Some of you may know Mandi is a writer. Some of you may know she is an opera singer. You may know she is a piano teacher, an actor, an editor. You probably know she is a friend, cousin, niece, sister, daughter, and wife. Most importantly, you should know she is a mom to an intelligent, creative, adorable five-year-old boy named James. Unfortunately, Mandi is also a cancer patient with a lot of complications and insurance difficulties that currently have her facing a legitimate life or death situation.
Mandi and James at a friend's wedding; this is what Mandi looks like when she's receiving the proper treatments
Due to issues with both Crohn's Disease and Celiac Disease, Mandi has severe absorption issues. Most oral forms of medication, such as iron pills, do not absorb and digest in her body, which is why she needs transfusions of platelets and infusions of iron. In August 2013, she was diagnosed with two forms of thyroid cancer, papillary and follicular, and despite a total thyroidectomy in November 2013, as well as radiation and chemotherapy, her thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) doesn't know how to stabilize. She is fighting the insurance company for a port so she can receive IV Synthroid, which does help her numbers go from a deadly 300 (a number that has put her in a coma six times between 2013 and present) to the much-desired one or two. It has also been mentioned that the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. She had a PICC line for IV Synthroid in 2015, and it worked beautifully. Insurance stopped covering it three months later, and it wasn't long before she landed back in the ICU because she doesn't absorb oral medications.
￼Mandi receiving an iron infusion
Because Mandi's body is working so hard to fight back cancer, Celiac, Crohn's, and Lupus, she's lost her peripheral vision, her ability to work outside the home, and her ability to stay warm unless it's above 50 degrees outside. She often cannot leave the house. She is so fatigued that she sleeps far too often, and has missed major holidays and occasions with James. On top of that, she is severely anemic. Her body does not produce enough red blood cells to keep her heart functional, and now, her heart has grown weaker. The platelet transfusions, as mentioned before, only help for 12 hours. Then her numbers drop again. She needs iron infusions to help because she cannot absorb iron pills. Mandi's hematologist and oncologist told her August 7th that if she doesn't receive help and pay whatever insurance asks her to pay there is a good chance she will die. She was also told this two years ago after waking from a coma. Her heart was weak then and she's been fighting. But her doctors all think there may not be much time left to fight, maybe three or four months.
Even More Urgent
Last Friday night, August 13th, Mandi was having trouble breathing, bleeding spontaneously, and severely fatigued. She made another trip to the Emergency Room. Her body wasn't making nearly enough platelets (normal is between 300-400; her count was 13), she was diagnosed with chronic ideopathic thrombocytopenia, which will have to be monitored for life, and she was started on a platelet transfusion immediately. The doctor said if she hadn't come in when she had, she would have bled out and died. Unfortunately, Mandi had an allergic reaction to the transfusion and went into shock. The doctors next had to take a risk with a different transfusion combined with steroids and Benadryl, which brings us up to now.
A past hospital stay; this is how Mandi looks without necessary treatment
The steroids and Benadryl are helping just enough for Mandi to handle the transfusions. Her doctors were hoping to put a PICC line for both the platelet transfusions and the IV Synthroid she needs to start receiving within the next few weeks, however, her insurance company denied having it done in the hospital. She will have to have it put in at the Cancer Center and pay out-of-pocket.
Before this weekend's ER visit and admission to the hospital, Mandi and her family were already facing a very difficult financial situation. While she has health insurance, she has to finish meeting her $6500 annual deductible (this just began on June 1st for her family). After that (approximately $3430), everything will be covered, however, including a few additional expenses, they are in need of $4000 as quickly as possible. She broke down the costs as follows:
facility fee for each appointment with
oncologist or hematologist every 7-10
days* - $200 x 8-10 = $1[phone redacted]
appointment fee for each visit with
oncologist or hematologist, receiving
transfusions and infusions, all other
care related to treating incurable
hypothyroidism from thyroid cancer
and severe anemia that has weakened
her heart - $1500
travel expenses for monthly
appointments with endocrinologist at
Sinai Hospital (45 minutes from home), child
care for James on days he doesn't have school,
any home health care supplies not already
being provided - $500
*There is a separate $200 facility fee for each appointment to see these doctors at the Cancer Center in addition to the regular appointment fees.
Cancer Center "facility fee" receipt; the receptionist gave Mandi a 2% "hardship" discount at this particular appointment; she has to pay this fee just to enter the building each time she has an appointment with her oncologist, hematologist, or receives any other services there in addition to the actual cost of those appointments and services
With Mandi's latest admission to the hospital, her health care plan could change, but she still needs to reach that $6500 deductible.
Please consider donating what you can to help Mandi and please share this campaign.
- Christy Whittemore
- Emily Anne
- Lisa Grossman
Organizer and beneficiary
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