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Treatment for Renee

$33,555 of $34,425 goal

Raised by 135 people in 10 months
The Basics:

– A series of odd symptoms over the past 8 months have caused doctors to think Renee' may have lymphoma, or at least early signs of lymphoma.

– She has officially been diagnosed with a serious infection in her jaw, Celiacs disease, and an auto-immune disease in her liver.

– She is seeing a top specialist at UCSF who is helping her to use insurance to cover as much testing and treatment as possible to limit out of pocket costs.

– She has traveled to Scottsdale, AZ to see a progressive cancer/autoimmune treatment center called ENVITA

– After multiple blood tests and scans, it is clear that Renee' needs to have surgery on her mouth to remove dental implants from 1999 that are a main source of the infection in her body. She also needs IV treatment to fight all of the infection.

– Renee's dental surgery will cost between $6,000 and $8,000 and is all out of pocket because implants are considered elective and cosmetic.

– ENVITA will cost $13,000 and is out of pocket because insurance will not cover their treatment.  She will have surgery with an oral surgeon there and then do treatment at the clinic to get all of the infection out of her body.

Cost Breakdown:

ENVITA – $13,000
DENTAL SURGERY – $7,000
SCANS (After Insurance) – $2,700
TRAVEL/MISC EXPENSES – $800
GOFUNDME FEES – $1,500

TOTAL – $25,000

The Details:

– Renee' has had multiple scans (CAT Scan / Mammogram / Thermography / Ultra Sound) and a lot of blood tests. The tests have been both through UCSF and ENVITA.

– The Bergmen family is traveling on November 6th to a surgeon in Scottsdale who can safely remove the infected implants from Renee's mouth without leaking any more metals into her body. Some people have severe lack of biocompatibility with metals that are used in dental implants.  It hasn't been recognized until recently that metals in the body can cause major illness if the body rejects them.  Unfortunately, Renee has had these metals in her mouth for 20+ years!

– She needs her jaw to be cut and bone grafts to replace the areas the implant and infection are.  She has 4 teeth total that need surgery.

– After surgery, Renee will do treatments at ENVITA that will last 2 weeks. She will be there 5-6 hours a day during this time.

– C.J. and the kids will stay with Renee' in Arizona until her surgery is over and then they will travel back to San Francisco for the remainder of her treatment. Renee' is planning to fly home on Thanksgiving Day.

– ENVITA is confident that Renee' will be fully cured after her treament is over.

The Story:

Renee' has struggled, as many of us do, with varying health problems for many years.  Years ago Renee' tested positive for some sort of autoimmune disorder but at the time, her symptoms were not fully developed, so she did a baseline treatment with ENVITA, and her symptoms all went away. That was 2007.

In 2009, we lost our son Titus through still birth, and so a lot of focus on Renee's body and health since then has hinged around her reproductive system. There have been lots of ups and downs over the past 8 years, but nothing that revealed itself as anything major or alarming. One thing that did occur was that Renee' had an ectopic pregnancy in 2015, for which they gave her a steriod called Methotrexate. Her body hasn't really been the same ever since.

In the beginning of this year Renee' and I began training for a half marathon together (not sure how I let her talk me into that). Renee' had an oddly difficult time getting in shape for the race, which we just chalked up to "well, we are just getting older" ;) But then, she fell during the race. After the race, she had to go to the ER because she kept feeling like she was going to pass out, and they had to do a bunch of work to get her sodium levels back in order. Then, a month later, she got shingles, which normally occurs later in life. A few months later, she got a very painful rash and massive swelling in her face that was thought to be a result of a medication that she had been on for 8 years without any problems. 

This led us to begin investigating what was happening with her body. She was pulled off the medication she was on, and had severe withdrawl symptoms, but some of the symptoms she had didn't fit in with the list of common symptoms. Really bad abdominal pain, night sweats, lack of appetite, continued swelling, swollen lymph nodes, lack of daily energy etc...

She went to her GP who began asking questions about her family history. Renee' mentioned that her dad has Lymphoma and a liver disease.  They wanted to do blood testing. The results came back to show that Renee' has an alarmingly low white blood cell count. More testing, Celiacs. More testing, a liver disease. Finally she had a scan of her mouth and it showed severe inflamation and infection.  She also has a spot in her chest they believe is infection that has spread from her mouth and will hopefully clear once she has surgery and antibiotic IV's.  Renee has 20 year old dental implants in her mouth.  Unfortunately, the metals used when she had these can cause severe illness in individuals.  Some have even had permenant body paralysis from them.  After the scan of her mouth it was clear she had a lot of infection. She is having severe dizziness and has continued to feel awful and not able to function in daily activities.

We are grateful for the medical resources we have through insurance and at a place as wonderful as UCSF, but they were not positive what was causing all of the symptoms. They wanted to do 6 month follow ups to keep checking for Lymphoma.

