For those of you who may not know, my name is Jamie... I am a 40 year old wife, mother of four, and grandmother (BELLA) of two, born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA.
A few months ago, I started noticing my energy taking a dive, I was completely tired all the time, and definitely not "just being superwoman" tired. Before all of this, I could do everything I had to do during the day, and stay up late if needed to, and then out of the blue I just could not physically push myself anymore. Instead of being up till 1 or 2am, or sometimes later, I was beyond exhausted as early as 3pm in the afternoon.
Thinking I'd just burned myself out, I had to press forward, and keep going. I continued to clean, cook, wash, etc., I kept on taking care of my family, and others as best as I could. However, I very quickly started experiencing extreme fatigue, consistent shortness of breath, and a great deal of vertigo (dizziness).
I noticed some palpitations in my heart, pain everywhere, severe weakness and other symptoms that weren’t adding up. I still just assumed that I was suffering from exhaustion. I actually lost my voice, and was referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. I made the first appointment available. (I always have a tendency to put things off, which should be priority for myself).
Trying to piece the symptoms together...
The lab work showed my thyroid levels a little low which is what we thought was causing all these symptoms. I'd already found a lump in my throat by this time. The ENT referred me to an Endocrinologist, who ordered a neck ultrasound to rule out the thyroid being enlarged. The ultrasound revealed a several nodules, as well as various enlarged lymph nodes. After these results came in, an appointment was set to biopsy these nodules and lymph nodes.
I saw the local surgeon that my Endo doctor referred me to, and during the initial appointment, he advised that I would have to be referred to an ENT surgeon out of State, because my case was a complex one, and required more of an extensive surgery than could be handled locally. I also was assured that any other types of cancer, and how many lymph nodes, and any other types of cancer would be determined during my thyroidectomy (removal of the entire thyroid) / lymph node dissection (removal of infected lymph nodes.)
The reason that this is so complex, is because there are a row of infected lymph nodes that are embedded near my carotid artery. They will have to send sections to pathologist during surgery. No other information can be given until I get this surgery done and they see what’s going on inside of me, and after the surgery I will have to have radioactive iodine for sure. However, chemotherapy or any other treatments will be determined afterwards.
Unfortunately, this is all really bad timing because my regular insurance plan is BCBSLA Community Blue, it is a Healthcare.Gov Marketplace insurance which is only good for the state of Louisiana. So I had to purchase a second type of insurance that would be accepted and in network. I opted to re-enroll in to BCBS Federal PPO. The new issue now, is that because the plan is new, I will have to satisfy my out of pocket deductible ($7,000), before the plan will pay. I am currently in Arizona, at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and this is where I will have my surgery, treatment, and all follow-up. I know that this will be a long, tough, and difficult road, but I'm willing to walk it. I just need some assistance along the way. The surgery cannot be delayed at all, and therefore, a lot of the preliminary procedures will in fact be completely out of pocket. Honestly, with how large of a family we have and my husband being our source of income, we just cannot do this without help. There will be many trips back and forth, and my flights will be provided. However, lodging is provided at a discounted rate, not free, so that is another added out of pocket expense.
I am not one to reach out for help normally, but I am extremely responsible, and do everything I can on my own in order to take care of myself, my family, and anything else needed. This is something majorly unexpected, and completely out of my control, and I realize as well as accept, that I cannot do this alone.
How much will this help
Any help would be greatly appreciated, and such a relief while enduring this financial burden. Right now I am just trying to adjust to what is going on, and understanding that this is just a season, and this too shall pass. I don’t actually know how bad this huge bill will affect my finances in the future, nor do I know what to expect from this GoFundMe request, because I've never had to do this for any type of medical assistance before. I don't know whether this request will be granted in full, or partially, but the one thing that I do know, is that God Always Provides, especially when it seems impossible!
Where will each and every donation go?
Well, I know some repeat testing for assurance, MRI, CT Scan, 2nd biopsy, 2nd ultrasound, intense mutation testing, the surgery, the cost of the hospital stay for however long, pathology, anesthesia, and the operating room. I'm sure the pharmacy and meds they will give me during my stay at the hospital, will rack up to a number much larger than what I put down.
Each and every donation, big or small, will be going to medical expenses and immediate treatment. Also, it would be used for the following: to help with all of the back and forth trips, follow up appointments, tests, and lodging for myself as well my caregiver, for each trip out to CTCA. Any amount would be such a blessing to me and my family that we would be forever grateful.
There is no amount too small, and every amount will truly help. Thank you so much in advance for whatever you are able to give! I hope to one day pay it forward, and pass on the same kindness and generosity as I will receive!
Thank you and God Bless!
Jamie L. Douglas-Edwards (BELLA)
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