My incredible wife Amanda Bernacchi has been chronically ill for the past five and a half years.
Last month we were served with an eviction notice (not because of non-payment; we were on a month-to-month), and must vacate our rental property on July 31st. This has overtaxed our fragile budget, and we are now unable to pay for the move, a new place, service our debt or keep up with our bills. Everything has hit us at once; just when our savings have been depleted. We need financial help immediately. To be clear, the amount we need covers both the estimated moving costs and now-unpayable bills and debt that have accumulated.
Amanda’s Story: In November 2011, Amanda had a hysterectomy. The sutures did not heal and two months later her colon collapsed onto her pelvic floor. Her life was saved that night, but her digestive system was ruined. Later in 2012, she had surgery to re-support her colon with transvaginal mesh. Her pain and fatigue only increased.
After a year of visits to Cleveland Clinic, their multi-disciplinary team could not alleviate Amanda's severe pain, fatigue, nausea and fever; they did not believe that the transvaginal mesh was the culprit. A year later, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan Medical Center both arrived at similar conclusions—the mesh was not the reason for her illness. By now Amanda, a former swimming champion, was bedridden. In 2015, we hired patient advocates, who went through the almost 600 documented office visits and tests we provided and determined that the transvaginal mesh was the major cause of her symptoms. They contacted UCLA Health. A year later, in March 2016, the rotting mesh which had ulcerated her organs and decimated her autoimmune system was removed.
While her pain was lessened, it continues daily. Her body’s three and a half year fight against the infected mesh has resulted in chronic fatigue, inability to digest most whole foods, and the inability to create adequate tears, saliva or lubrication for her joints. To give only one example of the damage done, her eyes require constant artificial lubrication, but they reject the preservatives that are in nearly every brand of eyedrop. The only ones we have found that work are Oasis Tears, which are imported from France, and we spend nearly $2000-$3000 a month on them.
It's been a long road for Amanda and my stepson Clay. But I am determined to find a way to make her care more affordable, and we hope that a new place (without stairs) will be a more livable environment for her.