We have experience and relationship with the people at ENVITA, and know they are experts in getting to the bottom of weird symptoms when traditional testing is unclear.  We are so grateful to have found all of this infection as we could be in a much worse situation the longer we waited for treatment.

Because dental implants were elective (Renee had 5 missing permenant teeth from birth), insurance will not cover any of the costs associated with the infection. We are fighting for them to cover the removal, but we know for sure they will not cover ENVITA's costs.

The Struggle:

Renee' and I have had to ask people we are in relationship with for money way more times than we have wanted to. Let's review:

– When we lost Titus, someone paid for the entire medical bill. We never even got anything in the mail about costs for that whole thing. Some wonderful person covered that cost, and to this day we don't know who you are. We are humbled and grateful that someone would do this for us.

– Months after we lost Titus, we began the process of adopting Keane. We needed $27,000 to bring him home and had only a week to get the funds together. We had all the money in our bank account in 2 days. We were floored by this. How could we be so loved and cared for by our community? We praised Jesus, and knew no words could express how much that meant to us.

– In 2012, we felt led to quit a well paying job and seek the Lord on where He was calling our family. We ended up selling a bunch of our stuff and moving in with my parents so that we could help plant a church in San Francisco. Many of our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ financially supported us while we transitioned into this new life in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

– In 2014, we stepped out in faith again to plant Citizens Church. We would need an enormous amount of financial support to get this church plant off the ground, and a long on-ramp to be able to grow to a place of being self-sustained. Many friends from all over the country and even the world have given to this effort, and still give to this effort! We are so thankful for that. We stand in awe of the generosity of the church on behalf of our family.

– In 2014, we also began the process of what would turn out to be a failed adoption attempt. We raised about $2,000 to be able to begin paperwork for a 2nd adoption, but because of some really odd California laws, combined with an emergency surgery that Keane had that temporarily made us financially unfit to adopt, and then our finger prints being lost in the system, we were never able to use that money the way that people who love us intended it. We grieve the loss of those funds and express our gratitude to those of you who gave toward that effort.

How can we possibly ask people to help us more than they already have? We don't know. We don't know how to ask. We don't know how to receive. We do know that God is a loving God with an abundance of resources. We know that bankrupcy for the sake of Renee's health is worth it if it comes to that. We are willing to lose assets, have to change our life, or whatever in order to do what we believe is best, but we know that we are deeply loved and want to put ourselves in a position to receive the care and support that God wants us to receive. It is frustratingly humbling, and yet, it is where we are at.

We love you all and appreciate you so much. Please don't feel obligated to give. We trust the Lord. He will take care of us. But for those that do, we love you and thank you. Please pray for us as we navigate all of the costs and decisions along the way, and for the kids as they spend a few weeks away from their Momma. May God receive all glory for everything that happens in the life of this family.

C.J., Renee', Keane, August
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Dear friends, we wanted to update you on how Renee' has been doing over the past few months. As a reminder, she spent about 3 weeks in Phoenix in November of 2017. She had several teeth removed that had metals that were infecting her body and causing symptoms akin to Lymphoma. She also received IV treatments from Envita that included targeted chemotherapy, several antibiotics and nutrition therapy. She has since been taking supplements and prescriptions to continue to heal her body.

How is she doing?

Miraculously well! Renee' says it feels like a 180 degree turn. She has lasting energy, clarity of mind, no more pain in her joints, no more swelling in her face. The kids have their mama back, I have my wife back. Our church has one of their leaders back. It has been an unbelievable new year for us.

We have praised God for His healing kindness over and over and also have thanked Him for all of the generous people who funded this process. There simply aren't words enough to express our gratitude. We have shared our story with many people who have responded in their own delight and praise to God.

What's left to do?

Renee' will travel back to Phoenix in a few weeks to get more blood work from Envita to see how everything looks. Particularly they want to see that her white blood cell count has gone back up, that her staph infection is gone and that her tick-borne illness is gone. She will also go to her dentist there to receive final placement of one of her front teeth and possibly a retainer for her other missing tooth. She opted not to have permanent implants in the 2 remaining teeth that are missing. This is based on an additional cost of $10,000, but more importantly an enormous amount of pain. I think I mentioned this in a past update, but Renee' said she would rather birth 3 babies simultaneously with no epidural than to have that tooth surgery ever again. She has such a way of putting things...

New financial goal

For this last dental appointment, we have to spend $1750 to have her permanent front tooth installed. She has an option to spend $900 on a retainer with a permanent tooth for the other missing tooth, or instead leave it with nothing. We figured we would add the $2650 to our campaign and base our decision on what comes in vs. what we decide to spend out of pocket.

As always, we are beyond grateful, have no sense of entitlement and can't believe all we have received. We will not be sad if we don't raise another penny here. How could we? We have been beyond blessed. If you feel led to give or to share, we praise God for you and will gladly spend those funds on these last expenses.

