ABBY'S LOVED ONES ARE TRYING TO RAISE MONEY TO HELP WITH HER ENORMOUS MEDICAL AND MEDICALLY RELATED EXPENSES.
Abby suffers from an almost unimaginable combination of ailments and has been brave beyond belief in fighting for her own survival. She has skirted death so many times we have lost count, and she is now a warm, wise, compassionate woman. In spite of her daily struggles, Abby managed to graduate magna cum laude from Queens College and has carved out a rich, rewarding life. She now has a wonderful partner, Jane, whom she loves dearly. However, Abby's health, always fragile, has become increasingly problematic.
She has spent most of her 43 years with troublesome and often disabling symptoms, many of which were repeatedly misdiagnosed: rapid-cycling bipolar disorder for which she has had to be hospitalized about 40 times and Muscular Dystrophy which has caused her extreme weakness and pain in much of her body. The MD, usually diagnosed in childhood, was not diagnosed until last year! This in spite of the fact that she suffered, since early childhood, from muscle weakness, unexplained aches and pains, and double vision due to weak eye muscles. Unfortunately, Muscular Dystrophy is a degenerative disease, so Abby's difficulties with mobility are becoming more pronounced.
On top of all this, as many of you know, during the past few years Abby has had to have painful knee surgery and eye surgery and has been hospitalized twice for serious infections. In addition, she had a recurrence of breast cancer this past fall, involving two lumpectomies and a course of radiation.
Abby now uses a walker, wears leg braces, a knee brace and stronger prism eyeglasses. At night she has to use a commode. Recently, muscle twitches which she has experienced for years, causing her to drop things and to fall, have gotten worse.
Two top neurologists concur that these myoclonic jerks may be caused by one of her psychiatric medications. This is a very serious problem because these are the medications that keep her functional and allow her to have peace and joy in her life.
Her neurologists, internist, and psychiatrist now agree that Abby's case is so immensely complex that she should be evaluated at Johns Hopkins, a major medical center in Baltimore, where all aspects of her health can be examined. She is on the waiting list there and we hope to go down sometime soon. Having exhausted our family resources, we are looking to this fundraiser as a means to help Abby pay for medical expenses Medicare does not cover, including frequent equipment replacements, medication and doctor co-pays, high transportation costs (since there are many times Abby is too ill or too pressed for time to wait for Access-a-Ride and must use taxis to go to her various doctors) and since the Johns Hopkins trip will be an added expense.
During an average week she goes to doctors and/or therapists 4 times, many outside of the Brooklyn area. The neurologists have also recommended that Abby take up swimming again, something she loves, to keep her muscles, including her heart, as strong as possible. This, too, means added expense, since the pool must be heated because of her medical condition and once again transportation costs are involved.
On a lighter note, Abby and Jane have adopted a miniature poodle, Lulu. This was not a decision made lightly, rather, it was a step to get them focused on things other than their health, and they are immensely pleased with their decision. Due to Abby's frequent doctor visits and episodes of weakness, there are more than the usual pet expenses, such as hiring dog walkers when necessary.
Abby's future needs are uncertain and, while Jane has a good job, no one in our extended family has enough money to fund Abby's foreseeable and unforeseeable medical expenses. That is why we are establishing this fundraiser. We want to ensure that Abby's medical, transportation and pet needs can be met without adding to her perpetual worries about financial security. We want to keep her as comfortable and mobile as possible for as long as possible.
We are sure that all of you, our family and friends, want to help in any way you can. Whatever you can give to this fund will be appreciated beyond measure. For those of you unable to contribute now, we understand completely and welcome your prayers and warm wishes. However you reach out to Abby, we're sure it will help her to heal and to continue to be strong. Thank you in advance for your support and your love.
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