In Gwen's Aid

On September 16, 2016 I had bilateral calf cramping. The next day severe right leg pain going down on the right foot.  Apparently, I learned this is an aura of neuropathy.
My right leg weakness slowly progressed to numbness and tingling sensations of both legs and a use of a cane and a walker.  As days passed by, a right leg limp was more pronounced with severe back pain. An EMG resulted in nerve damages. Had an MRI done but due to no medical insurance, I was just seen by a neurologist at the end of January 2017. This was the time I was diagnosed with slow onset Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) which could lead to paralysis from waist going down and was right away referred to a neurosurgeon and immediately sent for L1-L2 & L5-S1 microdiscectomy and laminectomy.
I started to show symptoms of urinary incontinence few days prior to surgery but My fears of becoming a paraplegic was diminished. Thank God!
On March 6 was a start of a new job just a 3 week post op. As hard as it is, I tolerated and bore with the pain. I accepted the challenge of both leg numbness as long as I was able to function with the use of a cane out of work. Despite of working, my numbness of both legs and right leg limp continues with on & off back pain; thereafter, things went for the worse.
On September 10, 2017, observed weakness & no sensation from waist down, not realizing it was a re occurence of my CES again but this time my symptoms were worse. Two weeks prior, Not being mindful that my bowel function was slowly diminishing, retaining urine & more numbness on both legs are present. I right away sought medical help by my neurologist who advised me to go to the ER right away at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco . To my dismay after the MRI, I was wrongfully discharged with all CES symptoms.
I ended up going to Englewood Hospital in NJ on Sept. 14,2017 where my L1-L2 caged spinal fusion and straightening of my thoracic 12 was performed. I still suffer from paralysis of my abdominal muscles up to this time. And now, developed some form of infection. 
We haven't recovered yet from last years out of pocket medical expenses and have been trying to catch up with backed up bills. We don't know how long my recovery would take. It can take at least 3 months for the bones to fuse together and several months of physical therapy to strengthen the graft and depending and health on how I would tolerate therapy and rehab to get me back in shape with full recovery. Longer recovery due to L1-L2  scar tissue has just recovered from healing and now been touched again & with more nerves touched.
I am a dedicated nurse, a caregiver & a strong willed powered woman and will not seek help unless I need to. All my life I have worked so hard for my family and never seeked help from others or the government... until now.
With God's grace and Your kind support will make a huge difference and aid towards my recovery and help cover other expenses.
Thank you so much.

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Ivy-Gwen Rivera 
New Rochelle, NY
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