A QUICK SUMMARY:
Hi, I'm Michelle and due to an injury (I tore a calf muscle at the gym) I have CTEPH (Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension) which means that I have blood clots and scar tissue built up in my lungs and my heart is working too hard trying to push air into my lungs. I am in need of a life-saving surgery at UCSD in San Diego called pulmonary thromboendarterectomy or PTE to cut the blood clots out and remove the scar tissue in my lungs so my heart doesn't fail. I will be on blood thinners the rest of my life to prevent further clots. Surgery is scheduled for Monday, November 05, 2018. I am raising money to cover the portion that insurance won't pay, the travel expense to get to San Diego, and the time I will miss work following the procedure.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
I'm a fitness gal, and back in 2013 I suffered a sports injury (torn calf muscle) working out at the gym. I didn't think it was any big deal, but by the next month I was having shortness of breath. Over the next five months, I was in the doctor's office again and again and was diagnosed with everything from flu to asthma to being treated like a hypochondriac. For those of you into fitness, you know your body and I could feel a heaviness in my lungs and knew something was in there, but it took 7 months to learn that the difficulty breathing was due to blood clots. By that point, the clots had become quite large and had formed scar tissue in my lungs.
On my last trip to the doctor, I got lucky and there was a visiting doctor from Oahu who had actually written papers on pulmonary hypertension. By this point, my lips were purple and they were cold. He saw me and knew exactly what was wrong. After some testing he confirmed that the tear in my calf muscle had caused multiple DVTs (blood clots) in my leg that had traveled to my lungs (pulmonary embolisms).
Although the hospital was about two blocks away, they insisted I was taken my ambulance and I was admitted to the ICU where they tried to get the blood clots out. They tried to suction the clots out but they were too large, then they tried to break them up using a kind of egg-beater looking thing - but the clots were too sticky. Finally, they placed me on a Heparin drip for 24 hours to dissolve the clots. They were able to dissolve one clot, reduce another by half, and the third they were not able to improve. They put me on blood thinners and sent me on my way believing that the blood thinners would reduce the remaining clots over time.
Fast forward to 2016. We moved to Idaho where I am from and I was referred to a pulmonologist. She diagnosed me with a rare lung disease called CTEPH (Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension). This means that the blood clots are reducing the amount of blood flow in my lungs, which forces my heart to work too hard, which eventually will cause right heart failure and death - and I'm only 48! I did my own research on the condition and found that UCSD in San Diego pioneered a surgery to remove the blood clots and scar tissue - completely curing what had been a terminal illness in the past.
We sent my records to UCSD (a Center's for Excellence in San Diego California) and thankfully I was deemed to be a great candidate for this surgery. My PTE surgery is scheduled on November 05, 2018.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Donate! Please, also visit my page: http://www.ctephjustbreathe.com
I've posted a link to the surgery below and have posted my pre-authorization in the updates so you know it is legit.
Also, you can look me up. I've been working in the insurance industry for over 27 years and in order to get an insurance license (I'm licensed in 8 states), they run your fingerprints and do a full vetting background check through the FBI and also through the state police. They also run character and credit checks to make sure you are a person of good moral character. I hope that helps you to know you are helping a real person who is truly in need of your help.
Any amount will help. Prayers and shares are also really needed. Please also visit my website to learn more about CTEPH and support me and get some fun fundraising swag at: http://www.ctephjustbreathe.com
Here's more information about the surgery - there is even a really cool video of the surgery, and don't worry, it isn't gross:
Thank you so much!!!
- Marc Santamaria
- Lynnette Davis
- Tess Grover
- Deanne Cruz
- Mali Murphy
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