Healing for my wife and rebuilding our house

This is Pastor John Smith from Grand Rapids, MI. I lead a ministry called PastorCare West Michigan. Our means of financial support is through donations. I am sending this GoFundMe opportunity to my normal Newsletter email list. 

I am raising funds for my wife Sue who is recovering from Polymyalgia Rheumatica “PMR”.  Shortly after we purchased our house we discovered a horrendous mouse infestation which the doctor said was a contributing factor for Sue's illness.  We had to vacate the house immediately and move into temporary housing. The clothing , computers and basic essentials we took with us all had to be professionally cleaned. The demolition of the entire finished basement was required right down to the concrete walls and floor because we continued to discover extensive mice excrement and dead mice behind and under everything. The basement needs to be professionally cleaned and rebuilt so we can move back into our home. 

Funds raised will be spent for professional cleaning, and paying the contractor for building materials and labor costs to rebuild the finished basement. Any remaining funds will be given to Sue to offset the loss of income when she was under doctor's orders not to work and any medical treatment costs not covered by insurance. 

What happened to Sue this fall broke my heart. It all started a couple of weeks after we moved into the three bedroom ranch house we purchased in Byron Center, MI, the end of August. It started with severe muscle and joint pain, primarily in her shoulders and arms. Then she lost all strength and most of her mobility in both of her arms and shoulders. She needed my help washing and drying her hair. She needed my help getting dressed in the morning and get ready for bed in the evening. Sue became unable to drive, because she could barely move her arms and couldn’t reach the shift lever on the dash. She couldn’t open or close the car door on her own. She couldn’t open cans or bottles. She couldn’t type on the computer very well at work. She wasn’t able to sleep in our bed for months. She slept for short periods of time in the recliner, then on the couch, then back to the recliner. She didn’t have a solid night of deep sleep for a very long time.

When we met with Sue’s doctor on December 7, she explained that Sue’s immune system is targeting all the things around the joints including where the muscles are attached, which feels like muscle pain. The diagnosis is Polymyalgia Rheumatica “PMR”.  PMR is a disease of the muscles and joints characterized by muscle pain (myalgia) and stiffness, affecting the shoulders, arms, neck or hips. The only treatment is Prednisone (a steroid with many negative side effects). Sue will have to be on Prednisone at least until January 2020, if she doesn’t have any flair ups. The time will be extended if she does.

Our Doctor explained the three main contributing factors for “PMR” are overwork, stress, and something in the environment that triggers it. As she listened to our story she described it as a perfect storm of things coming together.

·         I lost my job at the Pregnancy Resource Center.
·         I completely tore my rotator cuff requiring surgery, recovery, and physical therapy.
·         Sue was working overtime to make money to pay the bills.
·         We had to be out of our rental house in 3 months.
·         The stress of searching for a house to purchase quickly.
·         Long hours at home packing and moving boxes.
·         Sue was operating on adrenaline overload.
·         Stress is like kerosene on the fire.
·         Usually something in the environment triggers it.

When I showed Sue’s Doctor the photos of the mouse infestation we found in the house after we moved in she was shocked! My words could never have adequately described what the photos showed. She was almost speechless when she looked through the photos.

Then Sue’s Doctor made a series of amazing comments:
1. That house should have been condemned.
2. This throws a giant curve into what I thought was a straight forward diagnosis.
3. I can’t imagine that the environment in that house is not a contributing factor in Sue’s illness.
4. I will scan these photos into my report.
5. I will send a written report along with these photos to the Center for Infectious Diseases and request their involvement in this case.
6. You need to find another place to live at least temporarily while we are trying to get Sue well again, and while the house is being professionally cleaned of all the bacteria and viruses in the air and on the surfaces.
7. I am recommending medical leave from work for Sue for four weeks beginning Monday, December 10.

We moved out of our house on December 12, and stayed in a cozy cottage on a lake that a church in Grand Rapids rented for us for a month. It was the perfect place for Sue to rest and begin her healing journey.  On January 15 we moved into a beautiful, fully furnished home, graciously provided by the same church. We can live here until March 15.

Sue is doing better now that she has been removed from the environment.  Movement has returned to her arms, but strength is returning more slowly.  She is able to drive again and she has returned to work. We are so grateful for her progress! We are very thankful for everyone who has been praying for Sue and for each person and ministry who made contributions to help us get this far.

We sought and received great advice and wisdom from many professionals about how to proceed with our house. Our home owner’s insurance policy does not cover any of it. Our home inspector’s errors and omissions insurance will not cover it because he identified there was a mouse problem in his report, even though he gave no indication it was anywhere near as bad as it was. Our realtor used the home inspector’s report to get $500 knocked off the purchase price before closing. We received advice from several attorneys who said it would be very difficult to win a case against the owners because you have to prove intentional fraud. The legal fees would be expensive, and even if we won the case, there is no guarantee the owners would ever pay us. 

We took our time thinking, praying, and seeking guidance from God. We believe God is guiding us to not pursue legal action. We believe God’s name will be honored and lifted up much higher if we allow God to meet our needs through people who hear about our story and want to help.

We need your help.  Our goal is to have the basement professionally cleaned and remodeled so we can move back into our home. Thank you so much for your monetary donation and your prayers! 

I will save thousands of words by letting the following photos tell the rest of our story.

Thank you for your prayers and any contribution you are able to make to help us.
God bless you!
John and Sue Smith

Donations (0)

  • Mykel Barnes 
    • $200 
    • 2 d
  • Dennis Gilbert 
    • $25 
    • 4 d
  • Jorge Monges 
    • $100 
    • 17 d
  • Bobbye Hoyt 
    • $100 
    • 28 d
  • Thomas and Mary Bartha 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo


John Smith 
Byron Center, MI
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