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Help Megan Through Pancreas Surgery

$11,265 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 85 people in 12 months
Created August 18, 2018
We are asking for your help to help the Bonta family, a local family in need who has worked to serve our community for years.  Megan holds many titles: Wife, Mother, Minister, and Musician. She has dedicated the bulk of her adult life to serving the community she grew up in and loves. Countless lives have been touched and improved by Megan's work through her service, dedication, and drive. From helping families and the most vulnerable in our community through her work with Catholic Charities, donating her time and talent as a pianist at St. Mary's in Eagle, to running the Ragnar Relay to raise money for a local child to have the education she desires, Megan's selfless dedication to the community and work to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors has been felt for many years.

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For almost four years, Megan has undergone countless surgeries to repair her pancreas and treat chronic pancreatitis, while not being sure of why it is occurring. Unfortunately, there are no more options for fixing the pancreas, and it must come out. This has been a long and arduous road, and this decision has not been easy.  This surgery should allow Megan to resume, in time, her ability to work, be active, and care for her family and not require ongoing procedures.   This surgery is the best option for getting Megan back to health.  The surgery is very major one, has several serious potential complications and is not available in Colorado.  Megan will have the surgery at the University of Minnesota. With the added medical expenses from this, all of the past surgeries, and Megan needing to stay in Minnesota for almost two months, the bills are mounting rapidly. In addition, Megan was told to expect to be out of work for three to six months, which will be unpaid as her sick time has been used up for previous surgeries.

Megan is a true Vail local, having been born in Vail and lived here nearly her whole life. She met her husband, Eric, here and is very grateful to be raising her two young children here. Graduates of Vail Christian High School, and Battle Mountain High School respectively, Megan and Eric have served the Vail Valley community for over 20 years, Megan as a non profit coordinator and Eric as a Police Officer. They are both looking forward to continuing to serve their communities as well as raise their family here.

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We would ask you to please help off-set some of these costs. Megan and Eric have been investing in this community for decades, and they both plan to continue their work. Please help this local family through a very difficult time and keep them in your prayers!
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We’re currently in Minneapolis, just finishing a long day of testing, labs, and meeting with the transplant team. We came back to assess the current state of the pancreatitis and to determine the surgery timeline, feeling like I am now finally healthy enough to proceed. Highlights of the trip include:

Going for a walk between appointments and trying to figure out if/why I was getting sideways glances (figured I was being paranoid and imagining them). Took me halfway through the walk to realizing I didn’t cover my IV line in my arm...

Eric getting pulled aside by airport security for a pat-down because they “detected a density in his pants.” (Just bragging now)(Though I’ve now been getting “I’m your density” McFly quotes for two days...)

And....my pancreas miraculously reversed the damage and is healing.

The doctor, in his multi-decade career and as a pancreatic expert, has never seen this before. My images this morning show marked improvement from my last MRI. So while we will keep an eye on it to make sure it continues to improve/stays stable, we’re done for now!

I can’t begin to express the overwhelming freedom, relief, gratitude and bewilderment we’re experiencing right now. It feels like we went from hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel to being suddenly teleported to the other side altogether. Thank you all SO much for your prayers - they are working! I can’t wait to move forward without this shadow and am so glad that the peace we have been given “beyond understanding” has also come to healing beyond understanding.

Miracles happen, Hallelujah!
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Back to Minnesota....

From Megan: Sorry for the long gap in updates - I’ve just been working on rehabbing my arm and we’ve been doing updated pancreas imaging and tracking other labs. It’s been a crazy year, with multiple shoulder surgeries, a bonus ankle procedure, and an adrenal roller coaster, but happy to now report that:
I am now FINALLY back to running again! I’m still only allowed to run at intervals with walking, but feels great to move again!

The Cushings and the subsequent adrenal drop put a ton of both stress and weight on my body last year, and with that finally resolving, I’m VERY relieved that my body has started re-setting weight wise (though not fully there yet), dropping over 40 lbs during the last year.

For better or worse, that now puts me hopefully healthy enough for the surgery.

Looking at updated imaging and results, they are bringing me back to Minnesota again on August 8th to meet again with the transplant team. While I’m glad to have recovered a lot of energy and activity, I’m still battling constant pain, nausea and other symptoms, and my pancreas shows progressing damage. It is time to reassess if the transplant timing is right.

As much as I had hoped to have had it all behind me by now, I’m trying to trust God’s timing and know that my ability to pull through will have made the year worth it. The shoulder surgeries in particular had come out of the blue and threw us for a loop in more ways than one (morale, timing, financial, and by taking away piano as coping tool for several months), but still praying for the peace that surpasses all understanding. I’m learning to enjoy many, many things I’d taken for granted!

As always, thank you for your support and prayers - I can’t say how much it means to us!
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From Eric: We had a little adventure this morning, when Megan ended up in Vail Health after waking up with trouble breathing. In the spirit of "alls well that ends well" (no clots, just some atelectasis), we give you "Exploits from the ER" (by Eric and Megan):

- At the stroke of 5:59, with three paramedics, four firefighters in the house (and Megan coughing like she was going to blow the little piggy's house down), Michaela came wandering down the stairs and told us all to be quiet and that we were all making too much noise because "people are trying to sleep". Still not sure which people she was referring to …

- En route to the hospital, Eric had to pause to take a picture of the most "Dad-ass" trailer ever...

- Mental health hold across the hall from Megan, who was quite hangry after loudly demanding breakfast, only to be told he was only allowed to have Gatorade:
Mr. Hangry: I WANT MY OATMEAL!!!!
Nurse: Sir, do you know where you are?
Mr. Hangry: NOT EATING OATMEAL, THAT'S WHERE!"
The best part is that this was after his Adavan and Ritalin....

- Nurse and the x-ray tech at the door to Megan's room. This is a small hospital and they clearly knew each other:
Nurse: Hey Kevin, what are you doing here?
Kevin (in scrubs, wearing a large name badge with "X-RAY TECH" under his name): Hi, I'm Kevin. I'm an x-ray tech here at the hospital.
Nurse (giving Kevin her best nurse-face): ..... No, I meant are you doing x-rays on Megan?

- When Eric arrived at the hospital, he was in jeans and a red flannel shirt. After we ruled out the scary options, Eric went to work, got dressed in his uniform and came back to help with discharge. After hours in the hospital, he left for all of 15 minutes and changed his pants and shirt. That's it. NONE of the staff recognized him when he returned, and were concerned that Megan had been joined by a cop... (again, small town hospital! We'd been with the same 8 people ALL morning!) We suspect he's now proud of being a "master of disguise..."

Crazy humor aside, we're again just happy to be recovering at home, and grateful to have all of you along on this wild ride with us!
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From Eric: today’s shoulder/bicep surgery update

Some of you know Megan had to undergo another shoulder/bicep surgery today because her bicep was not healing correctly. The doctor’s normal treatment of anti-inflammitories and steroid injections were off the table because of Megan’s pre-existing conditions, so going back into the arm was the last, but ultimately, the only option left on the table.

The doctor cleaned out a lot of scar tissue which he believes was inhibiting Megan’s healing process. He was pleased with the condition of Megan’s shoulder and that the bicep was still in place where he left it.

Unfortunately, going back into the same surgical site so soon after the initial surgery means quite a lot of pain in recovery. We are working on pain management and We are looking forward to getting home soon!
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$11,265 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 85 people in 12 months
Created August 18, 2018
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