Medical and Recovery Fund

$11,028 of $11,000 goal

Raised by 214 people in 8 months

Mom always says, "Find the Pony" - it's to remind me to be more optimistic.
She said we'll find our pony $5 at a time.    Can you help?

I’m William Rogal, a grateful, “chosen” kid
My mom says, “God put us together or a reason” and she’s right.  I’m a better person because we are together through adoption.  I can see the stress all of this is taking on her.  Please read our story.

What’s happening:
I am scheduled for another hip surgery on October 9th and will face a 6-week recovery; hooked up to a motion machine and ice water circulation pump for two weeks, semi-mobile for another four weeks.  I need her help and she needs yours.

Who we are:
My mom, Sandy is very devoted.  Sometimes she’s too devoted.   She’s stubborn, smart, and proud.  Sometimes she’s too proud.  

Here’s our story and why we need some interim help:
My mom dissolved her entire IRA over the years to pay for my education.  I have a few learning disabilities, which are now better addressed, but when they were not properly diagnosed, my mom kept me in small schools and it cost her everything. She retaught almost every lesson to me because in her words, “You’re a smart kid, you just learned differently”.  

She never gave up on me even though at times my dad and the system did.  
When I was still struggling in school, she sold her original art, her jewelry, and our piano to take me to DC for a brain scan.  It changed my life.

A lifelong reading comprehension issue – something my diagnosis and medications can’t fix  - is one of my disabilities.  I can read, but I don’t process it unless I hear it in audio format and when not available, mom is my reader.  I have ADD and anxiety – she helps keep me organized and has talked me off the edge in the middle of more than one panic attack.  She is helping me get through school and helping me get ready for life. 

Since she sold her favorite things to get me that brain scan, I’ve been on the Dean’s List – quite the turnaround from barely passing.  I credit my mom’s determination – her teaching, her silly memorization games – for my continued success. 

Placing the needs of others before her own:
She’s nursed me through 8 ankle fractures, a hip surgery two years ago, and a hospitalization for removing a kidney stone we named “Fred”.  (Told ya’ she is silly)

I’m not the only one she’s taken care of. 
My mom moved my grandpa in so he could die with dignity surrounded by family, took care of my grandmother during the day when she was going through chemo and later broke her hip and needed rehab.  She has always been there for others and won’t complain because no matter how bad it gets she says, “Remember, son, we are blessed.”  She even counted her blessings when she had to have a titanium plate in her neck due to degenerative disc disease and was partially paralyzed on one side.  That was only 3 years into our new life.

I’m not quite done needing my mom  - especially with my surgery next week.  Mom would like to take care of me (I’d like it too).  As I said, I’m going to be totally dependent for 6 weeks.  She’s my nurse, my reader, my cook, and my driver.

A little history – what happened:
My parent’s divorce settlement dragged on for 13 years through 4 different courts – and you guessed it – the lawyers got most of the settlement as well as most of the back underpaid child support for 8 of those years.  It finally ended this year.  Dad promised to bankrupt her and did.  In addition to what I believe is the longest divorce in history, my mom had to fight a couple of bogus ex parte actions by my dad and his powerful legal team – one was a custody grab.  
We won, but it was at great expense – both financially and emotionally.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, but he did not treat her fairly.  He has now stepped up to pay for my college and I’m very grateful.  But my mom is still my tutor, my inspiration, my moral compass, and I can’t let her down.

Every day she tells me, “Make me proud.”  Her favorite reminder when I get down is, “Forgive, forget, and live your best life.  Be humble, be honorable, and you will be blessed.”   
We’re not feeling blessed right now, but I know some of you are really good people.

She was going to finish college when the back child support was finally paid.  She had 3 years under her belt – 2.5 after they evaluated transfer credits.   The majority of that money went fast to her new lawyer (first one retired) and paying off personal loans (be honorable).  She drives a 12-year-old car (be humble) and says she hopes to get another 10 years out of it.  Somehow, I think she will.

(EDIT:  I just realized her car is 14 years old, bought in 2006!)

When we volunteer together at shelters and soup kitchens, I get the reminder of how blessed we are to have a home and our own beds. 

But that’s about to change unless we get a little help.
She needs to get a meaningful job and finish her degree in Business Administration.  She was a successful industry and philanthropic leader before she adopted me, but it’s been more than a decade since she worked full time and now degrees are required.

