Breathing Hope for Jenni

Hi there, I'm Jenni. 

Some of you may know me personally enough to know bits and pieces of my story and life struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis, while others might not. For those who don't know, my journey with RA started two decades ago at the early age of 21, a time when most would be living their best lives with their closest friends and family. I had recently become a Registered Nurse in Michigan when I noticed a swollen toe one day. What seemed like something simple and minor would eventually lead to terrible pain and swelling throughout the rest of my joints, causing me to experience great concern over what was happening to me. There was no way I could prepare myself for what I was about to hear – a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis that would have a lasting impact on me and my way of living. 

Over the past two decades, I've undergone various treatments. I have had to take dozens of different medications to get even the slightest bit of relief from the crippling inflammation I've grown accustomed to experiencing every day. Even gold injections that work well for some with my condition failed to make a difference for me. Sadly, despite trying different options, including holistic and homeopathic alternative treatments, I've continued to live with debilitating pain. 

The only thing that has provided relief has been joint replacement surgeries, which I’ve undergone on multiple occasions.

Despite my struggles, I've made it my mission to stay optimistic, refusing to allow Rheumatoid Arthritis to take over my life, as much as it has tried to do so over the years. My hope for a better future is one of the reasons I'm asking for your help today with my jaw surgery. 

Unfortunately, my RA has contributed to the deterioration of my jaw. Problems with my jaw started when I was 14 years old and have only worsened. It all began when I was diagnosed with a severe congenital underbite that eventually led to a painful, incredibly invasive jaw surgery, leaving my jaw wired shut for weeks. I wore braces throughout high school and underwent Maxillary Anterior Guided Orthotic therapy to help with my malocclusion for ten years. After undergoing years of treatment, I still struggled to talk and eat because of my jaw, so I eventually received non-surgical treatment from a world-renowned dentist at only 28 years old. Getting crowns to correct my bite and experience an improvement would cost me $60,000 out of pocket because my insurance didn't cover any of it. 

While this procedure provided me with enough relief for over a decade, my Rheumatoid Arthritis has since taken its toll, causing my Temporomandibular Joint to deteriorate. The condition of my jaw joints has only worsened with time, leaving my bite open and making even the simplest things that most would take for granted, such as eating, sleeping, and breathing, nearly impossible for me. 

Along with the deterioration of my jaw, it has collapsed with my tongue, shrinking my airway and constricting it to a diameter less than a drinking straw. As a result, doing something as simple as eating a meal is a tedious, time-consuming process that involves consuming soft foods, most of which I still struggle to eat. When I get up in the morning, I hope to feel even the slightest bit better than the day before, yet I continue to struggle. 

My only hope at normalcy is a treatment known as Total Jaw Replacement combined with extensive upper jaw surgery

Because this is a particular procedure, I'll need to travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to meet with a surgeon who has the experience necessary to make a massive difference, provide the relief I need, and drastically improve my way of life. 

The only problem? The cost of surgery-related expenses is $76,000, and the cost of travel-related expenses and a one-month stay in Oklahoma for follow-ups is $7000. 

Totaling $83,000 out of pocket. 

Insurance does not cover a single dollar of the surgeon's fees. 

Because of my condition and the numerous surgical procedures I've undergone thus far, with seven joints replaced over the years, my sole source of income is Social Security Disability, making it impossible for me to afford these expenses on my own. 

My goal is to raise the funds needed to undergo a life-changing procedure, so I can breathe freely, sleep well, and even enjoy a real meal again. Please consider donating to a good cause. Your contribution will allow me to receive the treatment needed to live a happier, healthier, and genuinely more enjoyable life. 

No donation is too small to make a difference

If you can't donate at this time, I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd share my campaign with your loved ones, with hopes of helping me raise money for my procedure, set to take place on December 28th, 2022. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and learn more about my journey with Rheumatoid Arthritis and how it's impacted my way of life. 

Your kindness means the world to me. 

 Love, Jenni


P.S. An Amazon Wishlist has been started for my post-operative care, including nutrition, special tools to eat with, and ways to bring comfort through the pain while recovering in Oklahoma City. Here is the link to my wish list!

Donations (56)

  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 7 mos
  • Lori Roudebush
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
  • Diane Eskenasy
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Alexander Dickey
    • $200 
    • 1 yr
  • Christine Egger
    • $20 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (3)

Jenni Payne
Raised $3,020 from 11 donations
Alameda, CA
Seth Payne
Team member
Raised $1,540 from 9 donations
Christine Egger
Team member
Raised $300 from 3 donations
This team raised $5,281 from 33 other donations.

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