Chef needs help going back to work!

In January, I began having severe pain in my lower back and loss of feeling and movement in my arms and legs.  I’d had degenerative back disease for 5 years but it had been successfully treated up until this point. Under my doctor’s advice, I had a double disk fusion in my neck in March, which brought back much of the movement and feeling to my arms and hands. However, it gave me no relief for my back and lower body.

The doctor and I began scheduling tests with the goal of having a double lower back fusion in July.  After the pre-surgery MRI results came in I was called into the doctor’s office and told that the surgery had been cancelled. The tests had revealed a mass in my left lung. I was devastated.  

Luckily, I was referred to the same hospital that I work for and treated like royalty. Two procedures were scheduled; the first was a scope inserted down my throat into my lungs and the second was an LVATS W/EXCISION. Three holes were to be cut into my chest so that a camera and 2 other pieces of equipment could be inserted to biopsy the mass.  If the mass were malignant cancer then my left lower section of my lung would be removed. 

THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE was waking up in that recovery room and the doctor smiling down on me saying, “Michael, it was benign and we saved your lung!” God must have been looking down on me that day!! After recovery from the procedure the double back fusion took place on August 29th and I can already feel the difference!! With time I think this is going to change my life. 

However, I’m still looking at a long recovery and was just hit with one more obstacle to overcome.  Three weeks after surgery, I woke up with a fever of 102.3 and my back pain was unbelievable.  I immediately went to the Emergency Room only to find that I had an antibiotic resistant strain of staph infection.  I was admitted to the hospital for 5 more days and am currently having to self-administer IV antibiotics…every day for the next six weeks.

Well, that’s my life and as embarrassing as it is, the only option I have at this point is to ask for help and I’m asking for any help that I can get.  While my company offers a good benefits package and have gone out of their way to help me through this rough time, I’ve been through every cent I have to pay expenses and am scrambling to keep on top of my bills. I do have a small insurance disability check but at this point it does not even cover the basics and I feel like I’m running out of hope. I’m currently living with a family member and un-able to contribute to rent or basic expenses. I’m in danger of losing my car, which I’m underwater on.   My fear is that I will never get caught up financially, much less be able to move where my job is located and begin work again.

My ultimate goal is to get back on my feet and back to work at the job I love…making healthy food for patients and their families. Your support and donations would make that goal a reality. Thank you so much for reading my story and considering making a donation.


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Chef Michael Griffin 
Atlanta, GA
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