Update on My Emergency Surgery

and how you can help



The Video

The Story

Sometimes life pulls the rug right out from under you. My family is experiencing one of those moments and instead of helping, as I should be doing, I have managed to create the perfect storm of a problem. If we hadn’t exhausted all other means, I wouldn’t be creating a crowd-sourcing campaign for MYSELF. I know these things are usually handled by a family member or a friend–but again, I feel like this is MY mess to clean up.  I know it is not my fault, but the heart sometimes is shielded to the wisdom of the mind.

I am doing this because I love my family and I do not want to burden them with this.

The situation:

I live with Robbie (pictured), our 14-year-old daughter, and my adult son (who works, manages his own finances, and pays us a small weekly rent.)
My boyfriend is the sole provider for our household bills. I am not working due to chronic health issues.

Robbie has lost his job suddenly (his company, without warning, closed its doors) and 2 days later I find out that I need emergency surgery.

After a pain flare-up three weeks ago landed me in Duke University for tests and an overnight stay, we have utilized every charitable program we can find to try to get answers. The pain is in my face, jaw, and head. There have been problems with numbness in my lip and chin, lip drooping on one side, embarrassing drooling on that side, and slurring of my speech. They called a Stroke Code as soon as I arrived at Duke.
I had intermittent seizures on one side of my face for approximately 48 hours until the stay at Duke, where anti-inflammatory shots were given bringing the pain level down and therefore bringing the blood pressure down from the ceiling, and the seizures slowly dissipated. 
The nerve pain has been up the back of my head with lightning fingers of pain across my scalp. Another nerve area on my cheek spreads across my cheekbone and chin. Another behind my ear. The bones in my face ache something terrible–but with all this pain there are no pain management options for me. I take medication already for nerve pain so the doctor raised that again but no additional pain-managing medications were given at any of the doctor visits.

In the difficult financial position, we are in, we spent half the rent for me to see the dentist–hoping that he would shed light on the situation.

He did. The dentist explained to me this:

I have two impacted wisdom teeth, one on either side of my face and both are sitting directly on a nerve going to my chin — this explains the facial drooping, the numbness in my lip, and the difficulty at times for my mouth to move properly when I am speaking (hence part of the stroke concerns previously.) 

It also possibly explains the nerve pain flare-ups in my head and the facial seizures.

I also have an infection in a back tooth and this is a big problem — the infection is not draining outward, but pooling back behind the impacted tooth and into my jawbone (and eventually into other areas of my head). 

I need emergency surgery to remove all three teeth. This is what my dentist said to me after a drastic exclamation at the x-ray imagery, composed and alarmed he explained:

“I have never seen anything like this before in my career.”
“It is no wonder you have been in terrible pain.”
“The nerve damage in your face may be permanent at this point.”
“You cannot wait.”
“This could end your life.”

So, at a point in our family where the income has been reduced to nearly nothing, I need emergency surgery–and soon.

My consultation with the dental surgeon is on June 4th. We will know a precise amount for the surgery then, but my dentist said it will be 2500 or 3000. I am asking 3000 because even if the surgery is less than that, our family could use the extra to help with bills during this difficult time.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with ortho on another matter and may also need neck surgery–this will be (mostly) covered by the Charity Care program, but dental surgery is not covered under this program.

I know there are kind people out there who wholeheartedly care about the pain of others. I do not want anyone to be burdened by giving. Only give if you are able to do so without putting yourself into a financial strain.

I thank you for reading and for your empathy–prayers welcome but please no pity. This is just another hurdle for us to leap and God cares for even the sparrow, so I know He watches me. Take care.

(To be clear, no medical or dental insurance, we were denied the dental credit card and denied a personal loan we tried to get, and because we are not married and my adult son lives here–they take his income into consideration–I get denied for Medicaid.)

A note on Robbie: This is a man who would do anything for anyone–ask anyone that knows him. The only thing worse than my pain is watching the stress and anguish it causes him. He is frantically trying to solve this problem and I want to ease his burden somehow.


The Update:

Surgery is scheduled for June 13. For those of you who missed the Facebook update: The dental surgeon is less concerned about infection as he is with the structural issues regarding the surgery itself. Apparently, there is little jawbone in the area to work with. When the two teeth are removed, part of the jawbone will also need to be removed, leaving a very thin area of jawbone left. This means that fracture of my jawbone is possible, maybe even likely. This will mean I may need to follow-up at the hospital for surgery to put a plate in my jaw. I have coverage through the Charity Care program at my local hospital so I hope that financially that will not be a problem. Although, I do not know what this means for a “pain forecast.” Another issue is the nerve. Both teeth sit directly on the nerve. I am told that removing the teeth “may not improve the nerve pain” in my face and that permanent nerve damage and/or numbness in my face is a possible maybe even a likely outcome. Again, I do not know what this means for a “pain forecast.” All of this is disheartening and has me very anxious but your prayers, messages of support, and your giving are life-changing and sustaining to me in this difficult time. I cannot thank you enough. It is humbling.

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