Everything started to go wrong in 2012. After a long 30 hour work day trying to get a job finished, I went to bed with a massive headache and blurry vision. I woke up a few hours later. When I tried to get up I fell to the floor. Half my body was numb and I felt extreme nausea. After a trip to the emergency room, we learned I had suffered a stroke. Fortunately the bleeding stopped on it's own and surgery was not neccesary. It turns out I had type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure which contributed to the stroke. I was released after a week. Fortunately I had insurance which covered a large part of the bills. but I still had copays, prescriptions, and other expenses.I was also out of work while I re-learned how to do even the most menial tasks. I'm a left-handed freelance artist and the stroke affected the left side of my body. Working as a freelancer can be very fickle under the best of circumstances and being out of work even a few months can be enough to totally eradicate your client list. Once I was able to work again, I was starting from scratch and it's taken several years to build business back up. The old car I had that was already in bad shape died while it sat undriven during my recovery. I made it through this crisis but iI was left with debt and no working transportation in an area that has no public transportation options.
That brings us to 2016. After suffering from severe fatigue, constipation, and other symptoms, I decided it was time to go to the doctor. After a colonoscopy, CT scan, and MRI we learned I had colon cancer. The good news was it appeared to be isolated to the colon and they believed they would be able to get it all with laparascopic surgery. Surgery was scheduled for January 30th (my birthday). Due to the size of the tumor, they were not able to do laparascopic surgery but the alternate surgery went well and I was on the road to recovery. This is where things started to go badly again. After a day of recovery, my vital signs started to drop and I eventually ended up in the Critical Care Unit. My surgical wound was infected. After another procedure to drain two abscesses, I was eventually released, but my expected 3-5 days of hospitalization turned into 10 days. In the meantime we also learned that 9 of the 15 surrounding lymph nodes that were removed and sent for testing were cancerous.
Where I am now: I currently have 2 drains that are still draining the abscesses. They should be removed shortly. I have a colostomy bag that, if all goes well, will be removed in 2-3 months. I have to go in for additional tests too see if the cancer has spread and I am looking at at least some chemotherapy. I currently don't have any transportation. I have about $15,000 of existing debt. Incoming medical bils look like they will be about $6,000. This doesn't include the chemotherapy tratments, colostomy, reversal, and other treatments and surgeries I may need. I can work in a very limited capacity right now, but my work load will be affected by any future treatments and even after healing, I will probably need time to re-build my client list again. I've set my goal at $20,000 that should be enough to cover my current and upcoming medical expenses and still leave me a little to buy a reliable used car.
My family and friends have been very supportive during these times, but unfortunately, I need some help beyond them. It's hard to anticipate where this is ultimately going to put me financially, but anything you can do to help - donating or sharing - would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support!