My name is Vanessa, I work in emergency animal medicine - essentially, Im the equivalent to an emergency and critical care ICU or trauma nurse, only for dogs and cats. Its a field you get into because you love and care, not because it pays. I am mother of a feisty amazing two year old daughter, Reagan, and a Husband who works in IT; Kelby.
I was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. For those that are unfamiliar with MS, the National MS Society explains it as follows:
"Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be "immune-mediated" rather than "autoimmune."Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin — the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers — as well as the nerve fibers themselves.
The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name.
When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms."
So basically, my body attacks itself instead of dangerous disease intruders, and causes scars and lesions on my brain and spine.
Each lesion leaves a permanent scar, which can affect a very broad range of processes in my body. Each scar making daily activities that much more taxing and difficult; things that most people, myself included, take for granted. Speech problem such as slurring or not being able to formulate words, thought processes, gait or walking issues, nerve pain, neuropathy, fatigue, heat sensitivity, and eye sight changes are most common. The list of symptoms goes on and on though, Im afraid. For 3 years, I have had numbness and tingling in my extremities (neurpathy) and severe fatigue.
A few weeks ago, I had a severe "flare" or "relapse", in which I lost all vision in my left eye temporarily. I was treated with high high doses of IV steroids, which triggered a mental breakdown. there was no warning to this flare, and it continues to get worse as the days go on. I had to be put on FMLA leave until further notice, and am unable to work.. and we dont know when that will be. I have been out of work for 1 month now, and we dont know if or when Ill be able to return. Dr visits and medications are averaging me about $150-$250 per week currently. My husband and my extended family are doing everything in their power to keep this family afloat, but with the excess of medical expenses, on top of m brave husband being the sole providoer for a mortgage, utilities, car payments and car insurance, let alone simple necessities like food and diapers.. we are drowning at an alarming rate. In fact, we have pretty much drowned. If it hadnt come to such dire times, I dont think I would have had it in me to do this.
Since Im not the type to sit still, but can do very little without becoming overly tired and uncomfortable, Ive been spending my extra time and energy working with a dog rescue (and currently have a foster doggie of my own). Ive been doing paint my numbers to bring myself to a calm place when I get scared or stressed, and spending time with my precocious two year old.
Here's where the asking for help comes in. We went from a family with two .. modest/meager incomes down to one. We are unable to pay our monthly bills AND all my medical expenses and are faced with the very serious possibility of losing our home and my car. Every non essential posession I own is being sold. My hands are tied, and it is terrifying, knowing I can do no more.
I very, very nakedly, with no expectation, no judgement, ask you, strangers, friends family, coworkers, to bestow some good karma on me and help this family in our time of need. I am always the one who fishes out a few dollars for the panhandler on the end of the freeway and never leaves the mall at Christmas time without visiting the Christmas Angels tree. I have always hoped that the good karma I send out to the world would come back to me when the time was right. Now, I fear, is that time. I am deeply, and humbly asking you to help us, if you are able, so that I can continue to be a good mother to my child, give her a safe home to grow up in, and hopefully, eventually, get back to saving lives myself, only of the 4 legged variety. Thank you for not judging me, or others on this site, for needing help. And thank you for any donation you may be able to give.
All our love, and sincerest gratitute,
Kelby, Vanessa, and Reagan
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