On September 23rd, 2014, Katrina became debilitated from an unexpected neck injury. Up to that point, she was a very busy, working Mom. She was working for Merrill Lynch and finishing her Master's degree in the evenings. She was attaining high honors and only had 3 classes left to finish her degree. She had started her own marketing business and was active in the community, helping out at a local non-profit as well as an active member in her church. She was grinding it out...like the rest of us, when it all came to a screeching halt.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia . This was due to the occipital nerve being compressed at the C2 level in her cervical spine/neck. The vascular bundle was strangulating the nerve ganglion, which is the 'central nervous system's circuit box'. This resulted in complete debilitation leaving her flat on her back in severe nerve pain in her head and neck. The pain stemming from C2 referred upward into her brain along the Greater and Lesser Occipital Nerve on the right side of her skull. This has left her unable to hold her head up unassisted for more than a few minutes without horrendous pain - making it extremely difficult for her to leave the house and care for her family.
Furthermore, Katrina isn't able to manage her pain. Her body does not tolerate prescription pain management; it causes cyclical vomiting, which compounds the pain. She remained on her back from September 2014 until a decompression surgery on January 6th, 2015. The surgery recovery was grueling, but it seemed to have alleviated some of the head and neck pain. At six weeks post-op, she forced herself back to work due to financial strain. In May 2015, the nerve pain came back with a vengeance, and since June 2015, she has been out of commission again. This has been a horrific hardship for her family both emotionally, physically, and financially...as you can imagine.
Her husband has faithfully stood by her side with a supportive 'whatever it takes' attitude to get her well. He has worked two jobs as a Physical Therapist, including home health, and he works extra hours daily to try to make ends meet. Her husband, Len, has been fully aware of Katrina's hypermobility. This means her connective tissue is loose causing an increased flexibity beyond what is considered 'normal.' He has voiced this with every physician Katrina has seen, only for it to be misunderstood. Katrina has had diagnostic test after test, only for them to come back 'negative or unremarkable,' and she has seen doctors counting in the teens at this point. It wasn't until her current treating physician, a M.D. Prolotherapist out of Fort Meyers, Florida, recommended a DMX scan (Digital Motion X-ray) that her lateral instability at C1 and C2 was diagnosed. This means the bones in her neck are unstable and not adequately supporting her head. The cervical instability is her primary diagnosis, which resulted in a secondary diagnosis of Occipital Neuralgia. Her unstable spine was also causing compression of the nerves resulting in debilitating pain.
Her diagnosis was missed because so little is understood about how to treat people with Hypermobility Syndrome . Medicine isn't a one-size fits all approach. People with hypermobility syndrome metabolize medicine differently and heal much slower. Unfortunately, more often than not, traditional prescription based medicine is not a viable solution for people like Katrina.
Appointment after appointment the experience was the same, and regardless of unfavorable outcomes, the medical bills keep surmounting. A second mortgage and a personal loan later, they are drowning financially. Katrina's last option at beating this condition and healing is Prolotherapy (Please click to learn about it), which isn't covered by insurance. Each treatment includes 80 to 100 injections to the bones in her neck without sedation. These treatments cost approximately $2500 each, scheduled three to six weeks apart, dependent on what she can tolerate from a pain standpoint. Katrina has five treatments at present; however, additional treatments and maintenance treatments will be needed. They live on the east coast of Florida, and her doctor is on the Gulf in Ft. Meyers, FL requiring a painful and time consuming 6-hour journey for treatments.
Katrina desperately wants to be able to do the activities of daily life many of us take for granted: be able to hold her head up without pain or assistance; sit unassisted so she can do things like watch her sons' participate in sports; go for a walk; take care of the needs of her family; and to not spend the majority of her day lying down.
For as long as we can remember, Katrina has always been a free spirit. She has always been innately happy, always giving and going the extra mile for anyone and everyone. She has an amazing heart and would never dream of asking anyone for help. In fact, the only one she has called upon throughout this trial is Jesus through her prayers. She needs to battle through, and she needs help relieving some of the financial strain on her family. Her close family and friends have initiated this process for her; because even through all this, she is still trying to help others first. The Holy Spirit is alive in her journey, and we can't wait to see how God continues to use her story.
Thank you, sincerely, for taking the time to read this. Please keep Katrina and her family in your prayers. Second, please consider giving. Any amount you feel led to donate is a huge blessing to them. They cannot afford her treatments, and your donation will keep her on the road to healing...blessing this family more than words can express.
There is a 5% processing fee for donating on this site. If you are interested in donating directly to Katrina through the US Postal Service to ensure no fees are deducted from the donation, please contact Katrina via the message portal on this site, and she will provide you with her address.
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