We hope and pray that you would know how loved our family feels by the generosity you have poured out on us!

Sincerely,

C.J. and Renee'
Renee' at Magnolia in Waco, TX
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Hey friends, sorry for the delay in updates. Renee' got home from Arizona a few days before Thanksgiving, and then a week later we moved! Crazy! We made it into our new house and are loving it so far. We are so grateful for this blessing and can't believe we pulled off a move in the midst of this season. God has been gracious and kind to us.

Renee' is feeling better and better each day. She has far less fatigue, no dizzy spells and joint pain has left her body. She is sleeping better and overall feeling much more like herself. The doctors have said it will take about 6 months for her to have full recovery, but it really seems like we are on a path toward that, which is so encouraging!

We have to go back to AZ in March to have her dental implants finished, and they will do testing then to determine whether her body is in fact headed toward full recovery.

The dental costs have felt exorbitant. In order to finish her dental work, we have to pay out another $2500 on top of all that we have spent already. We don't feel led to raise our goal # but of course if anyone wants to share or give to help us make up for that deficit, you certainly can. We are already so overwhelmed by the generosity we have experienced in this.

We want to say again thank you so much! We truly didn't know how loved we were by so many. It has been a crazy journey. I was telling a friend today how miraculous this whole experience has been, to go from such bad news to such good news so fast with all of the provision necessary! That is so rare and has spoken volumes to many around us that God cares for the Bergmen family and is watching over us. We thank you for your participation in that!

With love – C.J. and Renee'
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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

We are filled with so much gratitude as reflect on God’s kindness to our family.

Renee’ had blood testing on Monday and is already showing enormous progress! Doctors are further convinced that her dental implants were the silver bullet and they expect her to fully recover. What a huge blessing as so often it takes so long to get to the bottom of symptoms like these. Renee’ said that many of the cancer and auto-immune patients at ENVITA were going to have various dental issues looked at. If you know someone who is sick, that should be on their radar.

Because blood looked good Monday, ENVITA finished up her treatment a day early on Tuesday! So she is done with IV’s. She was scheduled to fly home this morning but as soon as she told me she would be done Tuesday we started looking at flights to have her home early. Of course there were very few available and going to cost $400! I decided to send a tweet to southwest air to tell them the situation and ask if they wanted to help get a momma home to her kids early, and they did it! So Renee got to come home Tuesday night!

Renee has a huge pile of pills she has to take for the next 3-4 months and is expected to be feeling close to 100% at the end of that. She has to fly back to Phoenix in March to have one of her implants finished.

She is tired but doing really well considering all that she just went through. She came home to a half packed house as several members of our church family came to box our house up while she was gone. We officially move a week from tomorrow! But we are feeling so grateful and hopeful for the next chapter in San Francisco, blown away that we are moving 3 doors down!

Last Sunday I preached a sermon from Isaiah 11 entitled “O Root of Jesse” where Isaiah gives hope to a nation that has been cut down like a forest of trees so that only stumps remain. He promises that from what seems to be a hopeless stump, a tiny shoot emerges from the root system below. That shoot is the promise of Jesus, who will come to bring beauty from ashes.

He is the source of our hope. He continues to prove Himself faithful to our family. I hope your faith has increased as much as ours has as we have witnessed how He has taken care of us in every little way possible. Thank you all for participating so critically in that provision and blessing. We love you all and pour out our love and thankfulness to you today!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
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Thank you so much for all of the love and support! We feel so blessed and encouraged by our extended family both near and far, past and present!

Renee is all done with dental surgeries. They were able to remove all of the infected teeth in her mouth. Surgeries were really painful for Renee but she soldiered through as she always does! She will spend the rest of this week and next week getting IV treatments at ENVITA and be back here in San Francisco on Thanksgiving day.

Please continue to pray for our family as we get through this season. I did not share this before but with all of this going on we are also being evicted from our flat in San Francisco . Our landlord’s parents have their own health issues and need to move into our unit. When it rains it pours yes? By God’s unbelievable grace we are able to rent a unit only three doors down from our current house. So while Renee is finishing up treatment in Phoenix I will be here packing up the house and getting ready to move for a December 1 move-in date. Please pray for our precious kiddos as they endure all of the craziness happening in their world!

The Lord has continued to demonstrate kindness to our family in every way you can imagine. Thank you to all of you who have shown such love and support to us with prayers, with financial resources, with calls and texts and email messages. This trial continues to produce new fruit in both of our lives that we are so grateful for! It serves as a reminder that living in community with others and being vulnerable enough to share your brokenness is always worth it, even though it is humbling and scary to do that. As a guy who has never minded attention, I have grown weary of receiving it in these many times of need. That is as much a self protecting mechanism as desire for the limelight. I am repenting of both and enjoying His grace once again.

Love you all!!

Bergmens
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$33,555 of $34,425 goal

Raised by 135 people in 10 months
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