Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN visit

My name is Laura Russel and I am a 47 year old wife and mother of three awesome boys.  Those of you who know me know that I have been living with significant health problems for about ten years. I’ve been to many doctors and specialists both here and in Phoenix. I have the typical symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia; muscle pain/weakness, rib pain so bad I can’t lean back in a chair, extreme fatigue, brain fog and a general overall feeling like I have the flu every day. I also have Psoriatic Arthritis; open cuts on my fingers which makes it impossible some days to grasp things and horrible skin rash on on many other parts of my body.  X-rays show I have arthritis in my hips, feet, back and hands, the way my body hurts I agree with the x-rays. Two years ago I was able to stop using supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day, now I only use it at night. Over the past few years things seem to be getting worse and more difficult symptoms have appeared - I am still searching for  any medication or therapy that will made a difference and give me back my life. Unfortunately I am starting to have more bad days than good and I am missing more and more work. I tried to get into the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona (2 hours away) but they cannot treat undiagnosed dizziness and suggested the Mayo in Minnesota. At first, I wouldn’t even considered going to the Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota because there is no way we could ever afford a trip like that. Even though my fibromyalgia and Psoriatic Arthritis are both difficult to live with, I have ways to cope most days but now adding this incapacitating dizziness it has all become too much to handle. Some days I am so dizzy I literally can’t walk or see straight. The Mayo in Minnesota specializes in both Fibromyalgia and dizziness, so in hopes of getting back some of my quality of life we have decided this is what I need to do.  All of this is severely affecting my job, my family and my quality of life.  I am too young to retire and not willing to give up and go on permanent disability. 

I have a wonderful boss and great co-workers at NAU who are thankfully very understanding about my health and the number of days I am missing (sometimes 6-10 days a month).  I feel very guilty about making their days more difficulty when I can't get into work.   I have FMLA intermittent leave but since I do miss so much work I have no sick or vacation time left. So the 11 work days I will miss  when I go to Mayo will be all unpaid time. NAU has a compassionate leave program but you have to be out 45 consecutive days to qualify/apply.  In addition to needing to pay for this medical visit we are going to need to continue to pay all our regular bills.

Living in Flagstaff, my husband and three boys and I have struggled but we always seem to make ends meet. Thanks to so many guardian angels we have never gone hungry and we have never lost our home.  We unfortunately have no savings so any unexpected expenses tend to put us behind.

My family has been very supportive and patient especially on my really bad days. One of the main reasons I want to feel good is so I don’t have to burden them or my work anymore.

We need money for my travel, hotel and food while I’m in Minnesota. We decided it would be less expensive if I went alone which means my husband and boys need to eat, get to work and school and pay bills while I’m gone.   My oldest son has started having seizures again, in fact he had one a few days ago, so he cannot drive until November (IF he has no more seizures).  My first appointment at the Mayo clinic is on September 6, 2018.  I should be able to return home by September 19, 2018.

It was a very hard  decision to post my story and ask people for help. But right now we really do need help so thank you for reading my story and please help if you feel called to. And most importantly for all my prayer warriors(you know who you are) , we could use lots of prayers.  Thank you.
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Laura Russell 
Flagstaff, AZ

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