I would like to share a synopsis of what has lead our family to this path in life that has presented us with many financial expenses.
In March of 2002, at the age of 30, I suffered what I thought was a bad case of indigestion however, I was shocked when I went to my family doctor the following day only to learn it was not indigestion, it was a heart attack. It was that same week we learned I had Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
Fast forward to December 2016, my body adjusted to functioning with a weakened heart for over 14 years. During those years I was put on various heart medications, sent to Mayo Clinic frequently, functioned with a blood pressure that was kept very low to ease the workload on my heart. I underwent having a AICD placed in my chest and the lead poking a hole in the wall of my heart requiring open heart surgery to pull the lead back. Eventually the battery wore down on my AICD and I had to have a new one placed. I had been experiencing issues with a leaking mitral valve that required a second open heart surgery to repair the valve. So, in December 2016, my heart fell into further failure requiring me to see the Heart Transplant Specialists at KU Medical Center in Kansas City. “TRANSPLANT” I never ever wanted to hear that word however, “DYING” was the top of the list of words I couldn’t fathom of hearing. After a vigorous, in-depth heart transplant work up in February 2017, I learned my time on earth was dwindling far sooner then what I had planned. Medications were added to help by me time, decisions had to be made, many trips to Kansas City would be in future and most of all I had to mentally change from denial of my condition to acceptance of it. Let me tell you that is a hard pill to swallow.
Unfortunately, during this time of learning my fate, Jeff, my better half, was unemployed for five and a half months. We did everything we could to stay on top of bills which was very difficult and stressful. Additionally, for the month of December in 2016 we had to go without health insurance which of course happened to be the month my heart failure became very noticeable. Life threatening illness that requires many medications and no insurance is scary!
Jeff became employed again in May 2017 the income was coming in however he took a sizeable pay cut. We had to accept a new way of living when he lost his job and continued it with his new job; needs are a priority and wants are completely set aside which is where they remain to this day. Last September a “You Caring” page was set up to help our family with my medical expenses, travel expenses and some of our bills. We received just over $5,000 from many generous family members, friends and people we have never met. This helped immensely as we are forever grateful to everyone for their help and all remain in my daily prayers.
On February 13, 2017 I learned my fate was bleak but thanks to lots of prayers, a highly knowledgeable, confident cardiac transplant team and 24/7 inotrope medications running through a PICC line my heart continued to beat and I continued to fight to live. On February 17, 2018, 369 days after learning my fate at 1:30am I received “The Call” a perfect, healthy heart had become available for me and I just happened to be at the right place on the transplant list. It was beyond bittersweet, while I was about to be blessed with a second chance at life my donor had lost their first. My family quickly packed up and headed up to KU in Kansas City and at 2:00pm I was taken into surgery. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in my CICU room at 6:30am Sunday morning and I was ALIVE!
Fast forward once again and today is Tuesday, October 9th, 2018; I am just eight days shy of eight months post transplant. Over the past almost two years we’ve made so many trips from home to KU Medical Center in K.C. Google maps is no longer necessary and that three and a half hour drive no longer feels like eight hours. We have it down to a three hour drive that is filled with loud music, talk radio, lots of joking, laughter, tears and sleeping for everyone except the driver, although sometimes I do wonder about the driver. This year I have been blessed with the gift of a new heart and both I and my family are so thankful to my donor and their family. There are no words strong enough to express our thankfulness and love to them. We are forever grateful to my transplant doctors, nurses and the entire transplant team for their care.
Jeff and I began to experience a snowball effect with our finances due to the increased travel to Kansas City, both past and present medical expenses, him losing out on pay when he traveled to Kansas City with me, along with still trying to catch up financially from five and a half months of unemployment.
Last Thursday everything went from bad to worse...our sewer system backed up which required having a sewer company come clean it out then video the sewer line outside. They discovered a major issue which is going to require digging up the front yard and going down about ten feet to do major repairs. As our luck would have it, it’s not in the city portion of the sewer line. The same day we received paperwork from our mortgage company regarding our home and falling behind on payments which has now opened the door of us losing it. My new heart must be extremely strong because I know my old heart would not have been able to handle all this stress. I keep praying and thanking my donor for this strong heart and praying for a miracle to help lessen the stress. We learn lessons althrough life even at the ripe age of 47. To deal with a job loss is one thing but when you add something as serious as a heart transplant it magnifies everything. We have a time crunch 10/18/18 that we are facing to get everything taken care of financially which will illeviate losing our home, catching up on medical expenses and fixing the sewer line before it can become an even bigger mess. This is the most humbling experience our family has endured. We are asking our dear family and friends to help us spread our Go Fund Me, contribute if you wish, along with keeping us in prayer. Thank You.