She is now 37 and lives in Shawnee, KS with her husband, Travis, and sons Gabe (15) and Colton (7).
In 2008 she was forced to medically retire from the job that she loved in the U.S. Air Force due to her illness.
In 2009 she filed for Social Security Disability and was denied.
The following years brought countless doctors visits, hospital stays (including 1 month spent at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona), medications and biological treatments (very similar to chemotherapy). Nothing has worked and the disease has continued to progress.
In 2011 Nicole again filed for Social Security Disability and was again denied.
The disease continued to become even more aggressive and damaging.
Since August of 2014 she has been admitted to Olathe Medical Center, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Overland Park Medical Center, University of Kansas Hospital and Mayo Clinic - Rochester, MN. In addition, she has been seen in the Emergency Room countless times.
The insurance claims for 2014 alone totaled over $700,000.
During her stays in the hospital, she suffered from, or underwent the following illnesses and procedures:
- Removal of 95% of her large intestine.
- Perforation of her small intestine.
- Emergency resection surgery.
- Given an ileostomy.
- Bronchial Infection
- CDiff Infection (twice)
- Ovarian Cysts
- Spreading of Crohn's Disease outside of the intestinal tract.
- Abdominal Fistulas
- Abdominal Abscesses
- Countless CT Scans, X-Rays, MRI's and medications.
On April 23rd, 2015, doctors performed an ileostomy reversal and full hysterectomy.
She was discharged 5 days later.
2 days after that, on April 30th, 2015 she was rushed to the hospital for difficulty breathing and was diagnosed with a pulminary embolism (blood clot in her right lung). She was kept in-hospital and placed on blood thinners til the clot dissolved.
The next 3-4 years were full of further hospital visits and stays as her condition worsened.
Nicole was placed on numerous Crohn's medications, all of which failed, some of which made the Crohn's flair.
In 2017 Nicole and Travis filed for bankruptcy.
In November of that year Nicole hired an attorney to once again file for Social Security Disability. She was denied yet again.
The attorney then requested a hearing be held.
That same year Nicole's eyesight worsened and she was diagnosed with UVeitis and Glaucoma.
In August of 2018 Nicole underwent surgery again, this time to remove approx 6 inches of small intestine and to give her a permanent ileostomy.
On October 11th Nicole had her Social Security Disability hearing. She was told that the decision of the judge would be sent to her in a letter.
In December she was diagnosed with another pulminary embolism and was placed on life-long blood thinners.
In January of 2019 Nicole was diagnosed with Osteonecrosis (dead bone) in both of her knees. She will continue to be treated with steroid shots in an attempt to stave off full knee replacement as long as possible.
As of January 23rd, 2019 Nicole is still waiting to hear the judges decision on her Social Security Disability.
The Atkins Family wish to extend their most heartfelt thanks, and are humbled by the generous donations, prayers, well-wishes and help they have received throughout these many years.
EVERY little bit makes a big difference.
Thank you so very much!
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