Hi, my name is Marsha and I am 34 years old. I am a mom of an amazing ten year old daughter! I have a very complicated history of life threatening health problems. I am a rare case and a mystery to doctors, who can't seem to figure out what causes my clotting and bleeding disorders. Among other things, I have now suffered 3 major strokes, the first one being at age 21 and the last one happened one week ago on September 23, 2017 at age 34. This last stroke has left me with left sided weakness as well as loss of any sensation on left side. I have started to be able to walk a little, which I am thankful for but it is extremely hard and the shortest of walks leaves me completely exhausted. I am also very off-balance. My left arm is able to move some as well and is similar to my leg in that it is very hard and tiring to use it. I can't feel anything with either hand now, as the right hand lost all feeling with the first stroke and that feeling never returned. My eyesight was also afffected. My left eye is has blurred vision now and it is hard to focus my eyes which makes it very hard to see clearly. The left side of my face is droopy and my speech was badly affected. I have been working very hard to try and talk and I have made some tiny improvements, but my speech is still very hard to understand. I am very thankful for small improvements that I have made, but trying to talk is very difficult and is so exhausting. I also have lost the ability to swallow, so doctors have placed a feeding tube in my abdomen. I have no feeling in my mouth and don't have much control over my tongue in that I can't move it properly. Embarrassingly, I also drool non stop. To make matters worse, I have vein deficiencies in my legs which has caused what's called a venous ulcer in my right ankle. This has been an open wound in my ankle for the past two years and has caused significant nerve pain in my leg that goes from my foot to above my knee. It is extremely painful and sometimes my whole leg feels like it's burning, other times it's shooting or stabbing pain. I am not super comfortable asking people for help especially with money, but I feel that a service dog will be so beneficial for me and my needs. Service dogs can be to trained to help with balance, speech, and many other things. They can also be trained to help in an emergency, like if I started having another stroke, which I think would be helpful since I am home alone frequently. I also think the dog could provide companionship that could help to prevent depression, as this is a pretty depressing situation. Service dogs are very expensive, usually around $25,000 as they go through extensive training that would specifically help the person they are being paired with, depending on that person's specific disabilities and needs. Whether you choose to donate or not, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my story. Last thing I want to say is as depressing as all this could be, I have not lost hope and I am a fighter. I am still filled with light and I am in good spirits. I try to make the best of every single day and keep a smile a my face. I have broken down and cried at times but I try to be strong. I will not let this break me. And I am so lucky that I have the most amazing family and friends to help me through this.
P.S. I wanted to add that before this last stroke, I was completely independent, could talk, walk and function completely normally. I worked and I was able to take care of my daughter. Some of my favorite things is hanging out with my loved ones, being in nature, swimming, kayaking, camping, going on walks, reading, playing cards, traveling and road trips, listening to music, etc. I have also included some pics from this summer, before I had this last stroke.
- Rhonda Fibiger
- Lea Howell
- cathy MathiasEpperson
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