I know its been awhile since Ashley and I have been on social media and a lot has happened in that time. As some of you already know, Ashley has had some health issues. Her symptoms started when she was in her teens and after 10 years of no answers she was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For those of you who don't know what Celiac Disease is, here is a link that explains it best. Ashley has been dedicated to a very strict gluten-free diet ever since - we've learned that she is very sensitive so she doesn't eat out at all due to the risk of cross-contamination. Her doctors explained it could take her body some time to fully heal and in some cases it could even take up to a year. A few years and several days in the hospital later, she was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and was put on insulin. There was some debate as to what type she actually had but after a year her doctors finally concluded, much to our relief, that she had Type 2. She has been able to manage her blood sugar strictly through diet and her endocrinologist fully supported keeping her off medication.
Things seemed to be steady for a while but the symptoms that were thought to be from Celiac (and even some thought to be from Diabetes) never went away and in February her health took a turn for the worse. We'd prefer not go into too much detail and the truth is we really don't know much. So far she has had two surgeries and is getting ready for a third at the end of September. As far as we know it isn't anything life threatening but unfortunately her doctors and specialists can't seem to figure out what's causing all these complications. Crohn's disease is one of the many conditions that's been considered but so far nothing seems to be adding up. Her doctors have actually joked with her that she's a medical mystery and has them stumped. All we really know for sure is that it's autoimmune and unfortunately there are many autoimmune diseases and many have similar symptoms. I can't even begin to tell you how many blood tests, MRI's, CT's, and x-rays she's been through. It's amazing there's anything even left to test for! We feel very blessed and thankful that we were lead to an amazing Gastroenterologist and surgeon who have both been persistent in finding answers. We've also begun working with a Rheumatologist and are waiting to see a Dermatologist.
It has been an incredibly difficult time for both of us but of course for Ashley the most. She had to resign from her job, a hard decision for her, but with no answers in sight she didn't feel she had a choice. Earlier this summer her hair began thinning out - most likely due to stress and new medication - so we shaved her hair. I think she looks awesome. With some recommended shampoo and supplements her hair seems to be growing back much healthier. She does her best to keep her spirits up - she planted a garden this year and tries to spend time tending to it. There are some good days but then there are bad days. Unfortunately even simple things take quite a toll on her so she spends a lot of time resting in bed. The past few months she hasn't really been able to drive but a huge thank you to family and friends for making sure she gets to her doctor appointments while I've been away for work. Along with constantly feeling physically exhausted, I know she feels emotionally and mentally exhausted as well. Ashley has a tendency to beat herself up when she has to miss out on social events or cancel dates with friends but we're blessed to be surrounded by an incredible support group who have been very understanding.
Along with the emotional burden, this situation has created a financial one as well. With a lot of thought and prayer we've decided to create a go fund me page to help us with Ashley's medical bills. This decision did not come lightly and we had a lot of reservations about asking people for financial help. In the end we decided it wouldn't hurt to try. This fund would be strictly for any of Ashley's medical needs - hospital bills, prescriptions, etc. We don't expect any specific amount (go fund me requires you to enter a dollar amount). Anything is greatly appreciated. We would especially like to ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers - not just that we find an answer and treatment but also for Ashley's spirit. Whether it's a donation, prayers, or good wishes, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Travis and Ashley
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