Preventing Paralysis - Emergency Neck Surgery

Dear Friends, Family & Other Caring Individuals, 

We have an emergency on our hands and we are appealing to you for support. My fiancee', Carol Fowler, requires emergency neck surgery due to increasing pressure on her spinal cord. Failing to act now will create irreversible damage and a permanent partial paralysis of unknown degree. 

Carol and I have had a tough journey fighting to heal her injury through all other methods over the years. This is the only remaining option for her full recovery. She has bravely faced her excruciating nerve pain,  working through it, enduring endless sleepless nights, numbness, shooting pain and anguish as we have fought to find a solution. 

We now look to you for help. We have been alerted by our doctors that this surgery cannot be delayed for any reason. We must travel to Germany as this is a very specialized disc replacement procedure and is not performed within the United States. Since the surgery is taking place outside of the country, no medical insurance is accepted and the procedure must be pre-payed. It is a tremendous expense to us and must be paid in full by August 14th. 

The surgery, hospital stay, rehabilitation therapy, rehab housing, and flights will cost $45,000.  Added to this cost is lost time from work (we are self employed) resulting in a challenging situation.  We are looking into loans and our savings will help pay our bills while we are gone, but we financial assistance from anyone who is able.  

As a result of this emergency, it is with disappointment that we announce the postponement of our wedding at Cornerstone Church here in Incline Village, which we have been greatly anticipating for months. 

Although it is uncertain, the doctors have advised us that Carol is at risk of paralysis if this surgery does not take place right away.  We now reach out to you, dear friends, family and anyone else touched by our story, for financial support. 

Both Carol and I are fiercely independent people who believe in working hard to provide for ourselves and our family without asking others for help.  It is with great humility that we turn to you for support.  Please donate if you are moved to and able.  

With all sincerity, we appreciate your time and consideration of this matter.  

Your assistance is urgently needed, to see full details of the situation and surgery, please read on for the complete story:

The XRay above is from 1 1/2 years ago.  A recent MRI reveals 2 desiccated disks, one herniated and one protruding into the spinal column with two enlarged facet joints creating pressure on the nerves.

Carol is Suffering.  We need the Support of our Community...

Carol has been in increasingly debilitating pain for 4 years now.  This all began with a nearly fatal car accident 25 years ago which fractured her neck.  Over time with normal aging and degeneration the heavy damage to her neck has begun compressing nerves and now is pushing on her spinal cord itself causing extreme muscle spasms, pain, numbness and tingling in her arm and now increasingly numbness and loss of strength down the entire left side of her body to her feet.  Carol is in constant pain 24 hours a day. She is able to sleep only with prescription medication, painkillers and nerve blockers for only a few hours per night. She is reduced to tears almost every day. When you know how lovely, giving, motivated and positive of a person Carol is then you KNOW she is suffering terribly to be reduced to such a state.  

Treatments we Have Utilized...
(our thanks to Dr. Frank Shallenberger, Dr. Gregory Smith, DC, Michael Dooley LMT)

Rolfing kept Carol symptom free for weeks to months at a time.  Regular chiropractic adjustments helped too. The list of treatments we have tried is exhaustive and we have done everything we can think of to prevent the need for surgery.  These treatments have helped to a degree but only for a limited time.  A partial list would include rolfing, physical therapy, cortisone injections, tens unit, heat cold therapy, traction, nutritional therapies, anti-inflammatory therapy, multiple medications, multiple prolozone injections, multiple platelet-rich plasma injections and most recently even stem cells. As of 3 months ago, nothing has provided relief.  A recent MRI has revealed that she must have surgery now.  

Why Fusion is not a Solution…

Cervical neck fusion for Carol’s injuries is not an option for several reasons.  Neck fusions have inherent problems associated with them including the almost certain need for additional surgeries to follow.  Once a fusing of two vertebrae together is completed all motion in that joint is prevented. This transfers the stresses and strains of movement to the discs above and below the fusion.  In Carol’s case, her discs above and below the fusion sites are already compromised and will certainly fail soon after. This begins a cascade effect which will almost certainly, according to radiologist & neurosurgeons that we have consulted, lead to more and more surgeries and complications.  Carol’s situation is compounded by problems in the facet joints which would not be solved by a fusion.  

The Breakthrough Artificial Disc Replacement...

Brilliant engineering has provided a genius solution to this complicated problem, it is known as ADR or artificial disc replacement.  There are more than 30 types of artifical disks available in the world but only 3 in the United States. These three types of disks in the USA are a primitive first generation product and U.S. neurosurgeons are 15 years behind in technology.  After talking with leading U.S. surgeons we have been advised that Carol is not a candidate for due to her age and complex condition.  German neurosurgeons however are providing Carol with a 90 percent chance of full recovery after a multi level Artificial Disk Replacement Surgery.  These miraculously engineered titanium discs that will be used in the surgery are capable of incredible feats- flexion, extension, rotation and compression simultaneously just as a human vertebral disc. The USA discs are only capable of rotation.

See the marvel here:

The Treatment Clinic & Plan...

In Germany in the town of Dusseldorf is a clinic devoted to complex cases like Carols.  They are the world leaders in ADR and have examined Carol’s MRI and X-Rays and have laid out a detailed treatment plan which includes a 2 cervical disc replacements in a delicate surgery accessing the neck from the front.  

Her surgery will be followed by a 8 days in the hospital with little to no movement.  Then begins a second week of rehabilitation in their residential physiotherapy center.


With, and only with, this surgery the doctors expect Carol to regain full function of her cervical spine and possibility to return to a normal life.   

A Full Month of Downtime and 3 months of Limited Work Duty

Carol will need full time care for one month therefore I will be going with her to Germany.  She will not be able to work for drive for the first month with restrictions placed on her day to day life for 3 to 6 months.  A full recovery can be expected at 8 - 12 months.

Our Wedding Postponed...

Carol and I were planning on having a small wedding on September 20th with our children here in Incline Village but due to the rapid degeneration of her condition we have postponed until after the surgery.  

The Bottom Line and Cost...

The surgery, hospital stay, rehabilitation therapy, rehab housing, and flights will cost $45,000.  Added to this cost is lost time from work (we are self employed) resulting in a challenging situation.  We are looking into loans and our savings will help pay our bills while we are gone, but we financial assistance from anyone who is able.  

Both Carol and I are fiercely independent people that hate asking anyone for anything so it is with great humility we turn to you for support.  Please donate if you are moved to and able.  

With Gratitude & Sincerity,


Joe Dunkley and Carol Fowler

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Carol Fowler 
Incline Village, NV
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