Elisa's Village: Road To Recovery

Even though I'm the oldest, nothing could have prepared me for this harrowing journey I was about to take with my sister Elisa  Monique.

For a few years my sister had been living with Colitis .  But, to know her and be around her you would never know. I knew she had been under medical supervision and was even taking medication to help her live her life and show up for her son [my nephew Tyler London] with all that she had.

But in late October, I would get the call that would make my heart nearly stop. My sister had been rushed to the ER at Emory Hospital, my parents enroute from Florida to be by her side, neighbors stepped up to make sure my nephew would be picked up from school, and the doctors did not have great news. Her Colitis  had spread leaving her debilitated, fighting for her life and facing the possibility of surgery.  For alittle over a month Elisa went through treatment after treatment only for her body to reject each one until surgery was the only option left.

Her inability to keep food down coupled with inflammation of her intestines, forced doctors to put her on pain meds, keeping her barely lucid, but allowing her body time to settle down. She went from the ER to a private room with her family having to wear protective gear because doctor's were not sure if she was a carrier to an infectious disease; such was the severity of her symptoms and the signs of her body shutting down.  In less than a week she dropped 15lbs. She was in bad shape. But after a month of trying several treatments and her body rejecting all, she was faced with her only option: surgery.

So, like the trooper she is, she did the research, had countless conversations with doctors, prepared our parents -- yes for the possibilty of the worse, and made sure we were all in the know [you know E, even lying in a hospital bed she would be on point] for what was about to come: a six (6) hour gruelling major surgery.

This GoFundMe is specifically to help 'E' with her medical costs and supplies.  Living at the hospital for a month adds up and she's not done.  Elisa will need two additional surgeries.  So before she is faced with her second and third rounds of surgery, we [my family and I] are asking your help by donating what you can. This will help her face the daunting task of paying the medical and rehabilitation costs that already exist.

This GoFundMe supports her recovery journey which is anticipated to be at least six (6) months into the new year.  Any little bit you can contribute will help and go a long way.  Elisa Monique was released from the hospital on Dec. 4th and she is happy to be home with Tyler and my parents.  She's so very grateful for all the love and support during this difficult time.

But the real journey begins in earnest as she learns to walk again, manage her food intake and regains her strength so she can undergo the two surgeries that are scheduled to follow in the new year.  In the meantime, her bills and expenses, already huge, continue to climb.

Trust me I had no clue what Colitis was when she told me.  And I, along with our family, we're learning fast! When it is severe [as was Elisa's case] it is dangerous. It is both traumatizing for the patient and the family. Please help us as we help Elisa during this tender yet challenging time.  Any little bit helps us reach our goal.

You know, right before she landed in the hospital, my sister came to visit me in Asheville and before she left she asked to borrow a dress for a photoshoot back in Atlanta. At first I was unwilling to give it -- it was a birthday gift. But she watched me struggle with being stingy and in her soft and sweet way she said, "It's okay Chele. I don't want for you to do it if you don't want to."

I knew it was her way of "letting me off the hook" and also a way to keep the love and peace between us. You see, I'm not as giving and generous as she is -- at least I don't think.  Though she's "the baby" of the crew she's the glue that keeps the family together in all honesty.  She's the strong one, the straight shooter and the first one to be by your side when stuff goes sideways.

I thought about it for a little bit and realized she had driven 3 hours to see me  -- [we didn't know it then but time was not her friend and the clock was ticking with an invitation to the hospital no one saw coming] -- and in that one moment I realized my sister [who is 13yrs my junior] was showing me what "giving" looked like even when it was difficult. Later this memory would revisit me when she would Marco Polo me, in tears, from her hospital bed...and I would have to take a minute bawl my eyes out and compose myself each time I responded.

I walked over, hugged her face and said, "You know what it's okay you can borrow the dress. You're one of the most generous people I know and if I can't let my own sister borrow a stupid dress after she just drove to see me...well then..." And I left it at that. She left the next morning, dropping me at the airport for a speaking gig, in clear visible pain. The Colitis had already begun to make it's presence known.

I will not lie. Those conversations between us these past few weeks -- she in pain barely able to speak -- that was hard...harder than I imagined it could be.  And in those moments [and they were often]  I had to face my biggest fear -- possibly loosing my sister.

I had no idea the next time I would see her she'd be in the hospital fighting for her life; literally. They say it takes a village to raise a child -- but it also takes a village to help heal as well.

It's true that life can turn on the spin of a dime. You blink, you'll miss it.  And it is in those precious moments of the blink that all becomes clear as to what really is important.

We are grateful for all the nurses, doctors and staff at Emory Hospital who worked hard to help bring her spirit and body back to life so she could come home. Now, she begins the long journey of recovery that lies ahead of her.

With all my love and appreciation...from my heart to yours, from my family to yours, thank you so much for your donation.

~ Michele Brigette/'Mitch'/Chele

Elisa's Big Sister
  • Kia Samuel
    • $100 
    • 53 mos
  • F. Crosby
    • $100 
    • 56 mos
  • Christophe Auguet
    • $50 
    • 57 mos
  • Dinean Robinson
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
  • Sharisse Cabrera
    • $100 
    • 57 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

M B Davis Ashley
Asheville, NC
Elisa Edwards

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