When I met Jenn in 1997, she had already been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. At the time, I didn't fully understand the disease. I watched as my friend was in and out of the hospital many times for surgeries, trying to smile and act "normal" when she was not feeling well, always having to watch what she ate, and monitoring where the closest bathroom was located at all times, especially when traveling long distances for work. She married Chris in 1998 and had her first surgery within three months. Several years later they were blessed with their daughter Julia.
Crohn's disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract. Most commonly, Crohn's affects your small intestine and the beginning of your large intestine. Crohn's disease is one of those health problems where the person looks normal on the outside but is very sick on the inside.
Over the years, Jenn has managed Crohn's disease through an optimal diet, medication and multiple surgeries to remove diseased parts of her intestine. Despite everything she has tried, Crohn's has progressively gotten worse and has decreased her quality of life. Her doctor has tried several different medications in hope to put Crohn's into remission. After trying everything they could here in Fargo, her doctor referred her to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Mayo Clinic offered a solution to eliminate the chronic pain and provide hope for a different life - a major surgery. At the end of October, Jenn will receive a total proctocolectomy and they will remove diseased and scarred sections of her small intestine. The surgery will take 6-8 hours and will involve multiple surgeons due to the various areas that need to be addressed. It is a life changing surgery. She will rely on an ileostomy for the rest of her life. After the surgery, she will begin medications in efforts to eliminate the recurrence of the disease.
Jenn and Chris need financial help to address compounding expenses from treatment of her Crohn's disease.
1. Medical bills. Although Jenn has insurance, her plan has a high deductible and co-insurance. Her medical bills have increased over the last couple years and she is worried about covering the upcoming surgery.
2. Loss of salary. Jenn anticipates she will be out of work for eight weeks or more. She does not have enough paid time off (PTO) to cover this due to using time on unexpected hospital stays and recent trips to Mayo. She is not eligible to apply for Short Term Disability due to a pre-existing condition (Crohn's disease). Her husband Chris has also had to take time off work without pay after using his PTO for previous appointments. He will be with Jenn in Rochester for a week for the surgery. Additionally, they anticipate two more return trips to Mayo Clinic for follow up care.
3. Travel expenses. Travel expenses from Fargo, ND to Rochester, MN include gas for roundtrip mileage (640 miles), parking fees, hotel stays at budget hotels, and meals. They anticipate five total trips to Mayo, including consults this summer, surgery, and follow up care appointments.
Jenn is a good friend, dedicated wife, and mother. Please consider a contribution to support her through this difficult time and a chance at a better life with her family. She has handled Crohn's disease quietly and bravely all these years. Let's help her through this most challenging time!
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