When she was 15 years old she underwent a spinal fusion surgery with the hope that it would stop the curvature of her spine from worsening. She would spend three months, including Christmas, in the hospital in traction and another six months in an upper body cast. She managed to study and complete her junior year of high school even suffering through all this discomfort and pain.
Even though the surgery helped to stabilize the bottom portion of her spine, the curvature has continued to worsen in the top and after more than 40 years the fusion in her vertebrae is starting to disintegrate. She suffers now from disc degenerative disease and has increasing pain and balance issues caused by the worsening of the curve.
The curvature is also causing her rib cage to twist putting increased pressure on her lungs. Her doctors have told her that if she doesn't have another surgery to correct it and treat the degeneration in the prior fusion she will end up either in a wheelchair or possibly even die.
She is now scheduled for surgery on December 4 of this year. She has to go to a specialist based in New York due to the extreme nature of her case; no local doctors are able to treat her. She will spend 8 hours in the operating room, followed by a week in intensive care. Afterwards she will have to stay in New York for an additional three to four weeks for physical therapy.
Once she returns home she will be unable to work for at least 3 months, possibly longer depending on how she recovers.
While we are lucky that the insurance will cover the surgery, she still has out-of-pocket expenses of at least $6000. Additionally, the fees for staying in NYC for 3 weeks for PT are not covered by the insurance, as well as her loss of income from not being able to work for the months following the surgery.
My mother has been a hard worker her entire life, she worked two jobs for most of her life and always did her best to make ends meet. However, when the crisis hit in 2008 she lost her job and was out of work for 5 years. This period caused a huge financial hardship and she went into debt just trying to keep her house and pay basic living expenses.
Since she started working again she's been working hard to pay off her debts and prepare as much as possible for this surgery, but we are still far behind in terms of the financial demands it will require.
I am helping her as much as I can, as well as the rest of our family, but there is only so much we can do. It's a sad state of affairs when healthcare in the US costs so much people have to start Go Fund Me campaigns just to get by, but unfortunately that's where we are today.
My mother is a good and hardworking person. She has had a difficult life but she relied on her strength and determination to get her through the tough times. She loves animals and spends her free time volunteering and rescuing wild and domestic animals. She can be fearless and has never been afraid to speak out against injustices and wrongdoing when she sees it, sometimes putting herself in jeopardy to help others.
We are not the type of people who have ever asked for help from others, at least not financially. We have always worked extra in order to make ends meet, but unfortunately this situation is beyond our control. Any help you can provide for my Mom will be a blessing and words cannot express how much we appreciate your assistance.
With our most sincere thanks and gratitude.
Ashley & Linda
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