One of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, Kelli is a mother of three and grandmother to two girls. Her sons Michael and Timothy are both NYPD officers and her youngest daughter, Kristy is getting her Master’s Degree in Special Education.
About six months ago, Kelli had a Total Abdominal Colectomy. Total Abdominal Colectomy is the removal of the large intestine from the lowest part of the small intestine (ileum) to the rectum. After it is removed, the end of the small intestine is sewn to the rectum. Kelli had this radical procedure done because her large intestine stopped working. The large intestine massages waste along its length to the rectum by rhythmic, muscular contractions of its walls (peristalsis). When this stops working, toxic waste gets stuck in your digestive tract.
Kelli’s life with a malfunctioning large intestine was horrible! If you’ve ever had constipation you might understand the discomfort. Hers was excruciating. She would work her full-time job all week as an office manager in a periodontist office and on her days off she would have to swallow as many as 20 laxatives to go to the bathroom.
But each day, Kelli got herself out of bed and drove herself to work. Most of the dental patients in her office adore her. Despite her ailments, she always remained one of those people who lights up a room and makes people smile.
Finally, this past July 2019, Kelli gathered up her courage to undergo the radical Total Abdominal Colectomy. The outcome she expected was that with the large intestine removed, she would no longer suffer from constipation, but pass food through her more quickly, maybe going to the bathroom 6 times a day, which wasn’t ideal, but seemed the better option.
She somehow caught, C-Diff during this last surgical procedure. Clostridium difficile, or C-diff, is an aggressive bacteria that cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation. After months of treatment with antibiotics, the C-diff problem is still not solved! Even after an investment in a $3,000 IV bag of a special antibiotic that was supposed to target the C-diff and eradicate it.
Unfortunately, the treatment did not cure her C-diff and she is still living with it after 6 months!
If the C-diff continues to live in Kelli’s body she will need to be cut open again for a temporary ileostomy, in which they will connect her small intestine to a temporary bag (outside her body) to catch digestive waste for 6-8 weeks, allowing time for her anal fissure to heal. Of course, this procedure is very risky.
Once her body (hopefully) heals, Kelli will undergo a 2nd surgery to remove the ileostomy bag and reconnect her intestines. Another risk!
The insurance policy her job provided her with, stopped covering her after only being out of work for a few weeks! This January 2020 will be the 7th month that Kelli hasn't been able to go to work. Kelli has had to pay $750 a month out-of- pocket for COBRA insurance coverage and is receiving a disability check of $628 once a month. Clearly not enough to cover her COBRA payment, or her car payment, or daily living expenses.
We all hope and pray Kelli will fully recover and be able to once again touch the lives of others with her LOVE and enjoy life again in 2020 and beyond! Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Any donations are welcome and your generosity will be funding the following costs:
Kelli’s past, current, and future medical bills and copay's, not covered by insurance (estimate is $40,000)
Kelli’s COBRA medical insurance ($750/month for one year = $9,000)
Kelli’s Treatment for Chronic Lyme disease, which is not covered by any insurance policies ($350 per doctor visit and antibiotics per month x 1 year = $4,200)
Kelli, unfortunately, has had a long series of health problems. However, she somehow manages to be positive and optimistic. She is a breast cancer survivor, who rather than be depressed about having undergone a mastectomy, celebrates each year she is a cancer survivor (10+ years now!).
Kelli is a woman who has shown nothing but strength and resilience her entire life. She has not had an easy journey yet has an optimistic perspective on life. She gives her all in everything she does, and expects nothing in return. She's a selfless woman who's only desire is to see her children happy. Our one desire as her children is for our mom to regain her strength and to be able to do all of the things she loves again.
Kelli is the proud mother of two New York City Police Officers.
Kelli is an avid cyclist who has participated in many endurance rides for fun and charity events. Here she is during the Tour of the Hamptons. She would love to get back on her bike again.
Some of you may know Kelli from the Forget Me Not Horse Rescue, in East Moriches, Long Island. She is an amazing “pet whisperer” - animals somehow, magically, connect with her. She’s always taking care of a stray or rescue animal and helping others every chance she gets.
The pain Kelli is living with is excruciating, yet she never complains.
We hope to see Kelli back on her feet and smiling again in 2020.
- Joe and JoAnn Orzo
- Robin Pomeranz
- Rick Spagna
- Rita Forlenza