Caring for Carrie Michelle

I am setting up this go fund me and letter writing campaign for my niece Carrie Michelle. She has been extremely sick for over a year now and needs our help.

Her story began almost 14 months ago when she woke up one morning thinking she had food poisoning. She was nauseated, sick to her stomach, dizzy, acid reflux, side pains, etc - And it just kept getting worse. After several days and it not getting any better she went to the urgent care and was told it was probably just indigestion/acid reflux and to take an antacid called a PPI (Like Nexium) she tried it, and it didn't help but made her sicker. She tried almost every brand of antacids out there - none of them helped, most made her feel worse. 

She could barely function the nausea and symptoms were so bad. However - she kept getting up every morning and kept going. She and her mom are co-raising her 2 nephews, who were 2 and 5 years old at the time and are both Autistic. The older one, Alex, was living with her full time during the week and started kindergarten the week she became ill, but even though she felt like she was going to pass out or be sick all over the classroom-she put on a smile and took him to his first day of school so she could be there for him on his big day. He was SO very excited to be going to a regular school finally, and she didn't want to let him down or miss any of it.

She even continued to go to work, even though she felt like she was dying.

It took a month to get in to see her regular doctor, who pretty much told her the same thing the urgent care did- she ran all of the regular blood tests that came back within normal range except her vitamin B12 and D levels were dangerously low so she gave her a prescription for the vitamins, referred her to a gastro doctor, and sent her on her way- without even questioning WHY her levels would be so low....and the appointment wait time was MONTHS for just the consult with the GI doctor!

In between she even went to the ER asking for help. Their answers were the same - take a PPI antacid it's just heartburn or GERD or gastritis. They didn't even examine her or run any tests besides blood work before sending her home. 

No one believed how bad she felt or that something was seriously wrong, even though she continued to rapidly lose weight because she was barely able to eat. This all began in August of 2016- And due to the long wait times for appointments, mistreatment, and misdiagnosis’s - her health rapidly started to decline with no help in sight. 

She finally got in to get an upper GI done at the end of January, and was diagnosed with gastritis and a nasty bacteria infection called HPylori. A bacteria that is VERY hard to get rid of and requires TWO different antibiotics as well as a PPI antacid to treat. Often times it doesn't even work and the HPylori will come back again. It causes gastritis, inflammation, vitamin deficiency and can even lead to stomach ulcers and stomach cancer if not killed off or put back into balance with the rest of the bacteria in the gut.

To make matters worse - within 2 days of the upper GI procedure, something went terribly wrong - her stomach reacted badly to the procedure or meds they used and became so inflamed and painful that she could not eat at all. The acid reflux was so bad she had to sleep sitting completely straight up. She called the GI doctor’s office 3 times that week - with no response!...saw her regular doctor a couple weeks later and told her something was worse, something new had happened since the upper GI was done...who basically said "your body won’t change that fast - it is just the HPylori - take the antibiotics and you should feel better" (even though she couldn't eat at all but yet your supposed to take antibiotics with food)

She has a history of being alergic to antibiotics and was really scared to take them - but tried it anyway...she spent 3 days throwing up and in excruciating pain. She couldn't finish the TEN day treatment (of taking it 4 times a day) Just taking it for those 3 days made her stomach even worse.

She then spent the next month living on baby food and bone broth because she couldn't eat anything else. She went to the ER - TWICE - and told them something bad must have happened during the GI procedure and she couldn't take the antibiotics for the HPylori and to PLEASE admit her in and help her....she begged them to help her....but was sent home both times with them saying "your blood and urine are fine, we can't admit you - you need to talk to your GI doctor." (who once she finally did get ahold of on the phone told her basically she only had the antibiotic option and that he was sure nothing else had happened) 

When all of this started she stood at 5 foot 6 inches and weighed 132 pounds (and was complaining about needing to lose 5 pounds)

By February she was 95 pounds and was literally starving to death.

For many years I have called my niece Wonder Woman...she has always worked her butt off and helped to take care of others. The whole time she was going thru this illness she held it together...even when her beloved dog Frodo passed away in October - and she kept her nephew with her and in school all the way up until November when she felt she could no longer take good care of him and was worried she might die in her sleep or something while he was there - so she had to pull him out of school and send him to her moms- which broke her heart to do to him, but she knew it was for the best....and she continued to work full time, even during the month she couldn't even eat (luckily she worked from home) until finally in February she had to tell them she just couldn't do it anymore and had to take a medical leave of absence. 

Losing hope,disgusted by her treatment by regular doctors - and having no faith in conventional western medicine to help her anymore, she desperately turned to Naturopathic/Homeopathic medicine for help. She had wanted to try it for months, but delayed going to one because Naturopathic doctors/medicine is unfortunately not covered under insurance (It SHOULD be though!) and some treatments are very pricey - but we beleive it saved her life, so it was worth every penny. (Plus the doctor CARED about her and LISTENED to her...something the other doctors had never done) 

She was so malnourished and her stomach so torn up - she was scared that she was beyond help. The Naturopathic doctor found that she had a hiatal hernia and did a series of movements on her stomach to get her stomach unwedged and back into the right position. The doctor said that all of that time after the GI procedure it had been basically squashed/pinched off, so the room in her stomach was probably only the size of a tennis ball and acid was going everywhere. Once her stomach was put back into place she did get some relief and was able to start eating a little bit more than just baby food - but by that point so much damage had been done....

