This is my sister Heather. Heather is one of the most caring people I know, and right now she's in need of help. In 2013, she was diagnosed with a disease called gastroparesis, leaving her with a partially paralyzed stomach likely due to anorexia. This means that the stomach muscles don't contract as they should to push food into the small intestine. The normal time it takes for a stomach to empty is 4 hours. Heather's stomach is only 70% emptied after 4 hours, which means food sits in the stomach longer causing such severe nausea that she typically can't eat without throwing up. There is no known cause for the disorder, and very little statistics for how many people are affected, which means treatment options are slim. It's said that people with eating disorders and gastroparesis will make a full recovery from the gastroparesis once recovery from the eating disorder is sustained.
After years of treatment and inpatient stays for the anorexia, the prognosis for the gastroparesis looked hopeful and she was able to move on and leave it in the past. She began following her dreams of helping others through their struggles and got a job at a treatment center for teenage girls. She has dedicated the past year and a half of her life to this job, often working overtime just to be with these kids. She has grown tremendously as a person throughout the time she has worked at the school and it has been fun to watch the compassion for the kids she works with spill over to other areas of her life.
However, this past January, the gastroparesis came back almost overnight. Left with no answers as to why, she kept working despite the crippling nausea, vomiting, and pain. She went to 3 different doctors and tried every medication on the market to no avail. Having such a rare disorder with no cure, the only option to any sort of recovery is found by trial and error. Once Heather’s weight dropped to dangerously low levels, her only option left was to have an NJ feeding tube placed, bypassing her stomach to ensure nutrients to her body.
Due to having a feeding tube placed and working at a residential treatment center, Heather’s only option was to take an unpaid medical leave from work due to the population of people she works with. She had the feeding tube for 2 weeks in June until it broke (thanks to her bird), but she started feeling better and was able to eat almost normally again. She finished out her four week leave from work and then returned. Yet within two weeks her stomach was worse than it was before, throwing up stomach acid 5-10 times a day, and she wasn’t able to hold down even a single sip of water. Two doctor appointments and one instacare visit for fluids later, she is now back on the feeding tube with her weight lower than when she originally got the tube and at a very fragile place. However now that she has the tube back she is slowly getting stronger and stronger. Hopefully once she is back up to a healthier weight the symptoms of the gastropareis will decrease so she can go back to living her life.
As you can imagine, the cost for all of the doctors visits, tests, feeding tube, supplies, formula, instacare, etc. has become very difficult for heather to manage. She is currently $3,000 in medical debt and not getting paid leave and is unable to work with the feeding tube. Each week an additional $350 is being added to the bill to keep up the supplies for the tube and the doctors visits.
Since I moved away to Florida, it is a little harder to be there for my family the way I have been in the past and so I am hoping that I can help lessen the financial burden of this disease by raising money to help Heather pay for the bills she has acquired so far. My goal is for us to raise her the $3,000 by the end of the month so she can pay the outstanding bills she has. Without the stress of money over her shoulder, we can give Heather the space she needs to heal and find a way to cope with the disease moving forward.
Heather is someone who will do anything for anyone and not ask for anything in return. She rarely asks for help with anything, often going out of her way to make sure those in her life are cared for. She has the biggest heart of anyone I know, and now it’s our turn to give that love back to her and help her pay for these medical costs.
Thank you in advance to helping my sister! Please share the link to help us get the word out to as many helping hands as possible.
- Lisa Bojarski
- Carol Kaatz
- Michael Lewin
- Tammy Gibbons
- Randy&Jana Woodward
Organizer and beneficiary
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