Mary's Medical Expenses
On May 15 2017, Mary Tice went to the doctor for a prenatal exam after she started experiencing symptoms that could possibly be a miscarriage at 6 weeks. The ultrasound did not show much but during the exam, the doctor saw and felt a large mass in her abdomen. She was immediately sent to the hospital and admitted for possible surgery. They ran more blood work and ordered additional ultrasounds. The mass was a 10 cm cyst on her ovary, a cyst that in a normal pregnancy should only be 3-4 cm. Any surgery has been postponed while we wait for blood work to come back. As of now, it's not known if she is still pregnant, if she's miscarried or if there is something more serious happening. Medicaid has been applied for, paperwork is being sent to the hospital for financial aid. However, due to income limitations, it's not known if she will be approved or denied for aid or what she will be required to pay out of pocket. This donation request to help pay for medical expenses incurred as well as the expenses encountered in the upcoming weeks in addition to lost wages.
This past Monday I had a dye test done to ensure my bladder didn't leak, which I thankfully passed and on Tuesday, my catheter (which I had dubbed my leash) was removed. My urologist is hopeful that once the stent is removed in December, I will be fine and not need additional urinary tract work. However, until then I'm still homebound with limited movement and travel to prevent the stent from moving and to allow the stitches in my bladder to heal as quickly as possible.
I also saw my oncologist on Tuesday, who had slightly less good news. While I am healing nicely from this surgery, she foresees more surgeries in my future due to the extent of my endometriosis. We originally thought my left ovary was in good condition but it was noted during my surgery that endo spots are starting on it as well. Additionally, the months spent on the depo shot prior to surgery did shrink the cyst on my right ovary, but not nearly as much as it should have. I'm remaining on the shot through February when I have a consult with a local endometriosis specialist. While I'm not giving up hope on finding a natural treatment to shrink my endo, I also know there is a good chance the only way I'll be able to live a "normal" life with minimal flare-ups is with hormone treatments such as birth control pills or shots. I personally hate this option as the side effects are taking their toll on my mental state. Weight gain (extra hard as I was very close to my goal weight), mood swings, constant daily spotting, and an increase in my depression are all things I've been dealing with since the first depo shot was given to me. I've been asked if I should have just had a hysterectomy and I honestly thought about it. I know it is not a cure for endometriosis, especially in someone like me who has it in other places outside my reproductive organs, but it would help with some of the issues. However, knowing now that my left ovary is being affected, I would need it removed as well and that would push my body into surgical menopause, which is way worse than natural menopause, something I'm not ready to go through yet.
Financially, this year's round of surgeries are less expensive than last year because I qualified for the hospital's financial aid/charity which has covered my hospital stays in June and October. It does not cover my doctors, including everyone who saw me for surgery, lab work sent outside of the hospital or medications. Bills are still rolling in but at last check, I'm about $5,000 in debt just from this surgery, not counting the surgery in June for the first stent, last year's surgery or my upcoming appointments for my stent removal, ultrasounds and endometriosis consult with testing. Any assistance is greatly appreciated, whether it's financial or simply sharing my campaign to your friends and followers.
My body and mind may be bruised, pained and stiff but I haven't been broken, not yet. And just as I've mastered my Urkel walk until I can stand up straight again, I know I will overcome this hurdle as well!
The good news: ultrasounds can show if it's functioning or not (the doctor thinks it is), the pressure/pain I feel is normal, the stent can actually last up to 6 months (instead of 3 like I was first told), and because of the toll on my body, one surgery to tackle the cyst and blockage will be best. I did find out that I'll have another stent temporarily placed but not sure if it will be one that can be removed at the doctor's, if it will be an outpatient thing or an overnighter (I didn't think to ask). I really liked this doctor over the first as he offered more suggestions, insight and generally had better bedside manner, so I plan on sticking with his group to see this through. My next round of ultrasounds will cover both the cyst and kidney. Hopefully by the end of August, we will have a better game plan!
I was hoping that I would have a surgery date set by my birthday (this Sunday) but unfortunately we can't really proceed until we figure out what this cyst is going to do and if it needs to be removed or will shrink on its own.
Again, thank you to everyone who has donated and shared my campaign!
After a year of lifestyle changes and greatly reduced symptoms, I ended up back in the hospital at the end of June. As luck would have it, I have a blockage in my right ureter (the tube connecting my right kidney and bladder) plus another cyst. I've had a stent temporarily placed and a depo shot to help the cyst growth. I'm looking at 1-2 more surgeries this year (one for my kidney and the other possibly for the cyst). I've applied for charity through the hospital, but have been denied both emergency and regular Medicaid, as well as special enrollment to the Affordable Healthcare (but should be able to enroll during the next open enrollment). If my charity application is accepted, I'm still looking at about $5,000 in doctor bills from my stay and surgery in June for the stent. I can only imagine what my 3 day stay bill will be if I'm denied charity.
It's very difficult to write about this so openly. This summer has opened my eyes even more to our broken healthcare system. I've been told not to increase my work income (donations luckily are different) as to not accidentally knock myself out my income bracket until my application is finished processing. So I'm unable to help myself improve the situation and now that this is all pre-existing, no regular insurance has to cover my remaining care needs. I was told in the hospital I needed a function test to ensure my kidney is working prior to next surgery but due to my income limits, the doctor doesn't want to proceed with a $3,000 test, so now I'm looking at doctors who don't just see an income level. I've been made to sign up for payment plans I'm not 100% sure I can honor simply due to the amount care I still need and the amount of doctors I still need to see. It's difficult and heartbreaking to want to improve my situation but being told not to. I don't even like asking for donations, but at this point, it's the only option until I'm on the other side of all the surgeries and bills. I've never had someone be so happy I'm poor until the day they helped me start the charity paperwork, and it killed me. I do the best I can for my family, but this has been soul crushing.
To everyone who has donated, thank you. To everyone who has shared my fundraiser, thank you. To everyone reading this, thank you. I'm sorry if I vented a lot or sound pitiful, and I almost didn't write this, but then figured it's best to get it all out there, so thank you for reading it.
Thanks again to all those who have donated to and shared my campaign!