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Recovering from torn esophagus. Please help

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My Family

Hello, my name is Justin Neff. I live in Weaverville, CA. It's a small rural town in the mountains of northern California. I was born here and just recently moved back 3 years ago to be closer to family after losing my dad to pancreatic cancer.

Early on the morning of August 24th, my health took an unexpected turn for the worse. I was walking out to my work truck when a fit of uncontrollable coughing caused me to throw up. This force is what caused my esophagus to tear. The pain to every muscle in my body was immediate, and could barely move or talk. Paramedics arrived quickly after the call, but it seemed like forever. It was difficult to answer all of the questions due to being unable to breathe, being in tremendous pain, and panicking. Once at the hospital the doctors and surgeons tried to diagnose me before surgery. After a lot of questions and a few CT Scans, I was having emergency surgery, where my esophagus was repaired, a feeding tube installed, and drain tubes were put into the right side of my chest to get rid of the fluids that had leaked into my chest cavity.
A Few Days After my First Surgery

After a week in the ICU, I needed to have drain tubes put into the left side of my chest to drain out more excess fluid that was restricting my lungs from full expansion. Both surgeries put me in a lot of pain and made moving around very difficult. Getting out of bed was difficult and strenuous. I would be out of breath simply from sitting up and putting my legs over the edge of the bed. Even months after the hospital, I still feel as if the tubes are inside me. My chest and my sides are still numb after all of the surgery and showering is still painful. The breathing is getting better gradually every day with light walking and breathing exercises, as is the swallowing of food and liquids. 
After Hospital and All Staples/Sutures Removed

I am very fortunate to have survived this awful, life changing event. Until it happened to me, I had never heard of an esophageal tear and it's scary that other people that have bad indigestion problems can weaken their esophagus to a point that this could happen. This will be a long road to recovery with a lot of follow up doctor appointments out of town, and the exercise needed to build my muscle back that was lost in the hospital. My doctor, surgeon, and labs are in Redding, about 50 miles away, and I will be out of work for at least 6 months. This has taken a huge toll on my wife and I financially. Due to the cost of health insurance in California, I could not afford to get it while I was trying to build up the business that I was responsible for.  Financial and Medical assistance programs are also out of reach for my wife and I. 

Unfortunately for people in a situation like mine, medical insurance was not even close to affordable if we wanted to keep a roof over our head, yet according to state and government medical assistance programs, we make way too much money. So being homeless and/or broke seems to be the best way to go if you need help. I know people that intentionally don't have jobs just so they can use the state assistance programs.

Where Will Your Donations Go?
Your donations of any amount are greatly appreciated, as is an uplifting comment and sharing this page!
Your donations will go towards the following:

Medical Bills- $500,000+   **BANKRUPTCY**
For My Stay in the Hospital

Transportation Costs (help with fuel and maintenance)
Out of Pocket Medical Costs (hopefully health insurance in the near future also)
Cost of living/monthly(groceries, utilities, mortgage, home repairs) $1500 

**UPDATE**  12/13/2018
I've started realizing there is no way I will be able to pay these medical bills in 2 lifetimes, so I need to file for bankruptcy. I need to get an attorney to acquire this, and I've discovered that they are all about the same price...right around $2000. Getting this dealt with by March is my goal and any help I can get along the way is much appreciated and very, very helpful.

These incoming bills and late notices are very stressful and make it hard for me to sleep or relax while I am trying to recover. Anything that is donated and will put it towards rebuilding my life and making my future from here  much easier. Even once I get back to work in the next few months, it will be a long while before I get myself financially stable enough to be comfortable. I feel that I am moving on with a new life and any help to make it easier is appreciated.

My wife has been burdened with having to pick up a lot of the slack by having me out of commission. I am so lucky to have such a strong woman as my wife and don't know what I would do without her. Before this happened, I was not appreciating life and took a lot for granted. Now that I have survived it and I am slowly getting better, I am trying to live life more healthy and be a better person and think of others even more than I used to. Now I appreciate things more and look forward to when I am back to where I was physically so that I can go on hikes with my wife and family, and rebuild from what has happened.

I really do feel like a renewed person, and I'm hoping that all of you that read this can help with my recovery, either with donations or by sharing with others. Thank you!

Wife and I on our 2016 Annual Camping Trip

Knowing that there are caring people and donors out there that don't even know me that are willing to give donations is a great relief and a blessing, and you are appreciated by many. Thank you all so much for donations, love, prayers, and any other support that can be given. The help and encouragement received from this means more than I can say. 

Please share this link with others to help spread the word. Even leaving a friendly uplifting comment on here is appreciated. Check in for updates on each time I have a scan/x-ray, or doctor appointment. Thanks again to all who view, share, and/or donate!!

After going through all of this and seeing all the different people in need on Go Fund Me and other donation sites, I plan to pay this forward to others in need when I'm back in better health and able to give. I know how much even just $5.00 can do for someone, and I look forward to being able to help those like me when the time comes.
There's a whole world of people in need and we all appreciate those that can give. Once again, please share this link with others, and thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.


Sarah Neff
Weaverville, CA

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