In the meantime we need to keep the roof over our heads – can you help? 

Our immediate needs:
Our mortgage was due this week.  We have a shutoff notice from the electric company, and while not yet late, our gas bill is unpaid.
Our living expenses run about $3,000 per month (w/o unexpected repairs).

Our goal of $11,000 will go toward:
·      2 or 3 months mortgage, taxes, insurance ($1800/mo) during my recovery.
·      Utilities, car insurance, home association dues ($510/mo)
·      Food, fuel and maintenance, my medication co-pay ($750/mo)

(Edit) Mom’s plea:
So honored to know you’ve read this far.  As a self-sufficient provider, a lifelong volunteer of my time and resources, I never imagined this would be my plight – but I have to swallow my pride or lose everything.  
We suffered some unanticipated emergency expenses in 2018 that drained us.  The car is repaired as is the mower, and we now have an operating refrigerator. 
At 57, I’m literally starting over.  It’s humiliating to ask anyone to share his or her hard earned money.  As my son reminded me,
If only half of my social media followers gave $5 each, we would get through this crisis to meet our immediate needs.

Please know from the bottom of my heart I am grateful for any assistance you can provide to get us through our temporary, desperate time.

We promise to keep you updated on every step of this new journey. 

If you can’t contribute, please say a heartfelt prayer for us and
please share our story with others.  Thank you.

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Thanksgiving 2018 (almost)

I’ve been asked for updates on Will’s progress. Without specific answers (we don’t have them), I can provide an overview of what William is doing now and what is being pursued medically.

Genetic specialists are few and far between. I was in contact with Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, The Cleveland Clinic, The University of Michigan, and The Mayo Clinic. After weeks of computer registrations, questions, phone-tag, and wait times, here’s where it took us:

Beaumont’s earliest appointment is at the end of March 2019 – and that is only for a genetic councilor, not the geneticist. The other concern is Beaumont’s geneticist primarily focuses on developmental delays and not connective tissues disorders, so seeing him might not yield what’s needed in the end.

Henry Ford Hospital, after the mandatory registration (ugh), phone calls back and forth, informed us they do not do any connective tissue genetic consulting and would not see him.

The Cleveland Clinic, like the University of Michigan has placed William on a “wait list” – basically meaning there will be no appointment for him to be seen – ever – given the information they currently possess.

The Mayo Clinic however had an appointment specialist who heard our frustrations and worries and grabbed the information-bull by the horns. Rather than transfer us to be placed on another waiting list, she asked a ton of questions of her experts and came back on the line and said, “A referral stating, “Referral to geneticist” is not going to do it for William. You need a stronger referral.”

In the meantime, I found a physician on the National Institute of Health website who is a laboratory director in Pennsylvania. He was so kind and answered my emails to help narrow down suspicions and give us the name of the tests we should order through a physician. He has a working relationship with Cleveland, Mayo, and Michigan, so his results will be sound. We met with Will’s primary care doc and he is sending the paperwork to order the tests ($2,900) our way to start the process.

Getting something – or even ruling out what we suspect – will further narrow the investigation. This information will enable William’s primary care physician or his orthopedic surgeon to write a stronger referral to send to Mayo and University of Michigan so we can get an appointment and off the dreaded dead-end waiting list.

William has been cleared to drive, attends physical therapy twice per week and is making progress. Activities are limited to avoid heavy lifting and anything high-impact. He’s been given a handicap placard to minimize walking (training focuses on core and quads). He is nearly caught up in college and hopes to maintain his President’s list honor roll status – fingers crossed!

This mom is eternally grateful for your generous hearts and compassion. I expect to be working before the end of the year. Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning this time around. God bless you all.

Sandy and William
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Post Op Day and beyond

We met with William’s surgeon on Monday for his post op appointment and the rehab plan begins in two weeks. It can’t come soon enough. He is stir-crazy being confined home.

We were referred to a genetic specialist – First available appointment is March 27, 2019! We’re going to look outside for genetic testing. Every day is a degenerative day for William - until we know what we are dealing with, we can’t address how to prevent recurrence.

The included picture is William’s soft, frayed cartilage. Trying hard to look forward (Find the Pony!) and not beat myself up for pushing him into all kinds of sports that were tough on his joints – his 8 growth plate fractures make total sense now.

