"People assume you aren’t sick unless they see the sickness on your skin like scars forming a map of all the ways you’re hurting." - Emm Roy
I think this quote perfectly describes what I've witnessed Christine going through this year, which is why we are hoping to raise funds to help Christine and her family prepare for the lifetime of expenses that lie ahead of them. Due to the complicated nature of the disease, I asked Christine to explain her situation in her own words:
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. I have two autoimmune diseases (scleroderma and lupus) and the scleroderma is attacking my lungs, leading to my lungs scarring and putting pressure on the right side of my heart.
Already this year, we've spent $650 in co-pays and our medical bills are slowly mounting. We are very lucky that Lenny has a career at Capital One and we have very good insurance. But, as with anyone who is chronically ill, insurance doesn't cover it all.
I spoke to a representative from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and she spent an hour walking me through the treatment options my team of doctors recommended and what costs to anticipate. I am beyond impressed with the level of service our insurance care team has provided me so far.
We need to financially prepare for approximately $8050 every 12 months to cover;
- co-pays for at least 3 doctors appointments a month
- bi-annual CT scans
- bi-annual pulmonary lung function tests
- monthly for at least 12 months oxygen treatments
- medications and herbal supplements to slow the progression of the disease and keep my inflammation down
These diseases have no cure. All we can do at this point is keep my body as healthy as possible, continue to monitor my lungs and heart, stay active and hope that the Scleroderma Foundation can find a cure.
The lupus is not active (yet) but there are markers in my blood. So, we have to anticipate that becoming an issue down the road as well.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't like asking for help. And I know alot of people who don't have reliable insurance, don't have successful careers, don't have reliable transportation to get them to and from doctors appointments and don't have a supportive spouse, a healthy child or two sets of healthy parents in the same town that can help at the drop of a hat. I am very, very, very lucky.
And I wish I didn't have to ask for help. But, if I/we don't, we will go bankrupt trying to handle this new financial reality. We won't be able to buy a larger home for Ellis to grow in because we will be in too much debt.
I feel very lucky for all of the support we've received so far. Lenny and I are equally terrified and optimistic about my future. But having a huge community around us makes everything a little easier.
At the end of the day, I have a wonderful team of doctors keeping an eye on me. And we are going to do everything we can to ensure I live a full life, despite this stupid disease.
Love, Christine, Lenny + Ellis
Christine always does such a good job of sharing her successes and staying confident in her business and personal life that it's easy to forget how difficult it is to run your own business and how unpredictable income can be as a business owner. Christine works hard every day to support her family while helping other people's dreams come true.
Christine is such a giving person and she has shared her success in many ways, with many people, including giving a free wedding dress to a bride who was battling cancer, raising money to support the Pamlico Rose Institute (supporting female veterans), giving a free wedding dress to a couple that were victims of violence during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville and being a board member with Girls for A Change. Christine has also helped numerous women by supporting them in starting their own businesses and following their path of entrepreneurship.
Now it is our turn to help Christine. Give if you can. Or donate to the Scleroderma Foundation if giving money isn't your thing. Either will help Christine and her family in the end.
Please share if you aren't in a position to donate and thank you for taking the time to read this badass babe's story. The world needs more women like Christine in it!