Feel free to read on for more details into our background and what led us to this decision. We hope you will find it in your heart to fund a worthy cause, children being brought into this world.
My 26th Birthday Disaster
My husband Zach and I were stationed with the Air Force at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. It was June 18, 2010 and my sister and brother in law had flown out for us to have a fun weekend celebrating my birthday. We rented a cabin at a ranch and decided to take a half day trail ride on our first day there. Half way through the ride we stopped to take pictures. The guides helped all of us off of our horses and took some great pictures. ￼ I was really enjoying myself.
Little did I know that 20 minutes later I would be lying on the trail with three broken bones unable to get up. They helped each one of us back onto our horses and we started heading down the mountain. A tree had fallen and it was blocking our path. The guides decided we should try to cross it rather than turn around and go back the way we came. The tree was about table height. The first guide crossed the tree and then it was my turn. My horse didn't make it over the tree and his back legs got caught up. He started falling and bucking. The guide's horse reared up and he dismounted. My horse was falling down the trail and the guide's horse was chasing after us. The two horses collided smashing me in between and I went under their feet. My sister said it looked like a hoof went through my face. She got nauseous and was sure I had died. Once the dust settled, I called out I'm not ok and the guide and my husband were by my side in minutes. My sister and her husband were not allowed to dismount their horses and once the severity of my accident sank in, the other guide took them back the way we had come. When you break both collar bones, you can't get up. Your frame is broken. We were in really steep timber still pretty high on the mountain. If I had fallen a foot to the right or to the left I most likely would have been impaled and bled out. A rescue crew had to be called in. I lay on the trail for 3.5 hours before the crew was able to get to me.
They then put me in a suck sack and put me on a one wheeled stretcher and it took us an hour and a half to get down the mountain on the gurney. ￼ ￼ National Geographic happened to be there filming. My accident is featured on Frontier Force. You can watch the video here:Frontier Force Footage ￼ The paramedics weren't exactly thrilled with the film crew. They were worried about potential internal bleeding and it had been a long time since the accident.
Plus we were still an hour away from the nearest hospital. Once at the hospital they discovered I had a broken right arm and two broken collar bones. I went into emergency surgery close to midnight, which was almost 13 hours since the accident. My recovery was long and hard. I am allergic to narcotic pain killers so I had to just gut the pain. I had 3 plates and 21 screws installed in my collar bones and right arm. ￼ ￼ After the surgeries it was discovered that I had nerve damage in both shoulders and in my right arm. I had lost feeling in three of the fingers and half of the palm of my right hand. I had to have follow up surgery to remove a misfiring nerve that was causing lightning strikes of pain in my right arm. I also developed severe upper/middle back pain on top of everything else. I couldn't go back to my job, I have permanent lifting restrictions due to the nerve damage. I was a dog groomer and while not the most glamorous job in the world I truly loved working with dogs every single day. When you love what you do it doesn't feel like work. I couldn't wait to get to work every day and see all of those wagging tails. The rescue and the surgeries cost close to $90,000. We were very blessed to be military at the time and have TriCare insurance.
Fast forward a couple of years and it was decided to remove the plates in my collar bones. They thought that it might decrease the nerve pain a little bit, or it could do nothing. It was a gamble I decided to take. ￼ ￼ So I went into surgery and they were able to get rid of most of the hardware. I still have a screw that was too difficult to remove in my right collar bone. Unfortunately the removal did not help the nerve pain. I was disappointed but I knew that it was a gamble. Because of the severe nerve damage and the nerve removal in my right arm, no doctor would even consider removing that plate for fear of causing even more damage. So that plate is a permanent fixture in my body. ￼
Happy to get these out!
Today I am 34 years old. I still deal with nerve pain on a daily basis. I really can't lift much. Unfortunately I am right handed and I broke my right arm and I have the nerve damage in my right arm. It really limits what I can do. I struggle in the kitchen if a skillet is too heavy, I have a niece and two nephews and they are very difficult to hold. It is sad to think that when I have my own children, I won't be able to carry them in my arms for long. I have suffered from depression and anxiety. It is hard to come to terms with an accident that was caused by negligence. If we had only turned around. If only the guides had helped us off of our horses, like they did before, and walked the horses over the obstacle and then have us get back on after that. If only... But that is not what happened and our lives have been altered forever. I went through Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulation for my severe depression. It is an extremely expensive procedure. So my medical costs as of late are pretty high. My husband has been out of the military for 6 years now, so all of these medical expenses really add up even with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance.
Our Decision to Find a Surrogate
We love our niece and nephews, and with my husband's three brothers I expect more to come along. But we do want children of our own. With my daily nerve pain and back pain on top of the medications I need to be on for depression and anxiety, we decided a surrogate, while expensive, was our best option. The estimated total costs are around $105,000, but could be higher if any complications occur. (UPDATE: We haven't encountered any complications but our costs have already exceeded $125,000)That also doesn't count any interest on loans. I know that the decision to use a surrogate is an elective decision, but it is the best decision for my husband and I. It will prevent me from further pain complications that I unfortunately can't treat with pain medication due to my severe allergy. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I hope you will be compelled to donate to our cause and to share this with others. ￼
- Giselle and John Dubois
- Pierre Gregoire
- Megan Lehr
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