Her doctor prescribed many things for her to combat the HPylori and to try to heal her system -for several months it was all trial and error since her system was so damaged - and even some of the homeopathic medicines made things worse or didn't work. When you become that malnourished and your gut isn't working right - more systems start to fail and the usual cures don't always work (she was also very intolerant of many things that are good for you and supposed to help heal like Tumeric, Aloe Vera jucie, Honey- it all hurt for her to take it)... She was severely vitamin deficient and had to do vitamin IV treatments - using the IV bypassed her stomach so it would be absorbed into her body because pills were not being processed right. She suffered headaches, backaches, insomnia and a whole host of other problems...

They were able to get the HPylori infection under control which helped to ease some of the symptoms (and she did then test negative for the infection, all treated holistically without antibiotics) but by that time from the infection, the hernia and being unable to eat for so long her stomach and intestines had erupted with peptic, gastric and intestinal ulcers. It hurt to hurt not to hurt to just breathe. Everytime she felt she was making headway towards healing, something would cause a set back. Her system was so fragile. 

She was so thin everything hurt and her stomach burned so much that she couldn't sit or lay down for any length of time - then at one point her leg muscles became so weak they gave out and she could barely walk or even stand for almost a week.

The pain kept her awake at night a lot, but then when she could sleep - she would only sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time, then her stomach would wake her up STARVING and in so much pain. She would have to eat what she could to make it stop, and then try to go back to sleep. She endured nights like this for months and months of basically not sleeping, crying in the middle of the night while she ate - just hoping it would stop....the lack of sleep slowed her healing down yet even more.

She has tried anything and everything available in Western Medicine and Homeopathic that has been suggested to her, and she has basically been living on eating the same 10 foods for the last 8 months. At one point a couple months ago she told me "I would eat mud if it would make me better."

To add to her stress she then lost her job a few months ago back in June. She had worked for them 18 years and loved her job and the people she worked with - which made her so sad and even more stressed out and worried. Right around that time her air conditioner decided to quit on the first hot day of the season and she had to pay to replace the whole system. 

This whole past 14 months have been a nightmare for my niece. So many times I have talked with her while she was in tears....fighting against giving up and trying to remain strong. For someone who has always been so strong, was always on the go and taking care of things - for her to be stuck at home so sick, isolated and not working.....has been not only hard on her physically - but emotionally and spiritually. I can’t tell you how proud I am of her that she keeps getting up and going every day. 

As of today I am happy to report that she IS healing...slowly but surely, one moment, one minute, one hour at a time. She knows she can't give up- because she needs to be there for her little nephews ....for her family...and I tell her she has so much life left to live. Some days are better than others, but she is making progress day by day and is trying to stay positive and hopeful.

She is sleeping better now and has gained some weight and is now back up to 113 pounds....which is a huge relief and a good sign she is heading in the right direction! 

But she still has quite a ways to go....and stress and worry is the worst thing for her right now. She is worried about all of the medical bills and the cost of the COBRA insurance now that she has no job, and being able to afford to continue her homeopathic treatments. She is worried about not working and having to find a new job after she is better and in the meantime keeping her house so once she is well she has it for the boys to be able to come back and live with her. She misses them so much, she doesn't get to see them very often right now, and her mom is having to take care of them all by herself, which is really hard on her as well.

She is also still waiting for an appointment with a new GI specialist she has been trying to get in to see since July- and he is booked out until December. 

I could write so much more about what my niece has gone thru this past year - and is still going thru - but I know this is already a very long read. So I will end with this.... I am hoping that by doing this fundraiser it will alleviate some of her worry and stress - and allow her to just focus on healing and getting better.

Please donate - AND - join the letter writing campaign if you can! If you can't donate, I totally understand (times are tough for a lot of us lately and so many people need help right now) so send a postcard or a letter if you don't mind and have the time! And please SHARE this!....She has been stuck at home for so long with very little outside/person contact and her spirit needs the words of encouragement. She does not go onto the computer very much and doesn't use social media anymore either....she used to be on it all the time - but now it just stresses her out to read all of the negative things going on right now that she can't do anything to help fix or change. 

I have set up a special mailing address for all letters/cards/postcards - so she can be surprised by all of the well wishes and words of encouragement. I would love it for her to even get letters from strangers from all over the world - just so she knows she is not alone, people care -  and to keep fighting!....(so PLEASE SHARE THIS!)

Any donations will be GREATLY appreciated and will be used for the following:

* Past and current medical costs (from insurance deductibles, copays, naturopathic doctor visits and treatments not covered under insurance)

*paying for continuing to go to see her Naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, IV treatments, supplements and special foods/diet

*Paying for her COBRA insurance (which costs a small fortune each month)

*Supplementing for lost wages and helping to pay bills until she heals and can look for a new job and get back to work.

*Helping her mom with the expense of taking care of her nephews and their special needs.

For the letter writing campaign -even if it's just a few quick words, or a funny/silly card...I know it will mean the world to her and make her smile!!!

Let’s overwhelm her with well wishes and words of support!

Please send all letters, cards, postcards, etc to:

Carrie Newman
9328 Elk Grove Blvd., Ste. 105
Elk Grove, CA 95624

*If you share on Twitter and/or Facebook please use #caringforcarriechelle :)

I will post updates as I get them, and thank you all so much for taking the time to read this, donate, write to her, and share!!!

Thank you
"Auntie" Sue Zapcic


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Organizer and beneficiary

Susan Zapcic 
Elk Grove, CA
Carrie Newman 
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