As many of you may already know my wife, Jessica, was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma on August 22, 2018 following a hospitalization complete with surgery, blood transfusions, and ongoing prior medical issues. This was a devastating blow to our family. Uterine sarcoma is extremely rare and to date we do not know the extent of its severity. Fortunately, we live close to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL which is highly regarded as one of the top gynecological oncology centers in the nation. Jessica was specifically referred to the chief of this department by her diagnosing physician which has further been a blessing since we now are in good hands. Initially, it was discovered that her health insurance would not cover the services at Mayo. Unfortunately, this put a delay on the plan of care. Divine intervention persisted and we were able to secure insurance through another avenue that will cover a portion of the cost of this exceptional care.
To provide a little back-story, Jessica and I moved to Florida seeking an adventure about 4 years ago. We quickly settled into our new life, but still felt something was missing. In Missouri we were foster parents and wanted to continue to this avenue because of failed attempts at having our own children. We were very much longing for a family. We decided to become foster parents here in Florida and started foster classes immediately. During this training and home study we were blocked by the unfortunate reservation of my Dr. who needed to complete a form confirming my ability to foster. My Dr.’s reservation was due to the fact that I was still a new patient to him. 1 year into this journey and we were contacted by a CASA worker in Texas who was wondering our connection with some people in Texas. Turns out the specific people in Texas were some of my estranged family and they were searching for a home for children who were in foster care in Texas and were not eligible for reunification.
If you know much about the foster care system in the US, you might know that placement with relatives is preferred, making us the perfect candidates. This was due to not only the fact that we did not have any children, but because we were not able to finish our foster care home study that would have allowed us to bring other children in our home and prevent us from taking any more. We, of course, were ecstatic and saw this as answered prayers for our family. It was suggested that we continue our foster care home study. We did with renewed vigor and my Dr. miraculously lost all of his reservations about the recommendation form to allow me to become a foster parent.
The process was long, but very well worth it when on August 8, 2016, we met our beautiful girls at the Orlando airport and brought them home to live with us permanently. God blessed us tremendously with 5 (yes, you read that right- 5) beautiful girls (yup, all girls) ages 3-10. They completed our family and we completed theirs. They were finally getting the mommy and daddy they had prayed for and on October 31st, 2017 we were awarded permanent custody by the court.
The girls proceeded to confide in us about the extent of their past and how severe it really was. The more we talked to them the more we realized that the need for intervention was long overdue. Of course, as you may know, children who have been severely abused can have deep set behavioral problems. My wife and I knew the challenges and proceeded to study vigorously about how to tackle these issues and provide the best knowledge and understanding that we believed these girls needed.
The first year of school the girls attended proved to be a very difficult transition for them. This all resulted in bad grades and lots of anxiety for the girls. This year included many difficult decisions. One of the most difficult decisions we had to make was for one of us to stay home with the girls because we realized that they needed the full-time support that 2 working parents could not readily provide. It was found that the girls needed guidance even with simple tasks that most children their ages took for granted. Ultimately, we made the decision that I would stay home with the girls, therefore, the traditional roles in our family were reversed. After pushing the school to allow the girls to move on to the next grade we were rewarded with proof our decision was the right one; all the girls began getting A’s and B’s with only a few C’s. This, of course, has been financially difficult for us, but has made such a difference in our family life for the past 20 months. Things were stable for us until this recent diagnosis. Jessica has been unable to work and has been approved for FMLA. However, she exhausted her PTO and has not been receiving a paycheck. Her short-term disability pays $300/month, which is not even enough to cover food for our family. To date, we have enough savings to last us a few more weeks. However, we are now dealing with expenses we didn’t fully anticipate. These expenses include out of pocket insurance premiums, prescription co-pays for new medications for Jessica, travel, lodging, going back and forth to Jacksonville, co-pays for visits to say the least; along with trying to make sure the girls do not feel the stress we bare.
We were very conflicted about starting this fundraising campaign. We are proud people who take pride in not needing much assistance. However, this new situation has been and is going to continue to be a rough one for our family. Please understand we are not begging we are only trying to provide an outlet for the many request to help us. In situations like this we need to examine the value of help. It was told to me by a wise old man once and I quote, “Don’t let your pride get in the way by refusing to allow people to be blessed by helping you in your time of need.” Jessica has reservations for making this page, but since many people have asked how to help and right now the only help I can think of is financial she conceded to the idea. Unfortunately, since we live in Florida so far away from where we were born and raised and where our biggest grouping of family support is located, it’s hard to know what else to ask for or tell them how to help. It is our only goal here to provide a place for people who want to, and are willing and able to help financially.
Jessica is a fighter and doesn’t intend for this to be her final chapter. As her husband, my wish is for our financial issues to not cloud her ability to fight and recover. Our family needs her. Our girls need their mom. I need my wife. We will fight until we win because of these things. Your support is so appreciated and we are so thankful for everyone who has reached out to date whether you donate or not! Your prayers are always an invaluable resource and we thank each and every person who has prayed! I intend to provide regular updates through this page as well. She is scheduled for surgery this Thursday, Sept 20, 2018. We will have more information following the surgery allowing the doctor to better able to construct a future game plan. Thank you so much.
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