Help Melissa Fight The Incurable

For the past 6 months I have been battling an incurable lupus-like autoimmune disease that is attacking multiple organs and my musculoskeletal system called UCTD. I will fight this for the rest of my life, and now I need your help to continue fighting. Below is my story...

In June 2017, I developed what they thought was pancreatitis and was rushed from an urgent care clinic to Swedish Hospital.

In the following weeks, I didn't seem to get better, and instead developed seemingly unrelated inflammation and debilitating pain in my upper back that caused numbness down my spine and legs.

After many tests, I was diagnosed with a lupus-like illness called UCTD. It is an incurable autoimmune connective tissue disease that can attack any part of your body and has so far affected my: skin, eyes, hair, pancreas & GI tract, kindeys, urinary tract & bladder, central nervous system, joints, tendons, and muscles.

What followed has honestly been a living nightmare. This disease has affected my ability to do everyday tasks, such as: eating, walking, seeing, staying awake, lifting a milk carton, thinking clearly, or holding myself up. Even on a really good day, when I can do all of the above, the pain and fatigue have changed my life. 

I don't look or feel like the same person anymore, my hair, eyebrows, and even eyelashes have thinned. I have rashes on my face and body. I use walking sticks, heating pads, and a wheelchair as if they were fashion accessories.

I am lucky, I have had the most amazing partner through all of this (my wife Kelsie). She has taken care of me for the last 6 months and continues to do so with a smile on her face. Although the support has been incredible, our finances are in need of some support now as well.

Unfortunately, although I don't want to admit it, we have run out of money. The cost of mobility aids, medications, appointments, missed work, special diets and supplements add up to hundreds of dollars a month. This month we cannot pay our bills.  This is with me working as much as I can, which I fear everyday will end due to my poor health. 

This fight will not end, and we are so grateful for your love and support. Thank you.

Thank you so, SO much.



[To give an idea of what I have gone through in 6 months time]
3 Hospital stays, 3 CT scans, 2 ultrasounds, 3 xrays, 2 MRIs, an upper endoscopy with biopsies, EEG, EMG, ECHO, EKG, and countless blood draws. I have seen a: general neurologist, movement disorder specialist, epileptologist, pysiatrist, physical therapist, neurosurgeon, psychiatrist, gastroenterologist, urologist, ophthalmologist, dermatologist, rheumatologist, naturopath, acupuncturist, chiropractor. I have been prescribed over 20 medications and 5 supplements.


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Melissa Koja 
Bothell, WA
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