Hi my name is Jessy Carolina,
I'm asking for help to cover bills while I am on the mend from a botched medical procedure that ended up collapsing my lung.
For those of you that don't know me, I'm the vocalist and washboard player for Holy Crow Jazz Band. I've been performing professionally for over 15 years. My band specializes in music from the early 1900s to the 1930s. My husband Mario and I run our band; he plays the clarinet and saxophone. We've been married for 10 years and have three kids, ages 5, 7, and 9.
Over the last two years I've had a number of surgeries to help with back pain and abdominal pain. After I had my kids, my abdominal muscles separated and didn't go back together. After being separated for a few years, I ended up with a boatload of medical problems. I developed a large ventral hernia, and also injured my lower spine in the L4/L5 region. I've had two spine surgeries. The first was a disc replacement that ultimately failed and needs to be redone in the new year, and another spine surgery which was a decompression of the sciatic nerve, which also has failed as a result of the first surgery having gone wrong. I also had an abdominal surgery where they reconstructed my abdominal muscles, fixed the hernia with mesh, and put me back together, basically like Humpty Dumpty. I feel very much like that busted up egg put back together again.
Needless to say, I have a TON of doctors and doctors appointments that I go to each week. One of doctors specializes in pain management. After I had the abdominal surgery last November, I was still experiencing a lot of pain in the area. My surgeon suggested I was having issues with my nerves and how they were reacting to pain, so I should see a pain management specialist, which I did.
Over the last six months or so they have performed a few different procedures to help mitigate abdominal pain. Most of the procedures involve me laying on a table where they inject needles into the middle of my spine to essentially block pain receptors in the nerve that corresponds to my abdominal muscles.
On November 22, 2022 I went in for a similar procedure known as a Left Splanchnic Nerve Radiofrequency Ablation. During this procedure, I am awake as the doctor inserts the needles. At one point, I told the doctor that something didn't feel right and it was hurting too much. I felt the doctor proceed with the needle and then I remember shouting in awful pain. I couldn't breathe properly, tried to tell the doctor something was wrong and that I was feeling pain radiating down my left side, down my ribcage. That my heart area felt like it was being crushed, that I couldn't take a breath. That I wanted him to stop and I needed to get out of the position of laying down because I couldn't take a full breath. The doctor kept saying that everything was "fine, nothing happened.' I felt nauseous, I said I was going to throw up, and that's when he decided to stop jabbing me with the needles. They sat me up and I knew something was very wrong because I was in agony and I couldn't breathe and the doctor was gaslighting me trying to make me think I was just having an anxiety attack or something. I told them to call an ambulance which they waited to do for at least five minutes.
Through my ragged breaths, I managed to call my husband, who was waiting in the car outside with our kids to pick me up from what is usually a quick procedure. I told him to take the kids to their grandparents' house and that I was going to the hospital, that I couldn't breathe.
Eventually, an ambulance came to get me and rushed me to Antelope Valley Hospital, where the ER staff discovered my lung had collapsed because it had been punctured.
After a few days in the hospital, the doctors became aware that I wasn't improving; in fact, I was getting worse. The lung was collapsing more each day, so they needed to intervene and insert a tube through my chest to get out the extra air that was escaping from my punctured lung and causing it to collapse onto itself.
I spent a total of 8 days in the hospital, each day having Xrays and ct scans done to check on the lung. I was on a ton a heavy pain killers, but the pain never fully went away. I had to be on oxygen every day.
When my lung was finally able to reinflate, they said I could go home to continue the healing process, which they said could take weeks to a few months.
Over the last two years, I've tried to work at a number of places like stores at the mall selling candles, or being a cashier. But because of my spine issues and the pain I constantly feel there that still needs to be addressed with another surgery, I can't sit or stand for long periods of time, and I eventually get put on the back burner where they don't give me hours, or outright let me go because "I haven't worked enough hours."
The only line of work I've been able to do over these last two years is what I do best, and that's singing and performing with my band. Even with the slowdown in gigs because of Covid, we were still able to make just enough to scrape by each month and pay our regular monthly bills. Even after having all of those surgeries, I still made myself get up on stage and perform through the pain because we needed that. It sucked, and was really hard, but I was able to do it. I could still sing.
But now, with what has happened, having an injured lung, as a vocalist, I simply can't make myself or force myself this time. I'm truly broken in Humpty Dumpty fashion and there's not a quick fix to put me back together again. Which leaves me broken in body, broke financially for now, and the reason I'm asking for your help.
Any donation amount will help me and my family immensely as we try to get through this difficult time.
Each day I continue to rest and try to get my lung to expand all the way with exercises. I'm currently seeking assistance through organizations, government assistance, and also seeking out legal representation as well.
Our immediate need is to pay our bills this month of December. We may need more help later, but this is where we are for now. I like to think in baby steps so that I don't get too overwhelmed with the heaviness of everything.
Thank you so much for reading this. If you can help at all, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you could please share this with your friends, it would mean the world to me.
Thanks from my whole family. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! :)
Edit to add: we made our fundraising goal of $5,000 to help us out with December. Raising to $7,500 for now to start thinking about January.
Thank you so much everybody!