I have watched Amy deteriorate--literally. And yes, I mean literally. I saw Amy go from an athletic healthy woman to one who was sick, throwing up, and aching inside. And she still kept a smile.
I could go on and on, but I asked Amy to tell her story here.
"Amy was diagnosed with Idiopathic Gastroparesis (digestive tract paralysis with no known etiology) in the Spring of 2009. Progressing rapidly and quickly losing weight, she had surgical placement of her first jejunostomy before the end of 2009 to begin enteral feeding (also termed tube feeds). This specific tube bypasses the stomach and allows a patient to gain nutrition directly into the small intestine. Due to the severity of the disease, the dysmotility extends through the majority of the digestive tract, including the intestines, where there has been worsening malabsorption. While not the only symptoms, the most prominent remain frequent (sometimes relentless) vomiting, and poorly controlled nausea and pain, making it extremely difficult to remain well-nourished, maintain weight, and continue to live an active lifestyle as an Athletic Trainer on oral intake alone.
Within a year of the onset of her symptoms and diagnosis she was transitioned to Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) due to failure of enteral feeding; she continued to lose weight and was not absorbing nutrients from the most elemental nutrition. TPN was administered utilizing PICC lines and then Hickman central catheters. Venous feeding has been the only method on which she has successfully gained or maintained weight, hydration, stabilized frequent electrolyte imbalances, and managed many other nutritional factors. However, TPN comes with a myriad of possible complications, the most dangerous of which are central line infections leading to bacteremia or sepsis. During the five years Amy was on TPN she has been hospitalized and had her central lines pulled eight times secondary to bacteremia and/or sepsis.
Over the course of the last nine years battling Gastroparesis Amy has exhausted all treatment options, including a gastric neurostimulator implanted in the abdominal wall. Extensive diagnostic testing, complications, as well as routine and emergency procedures have left Amy losing count of her total surgical count after 60+.
This didn't stop Amy from reaching her dreams. Most recently Amy pursued graduate school at Utah State University, working as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer at the Division I level.
Currently, in North Carolina, Amy is the Head Athletic Trainer to four high schools, contracted through an orthopaedic clinic. Her health has been in a steady decline over the past year with multiple emergency hospitalizations and surgeries. The physical toll of Gastroparesis and it’s comorbid conditions, including chronic pancreatitis has been immense, but the financial burden of the disease has become too great……"
Back to me--I have seen Amy fight more than anyone I have ever known. She currently has to be put back on TPN, and her financial stresses should be the least of her wories. Numerous people reached out to start a GoFundMe. Respecting Amy's wishes, she wanted one main page where people could go to donate.
This money goes directly into her savings for medical funds. It will help fund her hospital stays, feedings, emergencies, and the bills that have been piling up, while also trying to balance moving, a new job, and basic survival.
GoFundMe takes a portion of your donation--Amy and I want to be forward about that. But your money will help tremendously. So much. Even $5 would mean the world.
Amy was hesitant to start a fundraising campaign. Her heart is in the right place--"There are others who need help more than me." I basically said--suck it up buttercup, you've been through enough!!
Thank you for reading this, for caring about Amy, and for being there.
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