Ever since we were three years old, Becky and I have been best friends. Our parents thought it was a perfect coincidence that we were both only-children and lived only 6 houses away from each other. Becky and I have been through all of life's milestones together. Becky is one of the strongest, most passionate, loving, caring, intelligent, fun-loving persons I know. She has big-ideas and follows through with them. She is extremely supportive of all of her friends and family being there whenever they need her, and she's an amazing role model to all. She has touched many people in her community; at her church, at her high school while serving on student council, as an instructor of Irish dance and in so many other ways. While she may not realize it, Becky has impacted many with her bright smile, comedic relief and positive attitude.
Above all, however, I have always admired Becky for her strength. Whenever life seems to throw a curve ball, Becky always tries her hardest to straighten it out by taking on the challenge. She is fearless when it comes to living her life and she has shown that through her recent health battle.
Battle with the Beast
Three years ago, Becky Bryans, then only 16, was dealt a challenge that would take every bit of her energy and drive to fight. She contracted the Epstein-Barr virus and was told she had one of the most severe cases doctors had ever seen. The virus caused her to experience intense fatigue, swollen glands and tremendous weakness throughout her body. After months of recovery she returned to school to continue her education.
Five months after an initial recovery, Becky began to experience severe headaches, memory loss and vision impairment. Her symptoms became progressively worse and debilitating. Attending class in her Grade 12 year proved to be impossible, despite earning straight A's throughout her academic journey before Epstein-Barr.
After neurological assessment it was determined that Becky had increased intra-cranial pressure, which doctors attributed as a side-effect of the Epstein-Barr virus. This meant that there was too much fluid around her brain causing the severe headaches. The only way to relieve this pressure was to drain it through a lumbar puncture. Trips to-and-from the hospital became commonplace again and Becky was forced to spend Christmas of 2015 as an inpatient after she developed a leak following her first lumbar puncture. Once they relieved the high-pressure headaches Becky began to experience severe low-pressure headaches that were relieved only if she laid-down. The pain was never-ending. The leak had to be treated through a procedure called a blood-patch.
Doctors thought that a shunt would be the solution to regulate the pressure around her brain. After 6 brain surgeries (shunt insertions and revisions) in both the London Children's hospital and in Windsor Ontario the pressure was not successfully regulated. The headaches continued as well as the painful lumbar punctures.
The most amazing factor through all of this is that Becky has stayed extremely strong; she is always positive and does not let her health deter her from living her life.
After many attempts to manage the pressure her local neurosurgeon was supportive in seeking a second opinion from doctors in the United States.
Today, almost three years later, after multiple surgeries and months of suffering, the Bryans family has been fortunate enough to secure an appointment at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. They, as well as family and friends who have been by Becky's side throughout this long journey, hope and pray that questions will finally be answered on this trip.
The Possible Light at the End of the Tunnel
With humility and deep appreciation, we are asking for support from friends, family and the Windsor/Essex community to help lessen the financial burden of Enid and Becky's trip and related expenses . Their trip to the Mayo Clinic will begin in early June. While in Minnesota, Becky will undergo numerous tests as well as a lumbar puncture. Due to the procedures and expected recovery time, this trip and Becky's hospital stay could well extend into weeks.
Overview of Expenses
The initial assessment at the Clinic will cost well-over $9,000 USD. This excludes any additional expenses from complications that may occur and future treatment options.
We are fortunate enough in Canada that our health care costs are covered through our taxes. As a foreign patient in the United States health-care expenses are the sole responsibility of the patient and the family. If a treatment is recommended for Becky, the cost will go far beyond the initial assessment. Due to this, we are hoping to raise $30,000.
If the expenses are less than the amount raised all of the remaining funds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House at Windsor Regional Hospital.
On behalf of the Bryans family, thank you for supporting Becky's road to recovery and for taking the time to read her story.
- Helen Humphreys
- Katrina Fuerth
- Carolyn Murray
- Yvonne Smyth
Organizer and beneficiary
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