Many of you have followed along with Tracey's medical condition over the last year and your support from well-wishes & providing meals when needed, to your continued prayers for Tracey & Yvonne, as well as the rest of our immediate family, have been most appreciated and humbly received! It is now at a most crucial and challenging time that I ask for your continued support to help with his medical costs, specifically life-sustaining medications. More on that in a minute.
A Backstory - for those who may be reading and learning about this for the first time - Tracey, 53, suffered multiple heart attacks and numerous hospital stays throughout 2017. However, September was the unfortunate life-changer for him. Within a week Tracey had suffered a stroke and 2 heart attacks that required him to be life-flighted to the Cleveland Clinic ICU for a higher level of care and to fight through what was meant to destroy him. It was at that time we learned from his cardiac team that surgical intervention was NOT an option to treat his significant blockages, either with a heart cath to place stents or to perform a bypass. His heart was just too weak and damaged, so they proceeded to implant a defibrilator to manage his heart beats. Miracles happen!
A few short days after leaving the Clinic, he was again sent by life-flight back to the ICU in Cleveland as his blood pressure and heart rate plummeted to a dangerous level. During his 12 day hospital visit, many tests were run to determine the cause of his condition, in which we now know it is in part caused by Autonomic Neuropathy, and how to proceed with treatment, What is this? Essentially, the nerves going to his heart are damaged and the only treatment is medication - followed with a referral to a heart failure physician to possibly provide us with some positive news moving forward.
The Call - This is where the lump in throat makes it difficult to swallow or even breathe. Right around Thanksgiving Tracey had called me on their way home from his visit with the heart failure doctor, so I asked him how things went hoping I would hear some promising news. He hesitantly replied with "they are placing me on Hospice and giving me 6mths - 1 year." "Even as a candidate for a heart transplant, I'm not a candidate as I likely wouldn't survive recovery." WHAT?! I remember hanging up from his call with a heavy heart, tears, and no words to speak, only thinking 'Oh no, I'm losing my brother.'
So, because of the damaged nerves to his heart, all options for surgical intervention are exhausted! A heart transplant would be like connecting a new piece of equipment to a faulty electrical system, therefore, medication management IS THE ONLY OPTION!
Prognosis - Medication management for Type 1 Diabetes, heart failure, autonomic neuropathy; 6mths - 1 year life expectancy, Hospice Care.
As you can imagine Tracey's medical condition has left him weak, tired, unsteady, without driving privileges, and unable to work. Both he and Yvonne are on a fixed income and the list of life-sustaining medications are COSTLY.
I had taken him to get his Lantus (insulin pen) last evening where he was told that it was going to cost $290.00 for a 3mth supply (with insurance), and just one pen, which is about 12 days worth, would cost $77.00. My heart sank as I heard Tracey say "I'm on Hospice. What am I going to do? There is no way I can afford that." Due to the new year the price not only went up, he had a deductible to fulfill making it impossible for him to pay for just one medication he needs to survive! I scrambled to find a way to cover the entire cost, but I couldn't even come up with half. I felt helpless! It was at that moment a very kind, teary-eyed, and generous man stepped up and made it possible for Tracey to have one Lantus pen! The compassion this man showed was more than my emotions could contain and I cried as Tracey was handed his insulin and asked the man for a hug. I left there with few words, but rather a heart FULL of gratitude for the most amazing act of kindness that I had just witnessed.
Family, friends & supporters - I'm reaching out to you for donations that will help cover life-sustaining medications for Tracey, as well as the mounting medical expenses that have occured, including the ongoing trips (travel, food, fuel) to Cleveland for continued care.
Please know that ALL donations go directly to Tracey! Each day we have with him is an absolute gift and your generosity and support will help ease that financial burden that is weighing on him. Will you please consider a donation? Thank you in advance.
With much love & appreciation,
- LEO,MARC&HOLDEN SMITH
- Andrew duFresne
- J A
- Sue Brammer
- Jodi Somerlot
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