As many of you know she has been suffering with Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome for almost 15 years, which has caused her severe chronic pain. Through years of misdiagnosis and frustrating lack of proper care, her illness has progressed to stage III-IV Deeply Infiltrating Endometriosis, and growing more painful every day. Ashley's illness is progressive and requires complex surgical attention to resolve her pain, preserve her fertility, and give her the best shot at a normal, pain free life.
As Ashley's case has become more urgent, she's scheduled for the first available date for surgery at the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, GA, on Friday October 26th. Ashley is unable to work and has no saved funds for surgery. Our parents are also not able to pay any large portion due to our family business experiencing financial hardship. Due to this added financial stress, they have been unable to make a house payment for 6mos and are in the preliminary stages of foreclosure. As you can gather, we're struggling to make ends meet and solely relying on your generous donations as we step out in great faith, knowing God will provide for this endeavor. As we humbly ask for your help in making this surgery happen, would you please read Ashley's story below and consider donating to her cause!? We're grateful you're here!
What Is Endometriosis?
Most of you have probably seen the recent commercials about Endometriosis, but are still mainly unaware of what endo is or what it can do on a widespread level. It's time for an Endocation! AKA an endo education ;-) Endometriosis is not "just a bad period". It is a complex gynecological disorder that causes tissue similar to the inner lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus and attach throughout the pelvis, causing monthly bleeding, adhesions, scarring, and an inflammatory reaction in the body. This often leads to severe debilitating pain, chronic fatigue, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
In the United States endometriosis occurs in every 1 in 10 women and over 200 Million women worldwide, for which there is NO cure or definitive known cause.
Endometriosis has also been found to attach to the bowels, nerves, embed itself in the pelvic and abdominal walls, the liver, the chest wall, diaphragm, and has even been found on the lungs and heart. This is known as extra-pelvic Deeply Infiltrating Endometriosis which implants into the deeper layers of tissue and can cause the pelvic organs to become adhered together, as well as adhere organs to the pelvic and abdominal walls. Ashley's surgeon suspects she has Stage III-IV Deeply Infiltrating Endometriosis and will require extensive surgery to attend to all of the possible affected areas.
Although there is no cure, the gold standard of treatment for endometriosis is excision surgery- (surgical removal or resection of endometriosis), which requires a highly trained endometriosis surgeon. Excision surgery is shown to be 75-85% effective at providing long-term relief vs. it's lesser equal, ablation (the burning off of endometriosis at the surface) which has extremely high rates of recurrence; between 40-60% even as quickly as 1-2 years after ablation surgery.
At almost 31 years old, this disease has completely overwhelmed Ashley's body, greatly diminishing her quality of life. She has been unemployed for 6 years, is financially dependent on her parents, in medical and financial debt, and had to drop out of school to focus on managing her symptoms. We never could have imagined that an Endometriosis diagnosis would have this effect on a deep, life altering level. Ashley's story is the same for hundreds of thousands of women who where never told how this disease can impact every aspect of their lives and were never directed toward proper treatment to resolve their symptoms.
Within the last year, Ashley's Endometriosis pain has taken a turn for the worse. It was discovered that among her endometriosis riddled body she has a large endometrioma, (a type of cyst formed when endometrial tissue (the mucous membrane that makes up the inner layer of the uterine wall) grows in the ovaries), and it has overtaken her right ovary. With the endometrioma continuing to grow and endometriosis likely attached to many organs and embedded in her pelvic and abdominal walls, the daily struggle to combat the pain and fatigue has reached its peak. Ashley was seen in the ER August 2nd where it was confirmed her endometrioma has grown, causing her right ovary to swell twice its normal size, and is intermittently twisting her ovary, causing her excruciating pain. If her endometrioma continues to rapidly grow it will increase her chances of developing ovary torsion (twisting of the ovary that does not correct itself) that will require emergency surgery and the removal of her ovary.
Ashley's struggle with endo has lead to her researching her illness extensively for many, many years. In her search for answers, she has found a surgeon at the Center for Endometriosis Care (CEC) in Atlanta, Georgia. This surgeon is highly trained and will be able to handle the complexity of her case and complete excision of her endometriosis and removal of her endometrioma, while preserving her ovary. (CEC patients having had Endometriosis Excision Surgery are in the 90% success rates for disease remission!)
In the hopeful preparation for this life changing excision surgery, Ashley started to lose weight and maintains a healthy diet. Since January she has lost almost 45 pounds!! She is FINALLY to the point in her battle where her chance at life free of endo pain is within reach!! We are confident that this is the right course of treatment for Ashley and that this surgery will allow her to reclaim areas of her life that have been on hold for 6 years due to pain and fatigue. This surgery will also give Ashley the very best odds at being able to naturally conceive children when and if that time comes.
How Can You Help!?
Unfortunately, Ashley's insurance will not cover surgery or post-op physical therapy, due to her surgeon being "out of network", and therefore she is a cash pay patient. Please consider donating what you can to help Ashley and our family pay for surgery, post surgical care, physical therapy, and travel & lodging accommodations to Atlanta for one week. We are trusting God to make a way as He has already prepared this road for her! If you're unable to donate please consider sharing Ashley's page so her story can go beyond our immediate friends and family to reach a larger audience and to help spread awareness of endometriosis, which is an important part of Ashley's story.
Friends, we have 1 month to raise the funds! We CAN do this!
Thank you so much for your kindness and support through her journey as an Endo Warrior!! We love and appreciate each and every one of you!! Let's give Ashley the best 31st Birthday this October by helping #EndEndoForAshley
For offline donations (no associated fees) please contact Alyssa for mailing address at: [email redacted]
Or contact Ashley at [email redacted] for direct donations or questions about her case.
Breakdown of Cost:
Surgery & Hospital Fees including Anesthesia and Pathology: $25,000
Travel & Accommodations for 2: $3,000
Post Op Meds & Physical Therapy: $1,800
*Hospital fees are an estimate and may increase in cost depending on what is done during surgery.
*Any amount raised beyond the amount needed will be put towards Ashley's medical debt & the rest will be donated to an Endometriosis Foundation.
Information on Excision Surgery
Meet Ashley's Surgeon- Dr. Jeff Arrington
The Center For Endometriosis Care
"God causes ALL things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." Romans 8:28
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