On the date of the surgery, May 28 2019, what should have been a simple laminectomy and fusion at L5-S1 took a turn for the worse. They found that the vertebra above it, the L4, had sustained so much damage they had to phone out to her mother to get permission to fuse the L4 as well, ending in a laminectomy and fusion done from L4 to S1. Unfortunately the surgery was not as successful as we had hoped. The L4 ended up fracturing, which did eventually heal after a few months. However, the screws that were put in started to loosen, and the bone graft that was put in reabsorbed and didn't take, leaving the bones unstable.
What was supposed to be a 3-month recovery period before going back to work teaching kids has now been extended indefinitely, due to too many complications. Another surgery is being planned for the near future, as well as alternative treatment plans. This next surgery will be higher risk, because in addition to opening up her back again, they will have to go in through her stomach to reduce the risk of spinal fluid leaks and to help reinforce the bones from the front. Another risk factor with this type of surgery is, after the initial vertebrae get fused, there is a higher risk that the surrounding ones will eventually slip and break as well. In addition to all of these problems, she also has degenerative disc disease.
As it stands today, Erika is trying to live as normal of a life as possible, under the circumstances. She has extremely restricted movement, and requires a wheelchair to leave the house, nor is she is currently able to drive, given her injuries. Despite her strong willingness to power through this ordeal, she is unable to return to work, or find a second job for the time being. She and her fiancé RJ have been trying to keep up with homeowner bills and day-to-day life costs on his salary alone, and the money she had saved up is running thin due to the extended work leave. On top of that, she still owes quite a bit in medical bills, and not nearly enough to start to cover the second surgery or other treatment plans.
We are asking for $8000 to cover the bills from the most recent surgery, as well as other current and future treatment costs. If we raise more than our goal, future donations will go towards paying for the upcoming surgery!
We have shirts too!! Also coffee mugs! If you want your donations to go a little farther, we've partnered up with some friends for some merchandise, and 100% of the profit goes to the cause! Buy here
- Brian Thomas
- Ian Lautert da Costa
- Taryn McLaughlin
Organizer and beneficiary
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