Valerie Coleman Medical Fund

$2,290 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 42 people in 15 months
Created April 20, 2018
Hi all,

Sometimes, life sneaks up on you!

On May 2, I will be having surgery to remove my gallbladder. I have some very large gallstones, and there is the possibility that one or more are blocking some of my ducts. There is also a good chance that other things will need to be done in my abdomen once they get in and look around.

Once I've healed, I will be going to see a Rheumatologist, finally, for the likelihood of autoimmune disease of some sort, with the main possibilities being arthritis and Lupus. Though, I'd love it if all my symptoms can be attributed to something less complicated! In the meantime, it's quite a wonder how much blood tests, etc. can cost.

For years I've known my health wasn't what it should be. And it's nice to finally be making some progress. Unfortunately, my insurance doesn't cover nearly as much as I'd like. And with all of it happening at once, I'm starting to get behind. My brother, Robbie, suggested this, and I have to admit that I need the help.

However, I know many of you are in the same boat as I'm in, or worse! No expectation! And, in turn, all the gratitude to those who can help in any way. This is a strange position to be in...

Valerie
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Hello all,

It has been awhile. I've been managing things okay for a bit. But I now find myself at another crossroads.

I've reduced my hours at work to no more than 18 a week due to the filing of my disability paperwork. This also means I've lost my paid time off, which is rough because I have days when I can't make it in to work. It also means that I've lost my company paid for insurance. Because I cannot afford to pay the COBRA monthly payment, I am left with Medicaid. I actually don't even make enough money a month anymore to pay my rent. And now my car has decided to be sick too.

As far as sickness goes, I'm struggling. The vertigo has made a comeback. I'm having trouble making it up and down the stairs at home. I will be getting a new Medicaid approved Rheumatologist, and I'm hoping that they will do some more testing and be willing to treat things more aggressively. I have enough of the physical symptoms to have a diagnosis of Lupus, so I'm also hoping we can finally get that squared away and start treatment. I've started using a cane at times, especially when things get icy here. My thyroid has also gone a bit crazy, and my depression and panic disorder have been heavy. I am also in the process of planning 2 surgeries. I think that covers it for now.

I share this with a great sacrifice of dignity, but I'm learning to accept my need to be humble and and ask for help. I also share my story in hopes of others benefiting somehow.

I love you all for the help I've received so far. And understand completely those who cannot help. To those people I ask that you keep me in your thoughts.

I refuse to let this beat me!
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On Thursday, I was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease. It causes terrible dry eye and dry mouth, and therefore explains what I've been dealing with there. The tissues that keep those things moist have died, so there's no reversing it. There are also neurological aspects as well as others. I will be adding a new medication, and it has some not fun side effects, including the possibility of blindness, but the disease itself can cause blindness, so I'm hoping for the best. I will be seeing an Opthalmologist every 6 months indefinitely to check for corneal damage, and will be seeing my Rheumatologist every 3 months for now. I also have some markers and numerous symptoms of Lupus, but she doesn't feel she can diagnose me yet. So, meanwhile I will go see a dermatologist to see if there is some other explanation for my face rash and to look at some questionable moles she noticed.

On a new front, the left side of my nose is collapsing a bit, and the septal perforation I've dealt with for years is much larger. I need to see an ENT, they will likely need to perform surgery to repair, don't worry, I like my nose the way it is, no changes!! There's a strong chance this cartilage deterioration is due to some other autoimmune issue, the two mentioned were Polychondritis and Wegener's.

I continue to try to do my best to take things in stride. Answers are a gift, even if they don't mean cures. I've waited for so long for them. I'm so broke, and behind on car payments now, but tomorrow is another day. After seeing the ENT and finding out if there is another diagnosis, I will begin the work to be approved for permanent disability.

Love to all! So grateful to have amazing humans in my life!!!
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Today, I saw the Rheumatologist for the first time. This is what happened:

- To begin with, I have fibromyalgia. She has prescribed Lyrica for me. Thankfully she had some samples, at the dosage we're looking at right now, after insurance, it will cost me $112.50 every 3 months.
- She ran tests for a lot of other things, including Sjogren's Syndrome and Lupus. I see her in a little over 2 weeks to go over test results and next steps.
- She wants me to see 2 different specialists for other things
- A sleep doctor
- Someone that specializes in Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. I have a follow up on the 12th.

Additionally, I've done tons of research on pricing for L-Methylfolate, which I'd be taking to try and improve my response with my depression and anxiety drugs, due to a gene mutation, that can also affect autoimmune issues. The best pricing I can find is $40 a month through Amazon. My insurance doesn't even cover the prescription for it, which would likely cost about $200 a month.

So, I still need all the help I can get, and would be super appreciative if anyone would be able to share this campaign through Facebook or Twitter.

Love you all!!!
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Posting an update on my gallbladder surgery, and also plans for what I'm calling Phase 2

- My gallbladder related stuff is sooooo much better. I had to avoid dairy for a few weeks to let my enzymes build back up, and am off my Metformin until I see the doctor again on Thursday, but that put a stop to what i was fighting from 4 days after the surgery to about 12 days after the surgery.

- I am seeing my regular doctor on June 7. She will: check on my incisions and such (belly button is healing strangely), check up on whether we managed to put a stop to some other abdominal issues we're working on, test me again for my Thyroid and a few other things, and there is also the possibility that I have something called an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, she is going to look further in to that.

- My genetic testing came back. So extremely fascinating, and I'm so glad I did it, despite the expense. I recommend it to anyone struggling with mental health issues and fighting to find what medicines will work for you. I have 2 genetic problems that make it hard for my body to process Serotonin. So, no matter how many medications I throw at my brain, all the Serotonin it creates is not being allowed to do much of anything. So, we have increased many of my dosages. We have hope for WAY better results, but it is gonna take adding other things gradually. One thing that is supposed to help a lot is called L-Methylfolate, since I don't make the enzymes to turn folic acid into this. Sadly, it is a super expensive prescription. We are trying the prescription strength to see if it is a good fit, and then may try using a cheaper version I can get on Amazon.

- I finally have an appointment with the Rheumatologist, and was able to schedule it a lot earlier than they had estimated, I see them on June 27. It will likely be a long visit while I go over all of my currently unexplained symptoms with them (I have been keeping a list), and they will likely run MANY tests. But, hopefully we can pinpoint what the issues are so that we can start to treat them.

- Surgery/hospital bills are INSANE!! Thank god I have some sort of insurance. The bill for the hospital alone started off as over $35k!!! Thankfully that ended up being a little under $1300 total. And then the surgeon , pathology (no cancer in my gallbladder, yay!), anesthesiologist, labs, and surgical assistant are bills on top of that!! Just staggering. I am working on setting up payment plans for all of them, but have made payments on all of them to facilitate the initiation of the process.

- Where this leaves me: Very excited to have something behind me!! Very excited but nervous to have appointments lined up to work on the other issues. I have had to leave work early a few days because I am just constantly exhausted. I think that the surgery shocked my system a bit and caused the remaining things to struggle more. I have officially decided to file for permanent disability once I have all of my diagnoses. I'd be in a much better financial place than I am now, since I've reached the end of my days where I can work full time and still maintain my health.

Thanks to all who have helped me get this far! And thanks for all the prayers and thoughts, etc. I still have much of the road ahead of me, but I'm so thankful to have so many great people in my life!! <3
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$2,290 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 42 people in 15 months
Created April 20, 2018
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