My niece Rachel was born with complex congenital heart disease. She has had eight open heart surgeries in her life. Unfortunately, the doctors were not able to surgically correct her heart. She later developed secondary pulmonary hypertension which caused life threatening heart rhythm disease. She has a Hickman Catheter in her chest with a life sustaining intravenous medication called Flolan running 24/7. She also has an IV that runs 24/7 with a very strong diuretic to help her drain some of the fluid away. She is on about 15 other daily medications. Rachel is in severe right sided heart failure. This causes fluid to back up in to her abdomen to the point that she can't breathe or get up on her own. Several months ago, the doctors placed a permanent drainage tube in her abdomen so that her mother Cathy (her primary caregiver) can drain a liter of fluid from her at a time. She is also pacemaker dependent due to a procedure called an AV Node ablation. Her team of doctors at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville said in February 2016 that her disease was terminal and she was in the end stage of her disease. She has been approved for Hospice but at this time has opted for Palliative Care. Again, Cathy is Rachel's full time caregiver during the day so that her husband, Stephen, can keep his job and keep her covered under his medical insurance. Cathy went on a leave of absence from her full time job when Rachel got so sick that she could not take care of herself any longer. She is with her from morning to about 8 pm every night. Rachel is down to about 86 pounds now. She is so weak that she can no longer sit up on her own. She has to use a wheelchair to leave the house now. She is on a special low sodium and restricted fluid diet. Her mother makes her meals daily from scratch and with all fresh ingredients to maintain the sodium restriction.
Cathy has been told that if she does not return to work she will lose her job. She cannot and will not leave her daughter. "I will stay with her and take care of her until the end", Cathy says. Rachel will turn 34 this June. She has battled this her entire life. SHE IS A FIGHTER!
Please say a prayer and if you can, donate whatever dollar amount you can afford. Thank you so much for your support!
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