Please help us support Melody's recovery
Melody Lopez loved her job and her volunteer work, and on weekends, she would enjoy San Diego’s beaches, parks and restaurants with her family. But debilitating illnesses and mounting medical bills are putting a hold on all of that and more.
Since January 2017, Melody has experienced severe gastrointestinal dysfunction. The diagnoses have been numerous. Late in 2017, she was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue and chronic pain. Most recently (see updates) her physicians have diagnosed her with gastroparesis . These chronic health conditions affect the autonomic nervous system, causing extreme fatigue, improper digestion, nausea, pain, cognitive impairment and malnutrition.
“My digestion requires a very limited diet, and I rely heavily on liquid calories,” she said. “I’m unable to walk long distances due to pain and fatigue, and I do not even have the energy to take my children to places they love. I also struggle with keeping up with house chores and cooking healthy meals for the family.”
Melody was an invaluable member of our Global Communications team at Elsevier, and we miss her terribly. She worked quietly behind the scenes to support our work in all kinds of ways, from organizing company meetings to creating websites for employees. With a degree in science, she could have had her pick of careers, but she believed in our mission and was passionate about her work.
Before her illness, she had been selected to participate in our company’s Recognizing Those Who Care trip to India with the RE Cares team, where she worked on educational charity projects for disadvantaged children.
“I’ve always been a person who loves to volunteer and give back, and this deep desire to help others grew exponentially,” she said.
Melody’s health took a turn for the worst in January, 2017, and she had surgery her doctors hoped would correct the condition. She did make a recovery, returning to work in March with renewed spirit.
Last summer, she started planning a book drive for a new library at an impoverished school in India.
But her illness returned, worsening and became chronic. She explained that it is related to a congenital condition, and she was fortunate that it had never caused problems before. By August 2017, she was forced to go on disability. Although she often wrote to us about her hopes to return to the office soon, that has not been possible.
“I also loved attending church and volunteering with the children," she said. “But since falling chronically ill, I’ve had to stop working, and I’m unable to attend church.”
Last year, she spent more than $9,000 on out-of-pocket medical expenses with her doctors in San Diego and at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. In 2018, the medical bills are mounting. The bills have surpassed last year's total.
There is no known cause of POTS and gastroparesis and no cures exist yet.
We’re hoping to raise $23,000 to cover her crushing medical expenses.
Thank you for your consideration. Any amount will help.