My mom and dad are self-employed (small online retail business). My mom is an integral part of the operations and my dad will have to move his focus to providing care for my mom during her long recovery. Once allowed home, she won’t be able to be left alone at all and it is going to be a real juggling act for my dad; trying to care for my mom, younger siblings, and work. The stress of the appointments, surgery and long recovery period could mean tens of thousands of dollars in lost income over the coming months.
I live at home with my wonderful family still, while working for a local non-profit and attending Oregon State University full time, and have already committed all of my income to help our family in this time, but my income is not nearly enough to support everyone ( my mom, dad, two younger special needs siblings and myself) during this time period. In addition to helping out financially, I am also taking on a lot of responsibility around the house, helping with their business, as well as with the kids. While my parents are trying hard, all of the appointments and testing that have led up to this horrendously scary diagnosis have already put a financial strain on them. Please read what is going on below and help if at all possible – every little bit will allow my family to focus on my mom during this period (especially while she is hospitalized in the Neuro ICU and rehabilitation) rather than stress about how to pay rent or utilities or when our next sale is going to come.
In December 2017 my mom started having some odd symptoms (twitching under left eye and intermittent cheekbone and jaw numbness). After the holidays we convinced her to go to her regular physician who consulted with a neurologist and ordered an MRI (mentioning the possibility of MS - Multiple Sclerosis). My mom had to reschedule that appointment multiple times, first due to a panic attack as they put her in the machine because of claustrophobia and after that because of a snow storm.
She finally had her MRI on March 6, 2018. Shortly afterward her doctor called and said that she had an ‘unruptured’ aneurysm. On March 13, 2018 she was sent for an MRA (MR angiogram). The results of that were even more devastating. This test showed two aneurysms and high grade (70%+) stenosis (blockage) of a cerebral artery. From this point it has been a whirlwind of appointments (with a great neurosurgeon – Dr. Vincent at Providence Portland) and a cerebral angiogram. The results of this brought some relief. There was actually only 1 aneurysm! The second one and stenosis were actually just a looping vein which could be more clearly seen during the angiogram.
While it was a relief to hear that there was only 1 aneurysm, it is still devastating. The aneurysm is on the Anterior Communicating Artery. It is 5.1mm x 3.3 mm x 4.3 mm. Several factors make it at very high risk for rupture and difficult to treat. It has a wide neck and is located in a part of the brain that is not easily reached. It is in the "Circle of Willis" on the left junction of the Anterior Communicating Artery and Anterior Cerebral artery. The Circle of Willis is deep in the brain behind the eyes and it is the area that supplies oxygenated blood to the brain. Because my mom is right handed and it's on the left it is even more risky as the left side controls everything.
My mom’s neurosurgeon explained to her that there was little choice – she needs to have it clipped through an open craniotomy (brain) surgery and waiting much longer is not advised because it is considered at high risk for rupture. The surgery is expected to last 6+ hours. While the hope is all goes well – even then the recovery period is expected to be at least 6 to 8 weeks. Because of the location and difficulty reaching it without affecting the brain functioning – the neurosurgeon explained that he expects it could take up to two years for her to ‘be herself’ if it is possible. My mom is scared, but being very brave as she knows this surgery is her only hope and she has faith in her surgeon. My mom’s brain surgery is officially scheduled for Tuesday May 1st, 2018.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider helping our family out in this time of need. Even if you cannot contribute financially, please consider sharing among your networks and helping us raise support.
Sincerely Carlo Hernandez (son of Rebecca Sattergren)
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