On any given day, there is a 99.9% chance that when I ask Becca how's she's feeling, she will say "Besides the migraine, the abdominal pain, and my body trying to kill me, I'm doing okay." This is her response on a good day, perhaps the best of days. On a BAD day, she is crippled by excruciating pain, beyond tired, and wishing she could have a choice of a new body. And the worst part is that you wouldn't know by looking at or even talking to her.
Over thirteen years ago, Becca started experiencing a great deal of pain. This occurred monthly with her period, and caused her no small amount of anxiety and bewilderment. From what she could tell, the pain seemed unusual, but no one else seemed to think much of it. Doctors merely brushed it off, without even trying to figure out if there was actually something abnormal taking place. She carried on, month after month of agony, because according to her, "What else was I gonna do? I had stuff to do!"
Several years later, her mom found an article about endometriosis in a magazine. She mentioned it to Becca, and something clicked: All the symptoms seemed to add up! And what's better... she finally had a name for this horrible affliction!
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to diagnose endometriosis without performing surgery. Even worse, as I described earlier, the symptoms are not possible to discern with your eyes. It is in every way an"invisible illness", which makes it about a thousand times harder to have anyone take you seriously. And so, Becca struggled on for many years after learning about this disease, not knowing for sure, without a shadow of a doubt, if she even HAD it. Despite having a solid lead, with research to back it up, almost every doctor still either shrugged it off ("No no, that's something complex and serious, you look fine!"), or straight-up knew nothing about it. It wore her down a bit each time, and made her slowly begin to feel like she was crazy...
And then we learned about Dr. Andrew Cook. A leading expert in the study and treatment of endometriosis, Dr. Cook is skilled at surgically removing endometriosis from wherever it might be hiding in the body, and takes a holistic approach to improving the life of his patients post-surgery. It didn't take much research for us to realize that he should be the one to help, especially since he works nearby in the nearby town of Los Gatos. Here is a video that shows the typical experiences someone with endometriosis faces, and why they might choose Dr. Cook to help rid themselves of it.
Regrettably, we did not have the money to even attempt to see him for an initial visit at the time we first moved to the Bay Area. So we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Becca's condition only worsened with time, and eventually we realized two things: 1) We weren't magically going to win the lottery (especially since we don't play!), and 2) This was not the life we wanted to have. So we said to heck with it all, let's get the super-duper insurance, and go all-out with this! And with a bit more waiting, Becca finally got to see Dr. Cook after three long years. And then, something curious happened.
If you don't know Becca, she is basically the personification of Murphy's Law. Things either go wrong all the time for her, or if that's not possible, they go weird. And this time, it was some combination of the two. Dr. Cook was actually able to diagnose Becca with a simple exam! It is quite uncommon, we were told. But more imporantly, he told her that she was NOT crazy, and that her suspicions were correct. Tears were shed over this comment, but not for the reason you might think. Becca finally knew. She was told by an actual doctor that she definitely had endometriosis. And while there was perhaps some small sliver of "Oh no!" forming in her mind, the great majority of her being was filled was a resounding "I KNEW IT!". So it was no surprise that we immediately scheduled a surgery with Dr. Cook.
Why I am writing all of this:
Quite plainly, we need your help. endometriosis is a complex condition that requires a skilled specialist to navigate the sensitive areas of the bowel and ovaries, where the lesions and other nasty tissues have developed. Through our research, we have learned many women will go through 5, perhaps 10 surgeries because of improper excision/ablation practices with inexperienced surgeons. That's no trip to Disneyland, to be sure. Therefore, in the hopes of getting it taken care of the first time, we have opted to go a master of the procedure. And that's Dr. Cook.
However, being good at what he does means he's not exactly the most affordable surgeon out there. His fees combined with those of the hospital where the surgery will take place will amount to somewhere on on the order of $16,000 - 20,000 after insurance. That's right, for the price of a new car, we can deal with this awful disease once and for all. And while that may be a little unsettling, I hope you'll appreciate just how serious we are about this, considering we heard that estimate and STILL immediately took the first surgery slot available. It's time to get Becca's life back on track!
How you can help:
Asking for help is something we struggle with, especially financially. We waited several long years trying to save up for this surgery, but in the end we just can't do this on our own. So we humbly ask... please, help us get Becca the surgery she needs. Her surgery is scheduled for July 25th, 2017, and the deadline for payment is a couple weeks before that. So, if you are able to donate, please feel free to do so. If you can pass the message and a link to this page to anyone that might like to help, that would also be invaluable to us. We would be truly grateful. Heck we might even invite you over for dinner! You like dinner, right?
Finally, thank you to everyone who has ever supported us. Words cannot express how much your kindness helped and continues to help us move forward. It means so much more than you know!
- Nicole Huelbig
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