Team Tina (Godfrey) Hurley

Tina (Godfrey) Hurley is a Physician Assistant at Frisbie Hospital and Elliot Hospital. She is a former gymnast, Division 1 collegiate cheerleading athlete, a competitive Crossfit athlete, a cheerleading coach/choreographer and personal trainer; a person partially defined by her physicality and truly passionate about exercise.

In late adolescence, Tina began to experience calf cramping and foot numbness during running. This further progressed to the point where walking became difficult in her late 20s. She was diagnosed with a rare vascular condition called Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome which is a congenital problem affecting both of her legs. The only treatment is invasive surgery.

Over the course of the past 3 years Tina has been to five New England Hospitals, seen over a dozen vascular and orthopedic specialists, consulted with vascular physicians out west who write the research on this condition and has underwent 9 unsuccessful surgeries on her left leg in hopes of rectifying things including removing muscles, tendons, and other structures from around her artery, a few months later they used 7 cm of her right arm vein to initially bypass her popliteal artery, then less than a year later a femoral-popliteal arterial bypass was needed due to aggressive intimal hyperplasia where vein from her same leg was used, 6 months later an urgent vein patch bypass surgery was warranted (again due to premature blockage secondary to intimal hyperplasia), two days later an urgent complete vein graft replacement was needed for the same reasons (at this point her left leg was depleted of all vein to use as bypass material), one day later urgent surgical revision was performed due to hemorrhaging from her surgical wound, 3 months later an urgent arteriogram with balloon angioplasty was done to open the clogged artery as a temporary limb salvage maneuver, and the final of the nine procedures was another arteriogram showing a completely blocked primary blood supply to her left leg at and below her knee. 

There were three options:
1) Do nothing, live with chronic pain, ultimate disability resulting in an inability to work, risk for gangrene, and ongoing difficulties carrying out activities of daily living due to an increasing inability to walk without severe pain.
2) Create a Frankenstein graft using veins from both of her arms and her right thigh to piece together a graft long enough to span the distance from her groin to the only available target in her foot. The expectation of this procedure could not be guarenteed in regards to it staying open for any length of time and was actually quoted to be quite low. This option would lead to multiple future surgeries, continued chronic pain, depletion of vein to use to bypass her right leg artery when it goes down, and eventual progression to amputation.
3) Elective left leg below knee amputation in hopes of regaining functionality, reducing recurrent procedures, and resolving the feeling of fear that the graft could go down at any time. This option would allow the possibility of a transition from being disabled to being ABLED; just in an adaptive nature. 

Option 3 prevailed.

The process of finding the right doctor and prosthetist was quite a challenge, but she serendipitously was taken under the wing of a fellow left below knee amputee who set her on the right path. She had to sacrifice the comfort of local care for the choice of a higher quality of care and is thus under the care of the Yale Medical community and A Step Ahead Prosthetics in Long Island NY, which are a 3-5 hour commute from her home.

Tina underwent a left leg below knee Ertl amputation on July 28 at Yale New Haven Hospital.  She had a complicated post operative course extending her hospital stay to 10 days due to intractable pain, uncontrollable spasms of the residual calf muscle, a fall resulting in a stump wound, and delirium from all of the medication (no fault of the hospital staff!).  Thankfully she was stabilized on multiple high dose nerve and pain medications and discharged to home for further healing. Her post-operative medical and prosthetic visits require long commutes and ultimate overnight lodging to reduce the pain of long car rides, but the travel is well worth the quality and collaborative care she is receiving. 

This GoFundMe has allowed Tina, to rest easy knowing she has a financial buffer in her time off from work and during the healing process. She can now focus less on the many hospital, prosthetic, and travel bills and more on recovery, rehabilitation and healing. Tina is overwhelmingly thankful for the outpouring of community support during these times of need, which unfortunately are destined to continue. 

The road ahead is tenuous and ambiguous, due to a continued stump wound that may delay prosthetic progression and a deteriorating right leg which is burdened by the same rare vascular disease and is quite symptomatic now that it is the only lower extremity to walk on.  This once high level crossfitting gymnast is now reduced to ambulating with the use of assisted devices (wheelchair, walker and crutches) and largely dependent on the assistance of others for otherwise simple tasks. There is no clear end in sight given the unknown future of her right leg, which has been projected to probably have the same outcome as her left leg.

Thank you for taking time to read this story.  Please consider sharing this page or donating to assist this couple through this long process that has no clear end and no guarantee of resolving her initial symptoms unless an above knee amputation is done on both sides to completely remove her calves- a surgery which they are trying desperately to avoid in an attept to keep her knee joints which are vital to the level of athleticism she asires to get back to.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Michelle Vaira 
Sandown, NH
Christina Godfrey 
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