Tarneka's Medical Journey - Phase 3

Hi, This is Sunshine, and I am coming to you again, asking for help for my best friend, Tarneka. The last time that I updated her story, Tarneka was facing another cancer diagnosis and probable surgery, which had been preceeded by two surgeries to place a digestive pacemaker. We were also working on trying to raise funds so that Tarneka could move closer to her family and friends in the Twin Cities area. I’m happy to say that Tarneka beat cancer again, having had more than 8 tumours removed. She will be going to Mayo in March for another cancer check. We are praying that the cancer does not return. She has been settled in her apartment in the Twin Cities since last summer, which has been a real blessing for her and those who love her. But her difficult road is far from over, as she continues to face mounting health problems and financial needs.

Since the day after Christmas 2018, Tarneka has had three surgeries and five hospitalizations. She continues to have significant problems with her digestive system. Last fall she had surgery to have a colostomy placed, which we had hoped would significantly reduce the problems she’s been having. Unfortunately, a hernia surgery and subsequent complications and increasing amounts of scar tissue, has led to even more problems. Tarneka is now awaiting testing to find out if they will have to remove even more of her intestines and colon.

With all of these surgeries and complications, come more and more expenses that Tarneka cannot afford on her own. There are medications that are not covered by insurance, as well as colostomy supplies that she has to buy herself. I have always been in awe of how Tarneka is able to do so much with so little. She is amazing at budgeting, but when you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money. In addition to the medical expenses, Tarneka needs help getting food. She only gets $15 a month for food stamps, which blows my mind. She also has two kids in college that she wants to support as much as she can.

Tarneka doesn’t want to ask for help, but she needs to ask for help. I’ve picked her up and brought her home from the hospital two times this year. I’ve stayed at her apartment while she showered and changed her bag. I’ve seen the scars that line her abdomen from all the different surgeries, the scars that line her arms from the countless IVs they struggle to maintain while she’s in the hospital. I’ve watched her meticulously lay out all of the supplies to clean, change, and care for her colostomy. I’m in awe of her strength in the midst of her weaknesses and illnesses. I’m in awe of her faith and her heart. I do as much as I can to help support and care for, as do her close friends and family. But we cannot do this alone. We need financial support to help Tarneka in this fight for her life. Thank you for your help. Much love, Sunshine


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Sunshine Joy Hedlund 
Independence, MN
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