I've known Mariah since she was nine years old. She was a shy little girl who grew up to be one tough, amazing woman. She decided a few years ago that I am her godmother, so that is what I am.
Mariah has had more than her share of bad luck, including three automobile accidents. She was not at fault, was not even driving, for any of these, but was injured in all. She endured and recovered from spinal surgery a few years ago as a consequence of one of these accidents.
She had help with massage school; I helped with tuition and another friend provided a room. But Mariah had to cover all other expenses, food and transportation and clothes and books. She did this working in fast food joints and cleaning hotel rooms. She developed flash cards to work around her dyslexia as she studied anatomy and other demanding courses.
Through all of this she has maintained hope and determination. While she sometimes has envied lives that seem from the outside to be easy, she has a fierce pride in taking care of herself, even when that means working two or three jobs at a time. That determination got her through massage therapy school and to her goal of helping others ease their pain.
She has managed her own pain remarkably well, until this long past year. Mariah suffers recurring ovarian cysts (& possibly another as-yet-unidentified problem) that cause her excruciating pain.
Mariah has faced the dismissal that many women in pain experience, especially women who work but don't make enough to purchase good health insurance. She has encountered varying, conflicting diagnoses and burnt-out doctors and nurses. It became increasingly difficult for her to get treatment in Seattle.
Eventually she had to quit working, disabled by the pain. This was the last straw for her, to lose the satisfaction she gets from helping others. She is an excellent massage therapist, as testified to by her Yelp reviews, and was able to continue working through months and months of pain that sent her home to cry or to emergency rooms in hope of assistance.
Mariah has been here in Montana with me since July 11. In that time, we have accomplished the following:
~ 2 emergency room visits with conflicting ultrasounds - there is a mass, there is no mass, there are always cysts
~ 3 months of health care coverage from Partnership Health Care
("Missoula's community health clinic, a place where everyone in our community can receive high quality health care. No one is turned away because they can't pay.") which covers some but not everything
~ a family practice doc at Partnership to manage/oversee care
~ referral to/ appointment with OB/GYN
~ yet another ultrasound
~ paperwork to apply for charity care at Community Hospital to cover ultrasound and surgery
~ scheduled exploratory surgery (D&C, hysteroscopy, and laparoscopic) on Wednesday 21 August at 8:30 a.m.
~ met with the Partnership doctor for follow-up and to begin work on a pain management plan
Given my own limitations (chronic illness) the care-taking at this house is reciprocal, and Mariah does as much or more for me than vice-versa. I think we've done very well, despite sometimes feeling overwhelmed. We've had support and help from friends and family members, which we could not have managed so far without.
The plan is for Mariah to stay here until all of this is resolved and a health care/ pain management plan is well in place. I'm thinking this will be through September at minimum, probably longer. I live on a limited (Social Security) income, so am unable to help much beyond providing day-to-day necessities and a place to stay. Thus, this request to help Heal the Healer.
Funds received will go to help with various expenses, including rent on Mariah's Seattle apartment so she has a home to return to. She does have a job she is looking forward to returning to. Other expenses that have us stretched include Mariah's power bills, phone, accumulated medical and other bills, medications, doctor and pharmacy co-pays, transportation costs, and groceries.
Mariah also wants to repay some personal loans that have covered out-of-pocket medical costs and rent during these past three months, as well as her travel to Missoula (by bus) and sister Jessica's gasoline costs for her visits to and from Seattle to bring Mariah her precious cat, clothes, and miscellaneous items, and to help us throughout Mariah's surgery and recovery.
One last, critical, expense is Peyshka, Mariah's fourteen-year-old diabetic cat. Mariah's sister Jessica drove from Seattle two weeks ago to bring Peyshka here. I don't know how either Mariah or Peyshka managed without the other. Peyshka is, in Mariah's words, "Magic!" I think they keep each other going.
Peyshka is also an excellent example of Mariah's character. When this cat developed diabetes six years ago, Mariah had a busy work and social life. Suddenly her cat required regular feedings and injections twice a day, at twelve-hour intervals, with no variations. His health depended on it. And Mariah changed her life to take care of him. Her budget had to stretch for veterinary services, insulin, and special cat food, and she had to be home every twelve hours no matter what else might beckon.
For Mariah, other things do beckon. Our goal is to get her back where she can respond to the rich life she deserves: health, work, friends, play, making art and jewelry, music and dancing and helping others heal.
~ Sharon Brogan
[Please note that, though this site lists Mariah as the poster, most postings are/will be done by her mother, Maribeth, or me, or other helpers.]
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