went to the Hematologist/Oncologist Wednesday 11/9 and got the results from the tests he had ordered. Leukocytosis and Hypogammaglobulinemia was the diagnosis. As he described it: my white cell count is running 3 to 4 times too high and my IgG or immune fighting cells are only 1/3rd of what they should be. My white cells are turning on my body and my immune cells, the few I have are to weak to deal with it. This is due to the fact they removed my spleen almost 9 years ago when they removed my pancreas and all that. What is going on now was expected to happen sooner - but I'm a tough old bird! So, to see if he can help the situation, I will be going in monthly for infusions in the Oncology center and will receive 6 bags (1/2 hour each) of a mixture of meds to help my immune system - 30 mg total to start. 3 hour process monthly. They will run more blood work in 2 to 3 months to see if it's helping, if not, I will get these every 3 weeks. If that doesn't work, he will continue at 3 week intervals and up the dosage. I will have to do this the rest of my life. I have already exceeded the life expectancy they gave me when I had the major surgery on January 18, 2008. Was told 5 to 8 years - so like I said - I'm a tough old bird!! I worry so much about bills, buying prescriptions, being able to have a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for my family (everyone brings something) and buying Christmas gifts for my grandkids.  Could use some help...
December 30/2016 Update:
I had a port surgically put in my chest since I have to have the monthly IVIG infusions for my immune system. My abdominal surgery from July has helped, and the hand surgery I had in August is finally getting better. The port implant surgery went well. The bad news is dear Obama increased my monthly allowance of MY Social Security money by a whole $4.10, but upped Medicare by $41.50, so I am now getting almost $37 a month less than I did last year. My rent, including water went up almost $35 a month, so now I'm trying to get by on $73 less per month. I am so heart broken, can't catch a break healthwise or financially. My meds will also increase, because I hit my deductible in September and the cost went down dramatically. Now they will be unreachable for me.  My SS for January hit today (way early) and after all regular bills, I have but a hair over $37.00 to live on for the rest of January and it hasn't even started yet. I don't know what to do. They say I make too much for food stamps (REALLY??) or any other type of aid. I need food, prescriptions, payment to my pain doctor and gas money, I am so depressed and upset I pray every day for things to turn around, but they just keep getting worse. If you could help with any amount, it would be so appreciated. I hate this so much, but don't know what else to do.
March 2017 Update
I want to apologize to my friends and family. Not many people know, but on Wednesday, February 1st I tried to end my life. Too many blocks on my shoulders and that day I got another one. Couldn't carry the load anymore. But thankfully I was chatting with a friend and she was weary of something I said and she called 911. Apparently just in time because I was dead, and they gave me Narcan and brought me back. My downstairs neighbor was holding the door open for them to take me out and put me in the ambulance. He heard one of them say "I think we got her back, let's move it"..They took me to Atrium in Middletown and I was in ICU for a few days and then in a room with a babysitter for 2 days. That evening they moved me down to my room in the mandatory 3 day unit. The next morning before it was quite light out, I had to pee, so I got up and near the end of the bed, my foot got tangled up with my oxygen cord and I didn't just fall - I slammed face and right side into the wall. Huge puddle of blood, and I was crying and screaming for help. My right arm, face, nose and knee were injured. My face was totally black and blue, my nose was bleeding at an alarming rate and I couldn't move my right arm, it hurt so bad. My face was turned to the right a bit, so my nose did not break, but my humurous did - and very badly. They put a cast on that felt like it weighed 30 lbs. They readmitted me for a few days and sent me home. I knew my arm was worse than they said at Atrium, so I called my ortho doc at West Chester Hospital and they had me come in. They took 2 x-rays, the damage was unreal and I had emergency surgery the next morning. I have plates and screws tn my upper arm, and was admitted again. And to top it off, I got C-Diff too.  Again, I apologize for being a coward and hypocrite. I have so many financial issues,pain, illness, very lonely too.
May 2017 Update
Still trying to recover from my broken humerus - which the doctor told me can take up to a year to heal. Shoulder is very sore and I still have limited movement. I am pleased to say that my emotional state is so much better now.  Fighting high blood pressure again and the doc switched my meds and added more, but it seems to be helping some. The really expensive med I take (Creon) just keeps going up - $325 out of pocket in April for only a month supply. I can't live without it, but can't afford it. I was able to get it last month because I got a small insurance check, but do NOT have the money for this month. Please help if you can.
July 2017
Still in so much pain and have not received any donations for awhile. The stem cell procedure is $700, but I don't have the money. I was able to get my Creon this month because I already hit my deductible as of the last week in June, because so many of meds are very expensive.
August 2017
In pain, no money, have to move the end of October, have no money for deposit or to move and feeling so down. Still in pain, but pain doctor gave me a script for a few pain pills for break-through pain, which helps a bit. Have to have another Adhesion Removal surgery in the next few weeks. I pray to God every day that an Angel will help.
January, 5 2018
I had the injections in my back which only helped for 5 days. I had foot surgery the day before Thanksgiving, but only today, after seeing the doc weekly for follow-up visists, was told that it's finally healing and looking better. Should only be in the boot for 2 more weeks. Also got bad news from the pharmacy this morning. The Creon I HAVE to take every time I eat something has gone from $325 for a 3 month supply out of pocket to $1169 ....can't survive having to pay this. I only get $1275 a month on SS Disability. So I can either go homeless or pay for medication. Please Lord, have mercy on me and let an Angel of Mercy step in to help.


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Dotty Kruse VanPelt 
West Chester, OH
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