Erinʼs Multiple Sclerosis Battle
Erin Guge was living her dream as a self-employed, full-time photographer who owns Camden Photography in Estherville. Even if you donʼt know her personally you have more than likely seen her photos on Facebook or hanging on the light pole banners around town.
She has been a single mom since her son Camden was an infant, he is now 16 years old and a junior in high school. Camden is an A- honor roll student who is active in band, chorus, quiz bowl, and theater. After
graduation he is planning to pursue a career in Music Education. Great kid all around who makes Erin so proud everyday with his kindness and empathy and sense of humor.
Erin has been active in her community volunteering her time on the Estherville Chamber of Commerce board, ELC Fine Arts board, taking photos of Santa at the hospital, of pets for adoption ar the Emmet Co. Animal Shelter, reading to Kindergartners, speaking to classes at school, always donating to various causes when asked, etc. She and her son Camden also adopt less fortunate families at Christmas time to make other peoplesʼ holiday bright instead of getting gifts for themselves.
On January 18, 2018 Erinʼs and Camden’s world was turned upside down. When she awoke that morning she was experiencing double vision and vertigo which she thought was due to an inner ear infection. She went to the clinic that morning and within a matter of minutes the doctors knew it was something far worse. Erin was transferred to the ER for additional testing including an MRI. The MRI revealed several brain lesions leading to a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue. There is no cure for MS.
Since the diagnosis Erin has received several high doses of IV steroids to help return vision to normal. It has helped some but she is still having issues with balance and coordination, not that is much different as sheʼs never been very graceful. Camden has had to become a partial caretaker to Erin. Pain has increased considerably which is possibly 2 side effect of
steroid withdrawal. She has also been experiencing speech deficits including stuttering and slurring. At this time it is not known if this is due to steroid withdrawals or the lesions located on her left temporal lobe; only time will tell. If you know Erin personally she likes to talk A LOT so this has probably been the most frustrating part for her but she has found that if she sings instead she doesnʼt stutter so if you see her and she bursts out in song do not be alarmed. During all of this Erin hasn't lost her sense of humor or her laugh and snort, which she is known for.
Being self-employed her only source of income is through her photography and at this time it is not known when she will be able to return to work. She is supposed to receive monthly child support but as of right now she is owed over $28,000 in back child support so it has by no means been a steady source of dependable income over the years. She was informed at her last doctor appointment that she is experiencing a full-blown flare up. Since MS is different for everyone it is unknown how long it will last; it could be days, weeks, or even months before she goes into remission. Erin will also now have added travel expenses
As she will start seeing a neurologist in Sioux Falls on February 8th. At that time we hope they will be able to determine which subtype she has and they can begin to treat the MS and not just the symptoms. At this time we donʼt know how much will be needed to cover everything from food, housing, utilities, medical, travel, etc. Since we do not know how long this flare-up will last and when she will be able to return to work.
How You Can Help
Please give what you can. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated. We are hoping to get Erin back to work as soon as possible so she can return to a
somewhat normal life, or at the least, figure out her new normal. Thank you for your consideration, thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and positive vibes!
- Marilyn Anderson
- Louise Crall
- Debbie Wilson
Organizer and beneficiary