In mid-September, our lives were drastically upended by a devastating medical diagnosis. My beloved husband of 44 years, Gary Chappell, was taken to the emergency room with severe pneumonia symptoms. He was constantly coughing, unable to catch his breath, and could not eat or sleep. He remained in the hospital for two weeks, fighting for his life, while VA doctors tried to treat the symptoms. After four antibiotics, many X-rays and constant blood draws a sample finally came back indicating a severe fungal lung infection that is resistant to antibiotics. He is now being treated with antifungal drugs. The theory is that Gary breathed this rare fungus in the desert near Quartzite, Arizona, where he attends the annual rock show every winter. The fungus emerges only under certain conditions, often in winter, and the wind then blows it into people's lungs. If not diagnosed and treated right away, it attacks the lungs and reproduces.
Somewhat stabilized, he was released to a rehabilitation center closer to home having lost 40 pounds and barely able to use a walker. The plan was to keep him for 3 weeks and then send him home to continue healing. However, a week ago, he experienced a sudden decline. Covid has attacked his system. He is now in isolation for 10 days. In a few weeks, he will return to the hospital for a lung scraping procedure so that doctors can get a good look at the growth and determine if cancer is also involved. We do not yet know how his path to healing will unfold, but we are trying to stay positive and deal with it day by day, sometimes minute by minute.
His handcrafted jewelry business, Moonshadows Jewelry, has suddenly halted right in the middle of a busy season. It is tearing him apart that he cannot be in his workshop creating jewelry or at his craft shows selling his creations to his many loyal customers and catching up with his artisan friends.
In the midst of all of this, our daughter Anna has been diagnosed with a lump on one of her thyroid glands. She has been going to specialists and surgery is being recommended due to an 80% chance of cancer. We are hoping her Medi-Cal will cover expenses but there are many unknowns yet.
We now find ourselves in an extremely dire financial situation. In addition to the monthly business and household expenses, hospital and drug copayment bills are piling up. We managed to cover the last month's expenses but without Gary's contribution, our future financial situation is scary! Friends have asked me how to help. A close friend suggested that we reach out to our 40-year network of wonderful friends, coworkers, and customers. We would be so grateful for any contributions or sharing of our situation to help us get through this unexpected challenging time in our lives!
With Love, Linda and Gary Chappell