Hello, Welcome to my Aidpage "about me" section and blog page. Below you may read my story, which better explains who I am, where I've been, and why I believe many of my own personal experiences (most of which are ongoing) within the medical, health and legal arenas, may be helpful and relatable to many others whom struggle with chronic health problems. I have many passions, tremendous empathy, and a love for helping others ... I understand what it's like to have your entire life flipped upside down; feel unheard, not believed, alone, and overwhelmed by medical conditions which come to affect every aspect of your life.
If you would like to read more about the various subjects I speak to in the below section, I have created other blog pages on Blogspot.com. "The Many Faces of Health & Illness: Advocating for Health," is about my journey with auto immune related illness, struggling with chronic health conditions and battling the medical system. If you deal with a spine condition and/or nerve deficits, I have another page called "Spondylolisthesis Grade 5." And finally, if you deal with a chronic health problem/illness/condition everyday, you know how important it is to find the good in the smaller things in life, as well as the importance of finding sources of comfort, distraction and laughter. My page called "3 Cat Tales: The Escapades of my Three Felines," contains fun and humorous short stories along with my own artwork.
I am a 29 year old whom feels like an 80 year old. I am desperate for financial help to pay my everything from my medical bills to my rent. When I was a child I developed a spine condition called Spondylolisthesis. I went for four years back and forth to various providers trying to find an answer to my pain. I was told over and over that I was "just lazy, trying to get out of playing my beloved sports and attempting to gain attention." After some time of being told I was not actually experiencing massive pain and overall discomfort, I ceased to share what I dealt with every single day, as all of the "authority figures" told me otherwise. I began to believe that everyone experienced the pain that I did and learned to shut up and live with it. Finally, at the age of 14, I showed my father the protruding vertebrae from my back ... then the doctors took notice. Ironically, some of those physicians I had visited years earlier actually knew of my condition, but failed to notify my parents, let alone refer me to a specialist. One doctor even mentioned in her notes that she was "surprised I could still walk." During a legal malpractice suit - which was poorly done - she added notes after the fact, stating that she called my mother and left her a message!!! At the time, she feverishly insisted to my mother that I was "a complainer" who just needed "to stretch" and "do more sports." Another nasty trick played by the scared, incompetent doctors? My x-rays "magically" disappeared; all but wiping away my history, the progression of my condition and the proof of their many massive missteps. Three years later I was faced with one of the greatest fights of my life, a battle that continues to this day. Not only was I racked with extreme pain, but as a young teenager, I found myself losing sensation in my legs, falling down, and experiencing the ever-increasing affects of my internal organs literally being crushed between my pelvis and my ribs. I needed help immediately, otherwise I was going to become a paraplegic and have a life span shortened to that of only a quarter century. Orthopedics from around the world courted my parents at a chance to perform surgery on the most extreme/severe case of Spondylolisthesis (Spondyloptosis) any doctor had ever seen. My spine had collapsed, and I was a year away from becoming paralyzed from the waist down. Corrective surgeries and procedures began immediately. Part of "the treatment" included full body traction. This procedure entailed literally being attached to a bed via two long rods through each knee, and a halo cast attached to my head with four screws in my skull. Both contraptions were connected to ropes which led to the respective ends of the bed where weights were added each day. It looked and felt like medieval torture. The process was the most extreme and unbelievable pain I have ever endured. Every half an hour or so, for those 8 excruciating long days, the muscles in my back, which had been cut during the first operation, would spasm, and my body would literally fly into the air, only to be pulled back down by the metal which had become apart of me. The second surgery lasted 14 hours, and unlike the first surgery, this one was more complex and included a massive anterior fusion (through my abdomen to the front of my spine). Actual titanium screws, a donated femur bone, along with a mass of bone, cut from half of my right hip, were utilized to create a mass to hold my spine in place. I was then left in a body cast, flat on my back, for a little over four months. During this long process I developed nerve damage in my legs and feet. This deficit has never improved, and while it's still a very real and constant challenge in my life, I am very lucky to be able to walk. This was simply a side effect that came with saving my life. Because of the extent of my condition, they were unable to place the vertebra back in it's correct position. I gained 3 inches in height, but my spine still sits fused at the most severe grade, a grade 5.
I have dealt with various health issues since, including near adrenal failure, obvious anxiety, chronic pain, and the list of the little things goes on ... But now, at the age of 29, I would gladly return to a life with just the pain and other related issues to contend with, as the last 4 years have been hard on my body, and have aged me far beyond that of my late twenties. I am now facing a life long battle with an auto immune disease which is overlapped with two other condition as well. My dream of having any children has all but disappeared. My body has betrayed me over and over, and now I am battling to keep it well enough to function at all.
I received my Bachelor's degree in psychology in 2004, and while I am a licensed counselor and reiki practitioner, I am unable to work much at all. I was on my way to graduate school, likely law school, as a result of my experience with medical malpractice and my passion for helping people whom have also been left hanging, by both their doctors and attorneys. Now, I am stuck in "survival mode." I feel like I am drowning and need assistance making it through this period of my life so that I can get healthy and go on to help others like myself. I remember as a full time student in college, others would tell me how lucky I was not to have to work while in school. I was lucky, but honestly, I would have gladly traded my situation, my condition, and all of the pain and other crap that came with it, to work and go to school simultaneously, without the pain, without having to worry about falling down or how I was going to deal with getting out of bed.
I know that it is a lot to ask of someone, especially a stranger who doesn't know me, but I feel like I need to put myself out there and ask for help. I am not lazy, nor do I, by any stretch of the imagination, enjoy being ill!!! It is far beyond the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired! I know that if I had the ability and funds to help others I would. When I received a small settlement for my malpractice 5 years ago, I tried to help a lot of people, both friends and a few strangers too. I hope that the good karma I created doing those things for others may come back to me in my time of need. I often gave too much, finding myself being worked over and used by those whom did not have a conscious, and had no problem stealing money and abusing friendships. I found myself resentful for many of those situations, but cannot go back and change it. I was recently informed by a legal malpractice attorney that not only did I get a very bad deal on my settlement (which I knew, and found out later that the attorneys did not prepare for mediation), but also, the amount that was originally asked was only a small portion of what I could have likely walked away with (would I have hired another attorney and/or pushed to go to trial). This was hard to hear considering that the amount I received was only enough to cover the medications I will need for the rest of my life. This amount was settled upon after only one affidavit was collected for mediation (my primary care physician wrote the estimate for meds.), as other professionals need more than 48 hours to respond to such requests. At the time, I was not informed of their inability to retrieve documents on time, and was then bullied into a quick settlement. I was young and naive, and did not want my father to be stuck with a 6 figure bill for the attorneys. Now I am faced with big financial issues, dwindling sources of income, and decreasing health. I am terrified and desperate for help. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story. Best to you.