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Joanna’s Spinal Fusion Surgery

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This reach out for support is for our dear friend Joanna. Our goal is $20,000 to support her through this journey, this is a modest amount which will likely actually be closer to double this amount. Read her story below.

She has been blindsided with a medical emergency of serious spine surgery. She has already consulted with 5 surgeons, and the consensus median is that she needs to do a spinal fusion of her L4/5-L5/S1 spine. She chose a surgeon who spent thorough time speaking with her, understanding her lifestyle, and vowing to do his part to get her back to the life she deserves to live. She will be waiting the next 1-2 months for insurance approvals and surgery scheduling, which will require continual acupuncture and regenerative healing treatments to help her get by through the pain. She will spend 3 days in the hospital, then have round the clock care for 2 weeks. After that she will have someone coming by daily to help her make food and do tasks and get around. If all goes well and the fusion and screws don't reject, she will be cleared to go back to work and activities 4 months post op. This is an incredibly long time to be needing treatments, care and being unable to work.

The surgery:
L4/5-L5/S1 discectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion.
This will be an ALIF PLIF
This means they will be going in through her abdomen and past her organs with a 3" incision through her abdominal wall with the assistance of a Vascular Surgeon. They will do a bone graft fusion as well as install titanium screws into her spine.
They will the flip her over and through a 1.5" incision they will do the discectomy and laminectomy, filing down her vertebrae to create more room, removing any damaged discs, scar tissues and nerve damage cleaning up the current herniations as well as attempting to repair the failed surgery of 2016 as much as they can.
They have assured her: All the sudden new pain of 2024 will go away, she will not have to worry the rest of her life of it returning, but due to the nature and duration of the old injury, even with all of this, there is no guarantee they can heal the immense right leg pain, they won't know until they can access her spine to see what can be cleaned.

She has already invested over $3000 into doctors visits and imaging before surgery has even begun, and is likely facing well over $35,000 in bills. If you know any bit of Joanna's story, you'd know that she had all of her life's savings stolen by her ex husband, entering the marriage with 6 figures and leaving with nothing as he extorted her immigration status and abused her.

We are reaching out to raise money to assist her with her medical bills, therapeutic treatments, physio, and the time she will be off work post op recovering. She dedicates her life to helping and healing others, its time for the healer to be the healed, and know she is not alone. She will have rounds of family and friends coming to care take her and help her regain her strength and stay sane in this long recovery.

She has a history of L5-S1 microdiscectomy and laminectomy, which was deemed a failure in 2016. It was supposed to be a simple one hour surgery, and ended up taking 5 hours. She was neglected and abused in the hospital and had to have rescue from Ombudsman 12 hours later. She was held in the hospital a day longer than planned and instead of being walking and back to work the next day, she wasn't able to walk for weeks. Her surgery was deemed "failed back surgery". She was in a long legal battle against the hospital, but after many years of non citizen vs La county medical/gov't her attorney dropped the case being tied up in paperwork. She has now endured this pain for 8 years searching endlessly for a solution to get her back to her vivacious self.

She has a family history of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, hip dysplasia and other bone and Inflammation conditions. The genetic condition causing the disc degeneration is still unknown.

At 20 years old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia (a condition that should have been caught and treated as a baby), having sudden debilitating pain preventing her from getting out of bed. This causes one of the hips to be hyper mobile and the other quite stuck as the socket didn't develop properly as a baby, this is life long. Regardless of being proactive, getting adjustments, lifestyle changes to stabilize her hips, it results in a tilt and a twist of her hips, creating uneven legs applying pressure on her spine.

She thought she had been doing everything she could for 9 years to correct this until suddenly in 2016 she had onset of intense pain in her low back and right leg. Being dismissed by doctors and not having proper insurance, she was left untreated for months before she got her surgery through the ER which is the situation told above.

Somehow, this has not stopped her determination to overcome this life changing trauma in her life. Getting trained in fitness and physio modalities to correct her GAIT cycle, integrate postural integrity and nurture her delicate and damaged spine, she made it her full time job to continually be on the forefront of medicine and methods.

Suddenly, this February, things got much much worse. Similar to in 2016, no accident or injury - she had immobilizing pain in her back, sacrum and now left hip and left leg. After trips to her primary care and the ER left her discarded by physicians again she paid out of pocket for an MRI trusting her intuition that something really bad had happened. Her hypothesis was correct and her imaging showed even more severe herniation in her lumbar sacral spine L2-S1, luckily so far not ruptured yet but in a critical condition. She has been getting very conflicting opinions from surgeons on the range of serious surgery she has no choice but to go under. They are finally acknowledging that this is a genetic condition causing degenerative disc disease in her lumbar, sacral and cervical spine. The combination of DDD and hip dysplasia is causing an unstable environment that will continue to reherniate and cause her severe pain until properly addressed. No amount of alternative treatments can cure this due to the combating conditions.

Doctors have not been of much help the past 8 years just adding on more diagnoses of no hope. CRPS - complex regional pain syndrome, C/PTSD from living in chronic pain, neuropathy, treatment resistant nerve damage, degenerative disc disease, loss of lordisos (curvature of the spine), arthritis, Osteoarthritis. They had told her many times over the years she is not a candidate for a 2nd surgery to try to repair as "the imaging doesn't reflect the pain she claims to be in" (aka don't believe her/wont suggest the other surgeons messed up) regardless of relentless pursuing of new opinions and insight to try to find a pain free solution to the rest of the life. She has been referred to a dozen different neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, pain management doctors etc with no advice. Now with this sudden onset, pain history, family members with similar conditions, and new intense pain they are saying she needs to act fast to risk more permanent damage.

She has invested all her money and time for almost a decade into alterantive treatments, PRP epidurals, spinal decompression sessions, softwave treatments, chiropractic, acupuncture, physio, physical therapy, massage, chinese medicine. She has been passed from one "top specialist" to the next and been deemed treatment resistant time and time again.

She was told that due to the duration of nerve damage in her leg she will likely never recover and be left with this immense pain her her right leg and low back the rest of her life. Still determined to find a solution she has tried plant medicines, indigenous tribal healing, requested cutting edge medicine treatments not even readily available yet through MediCal in hopes of finding SOMETHING.

If you know Joanna, you know that she dedicates her life to helping and healing others, and this is her hour of need. She is a life coach, bodyworker, healer, mentor and inspiration to many. She spends her time in the ocean, guiding others on fitness journeys, and adventuring this wonderful planet.

After everything that's happened to her the past 8 years, she was finally starting to regain her life, finances, and freedom this past year for this tragic incident to suddenly arise. Let's work together to help Joanna get the quality of life back she deserves, to feel the support and nurture of her community, and trust that she will get through this, again, for the last time.

Treatments and costs she is hoping to schedule to compliment surgery prep and post op:
2 rounds Nad+ IV est cost $2000 per 5 day treatment
2 rounds Ozone IV week of treamtents: $1000
Wellness packages consisting of: cryotherapy, hyperbaric oxygen chamber, red light therapy, PEMF, IVs and IM cocktails: $500/mo for 6 months
Acupuncture and chinese medicine: $600/mo for 6 months
Rent and bills: $3500/mo for 6 months
Pre op imaging and doctors: $2000
Estimated costs: $33,000+
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Donations 

  • Angelina DiFiore-Muzzey
    • $25 
    • 4 d
  • Scott Trautman
    • $100 
    • 12 d
  • Daniel Pollock
    • $30 
    • 18 d
  • Charles Kwaske
    • $50 
    • 19 d
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 19 d
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Fundraising team (2)

Krystal Clear
Organizer
San Diego, CA
Joanna T
Team member

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