If anyone has a lead on a genetic research firm/physician in Michigan, PLEASE COMMENT on this page. We’d like to at least get the collection and analysis BEFORE we see the specialist next year.

William honestly thought he could return to college today (Wednesday, October 24) albeit in a wheelchair. After the exhausting trek upstairs and a refreshing shower, he was overcome with nausea and got sick.
(Maybe he got sick at the thought of Mom taking him to class? Just a suspicion. LOL). William will focus on upcoming speeches (hard for him) in his public speaking class and come up with creative solutions for his filming/film editing class that can be done from a wheelchair or his recovery bed. I’d offer to help, but my reputation for blurry images has placed me as a graduate of the Katherine Hepburn School of Photography – since forever.

Thank you all for your benevolence, your gifts, and continued prayers.
Sandy & Will
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Day 6
Once again, William slept all day – until around 7pm. He ate a hearty dinner of pierogies and kielbasa – luckily, I keep both on hand.
NO PAINKILLERS – successful day!

Day 7
The day started out around 11am – he was begging for a shower. We made the treacherous trek upstairs so he could. Within minutes, he was nauseated and light-headed, running low-grade fever, at 100.4*. No visible sign of infection, so we took a wait and see approach after speaking to doctor’s office. We hooked him back up to circulating ice water and his continuous motion device and he went right to sleep. I checked his temp 2 hours later and it was slightly elevated but in normal range at 99.5*
8pm he awoke hungry, requesting just soup. I should have encouraged a grilled sandwich too because …

Day 8
Around 2am Bentley left his boy-vigil (pictured), venturing upstairs to my bedroom to “tattle”.

He is famous (subjects would say infamous) for doing that. It used to involve our cats roughhousing – but we lost both this year too. (I’ll be glad when 2018 is behind us.)

The thumps downstairs were unmistakable – William was on the move and found in the kitchen. (He said he didn’t want to wake me – I’m torn between being touched and upset.) He got his sweet-fix and went back to bed. Thank goodness for Bentley’s tattling – there was no way to carry a glass of milk using crutches.

At 10am William awoke and got his requested breakfast – believe it or not he wanted more pierogis and kielbasa! Of course, he gets what he wants, but for breakfast?
William drafted a speech due last week, but with deadline extended by professor and is slowly catching up on missed work.
He enjoyed a large dinner of grilled chicken, green beans, and potatoes.

October mortgage, insurance, taxes, electric, Internet, cell phone, water, and trash bills paid! We are so humbled by your generous gifts. This recovery is stressful enough – worrying how to keep the lights on (and his recovery devices) was too much to bear. I will be forever grateful to friends and strangers for your kindness – you’ve made a big difference with your grace. God bless you all.
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BARN RAISING and tape ripping!
I read something today and it reminded me of all of you, our compassionate and generous community of supporters. You raised the barn for us when we needed it most! Thank you!

Day 4
Will slept most of today and made it to the restroom without me - using crutches! (Yes, I hovered during the trek.) Our house is ill equipped for a wheelchair, which we’ve borrowed from grandma for use outside the home, when needed.

Both William and the dog, Bentley thought 3:45am might be a good time to alert me to their restroom needs.
(We’re upside down on times and hope to restore normal hours soon.)

Today was only a 2-pain pill day and we are hoping for 0-1 tomorrow..
Your prayers are working! Thank you, generous friends and supporters.

Day 5
Someone went without a single pain med all day!
William awoke at 10am and was up all day except for a 30-minute catnap. The prayers for normal hours were heard! He watched television (something he rarely does) and survived without his usual electronics – again, something he rarely does. He should sleep through the night.

We were given permission to remove the large bandage. Tape removal was a true joy. (I got a ton of future promises out of him.) When I didn’t pull his skin tight with the first rip, I got the look of ‘how could you betray me’? (photo) We left the 4 x4 bandages covering his stitches in place. With the super thick pad removed, he’s finally feeling the true benefits of the Bregg ice water circulation.

Will’s appetite is fantastic – wish we could say the same for Bentley Boy whose consumption has severely waned through this week. Hoping he gets back on track while he is ‘guarding over his boy’. I really need to capture this image for you … it’s precious.

Tomorrow he wants to try to focus and catch up on schoolwork. Fingers crossed.

With sincere appreciation,
Sandy and William
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$11,028 of $11,000 goal

Raised by 214 people in 8 months
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