In May of 2014, Art found out he had a blood clot on his leg so he was prescribed blood thinners which he took all summer long. The blood thinners caused one of the lesions in his brain to bleed.
In mid-August of 2014, Art and Deb took a trip to Yellowstone National Park with their friends. While on their trip, Art was disoriented, dizzy, his speech was slurred, and he fell down. They had to take an emergency flight back to MN to see his doctor. The doctor informed the Millers that Art experienced a seizure caused by his brain lesions. One week later Art was rushed to the emergency room because his motor skills and speech were rapidly deteriorating and we didn't know what was wrong.
On August 28, 2014 Art had to have emergency brain surgery to remove a large tumor causing swelling and bleeding in his brain (which was what caused the deteriorating motor skills and speech in Yellowstone a week earlier).
After surgery, Art spent 2 weeks in a recovery home which costed the Millers $900 out of pocket. While Art was in the recovery home, he got bed sores which need ongoing treatment and care. He finally was able to come home late September.
Since being home, Art has to see a speech therapist to re-learn how to talk and a physical therapist to re-build his motor skills. He experiences frequent headaches and falls due to weakness in his knees and dizziness. One fall led to an emergency room visit because his arm got really swollen and infected from the fall. Recently, he started hearing things he describes as "roaring" in his ears. Initially, Art was using a walker around the house to walk. However, as of this week, he is totally dependent on his wheelchair.
Art is in need of total care at this point. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, someone has to be with him. It is usually his sons Josh or Joe, or his wife, Deb. Sometimes it is necessary to have two people at home with him for certain tasks.
Since Art underwent emergency brain surgery in August, Deb has exhausted all of her sick and vacation leave to take care of him. Her job as a county-benefited State employee disqualifies her from vacation donation available to other State employees. This means that any day she has to stay home with Art is unpaid. She has been taking unpaid days off sporadically since October 1, 2014 in order to take care of Art when Joe or Josh have to work. Joe is on his way to exhausting his paid leave as well. The cost of Art's prescriptions (6 drugs a day) and unpaid leave for Deb is beginning to add up quickly.
Deb has expressed to me that she would really love if Art could sleep in their bedroom again but that would only be possible if they can purchase a hospital bed that raises up so he can sleep upright (lying on his back causes him to have seizures due to where the brain lesions are located). Right now, Art spends all of his time in his special hospital chair that allows him to sleep upright. However, words cannot describe what it would mean to Deb and Art if they could again sleep in the same bed together during this very trying time.
We have been lucky the last couple of months because Joe has been able to take a lot of time off work using his sick and vacation time that he had saved up. However, when that runs out and with Deb's paid leave already exhausted, things will only get more difficult making ends meet.
The Millers would never ask for help, but I know they could really use it right now. All of the Millers have been so strong and brave during this fight for Art's life and any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for considering donating to the Miller Family Relief Fund in order to help the Miller's purchase a hospital bed for Art and to allow Deb to take more time off work while Art continues his fight against cancer.
- Tony and Marina Diioia
- Brittany Machus
- Debbie Nunez
- Aaron Gallagher
- Scott Schantzen
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