Mar 27, 2017

Update on Jilly

It's amazing to me what a little food can do for you. This week they brought my TPN which is basically my food put through an IV. The Picc line goes in my upper arm and straight to my heart more or less. It pumps my food into my 24/7. I have a bad that carries my food and all my picc supplies. That bag goes with me everywhere, and if I'm being honest, I'm really sick of it. It's okay though because it's keeping me alive and that's all that matters right now.

Thank you to all of you for your help and support with my GoFundMe campaign. I have some awesome news to update you. We'll be changing the number to just cover the surgery right now. Up until today we were having to pay out of pocket for my TPN. The insurance contacted my doctor this week and said that they would now be covering my TPN. I can't tell how you HUGE that is! It was costing $3700 a day, and to have that weight lifted is amazing! Now, we'll just have to raise $25,000 for my surgery. It still feels like a HUGE number, but because of your generosity and support, I know we'll get there!

The surgery is scheduled for April 3rd. Until that time I'm not able to have anymore visitors because of my picc. They want it to stay as sanitary as possible inside our little home, so people aren't able to come over especially if they've been sick. My nurses and family are about all that are allowed at the moment. 

So many of you have sent gifts, texts, meals, phone calls, and so much more, and I can't thank you enough. I don't always respond to every text because life gets in the way, but please know how much they mean to me and how appreciative I am for all your love and support. I look forward to getting better so I can be with all of you again.

Dave and I just want to tell you all how touched and humbled we are by all your love. The first time we went through this, we often felt alone. This time it has been so different. We truly can't thank you enough, or tell you how humbling it is to feel of all your love. We're so very blessed to have each of you.

Thank you for all your prayers. I feel them. God sends me strength everyday and I can't express what that means to me. I know without you I wouldn't be able to keep going, so thank you for your prayers in my behalf. It's a truly touching experience.

I'll make sure to keep each of you updated on how things are going. Here's the link to my GoFundMe in case any of you missed it before: Help Jilly Strasburg Live
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Mar 19, 2017

Help Jilly Strasburg Live

I never thought I'd be writing a post like this again. Some of you know a little bit about what I'm going to share today through my Facebook or Instagram posts, but now you'll know the full story. For those of you that haven't followed my insta or FB, I've been having some health issues. I've been having the same health struggles I had 8 years ago at this exact same time. I got married 8 years ago on March 14, 2009, and by the end of March I was in the hospital unable to eat or drink anything. Unfortunately I feel like I'm living in a deja vu world because it's all happening again. And again, they don't know why.

Most of you know that I had gastric bypass in 2005. I had amazing results and never had any complications until 2009. A month after I got married, I was rushed into the ER with a bowel obstruction. From there I went the next year being unable to eat anything. When I say anything, I literally mean anything. I started at 180lbs. and within 1 year I weighed 127lbs. I was being kept alive by an IV.

In April of 2010 a doctor did a surgery that had never been done before and gave me a 10% chance of living through it. Well, not only did I live through it, but I thrived. They found that 6 feet of my small bowel had twisted and died. Once they cut that out, I could finally eat. It was amazing to say the least. Ever since then though, I've had to go in for an endoscopy every 2 months to have the opening of my stomach that leads into my small bowel, stretched. It makes it stay open so I can eat. It's worked great for the last 8 years. It's worked great until about 3 months ago.

For the last 3 months I've been slowly unable to eat. It started with big things at first, and now I'm unable to keep any food down. I can still keep liquid at times, but mainly IV's are keeping me alive. I've dropped down to 114lbs. when I started at 155. They've done an endoscopy once a week for over 2 months now, but nothing has helped. My stomach just won't stay open, and food isn't moving through. The next step from here is surgery. 

I'm terrified of surgery for a lot of reasons. When they initially did a bowel resection in 2009, it made everything worse. It's when things started to get really bad. It's what lead to them doing 12 surgeries in 1 year. It was one of the hardest years of my life, but I had obviously forgotten how mentally, physically, and emotionally draining, it truly is. These past few months have been hell. I throw up between 20-30x a day. I keep losing weight no matter what I do. I'm more dehydrated than I thought anyone could be, and I'm more exhausted than I've felt in a long time. It's okay though, because I'm alive. As long as God will keep letting me open my eyes, I'll keep fighting. I can deal with my crap, it's just watching those around me suffer, that make this so hard.

I forgot how emotional people get when they see someone they love, dying. Some of my family members saw me for the 1st time since December yesterday, and they broke down into tears. Every time someone see's me that hasn't seen me in awhile gets this look that only shock brings on. I'm starting to get used to it, but it still scares the hell out of me every time I see it. I haven't gotten use to people hugging me, and breaking down into tears because they can feel my bones poking out. You see, when you're sick, you get used to the way you look. You get used to being skin and bones, and not noticing when you've lost another 5lbs. All you notice is that your size 0 clothes are no longer fitting, and there's not anything else you can do. More than anything though, I forgot how draining it is on my sweet husband. I tell him all the time that I wouldn't trade places with him. I mean it too. I don't think I could sit back and watch him die. He's the strongest person I know for this, and so many other reasons.

Last night I was running to the bathroom to throw up, when I couldn't hold it any longer. I threw up in the hallway. I collapsed to the ground, and cried. I was crying out of frustration, anger, and because I was so weak. Without me even hearing him, he scooped me right up into his arms. He cradled me, took me to the bathroom to clean me up, and then picked me back up and carried me to bed. He does this all the time. It's the norm for Dave now to hold my hair back while I vomit, hug me in a giant bear hug as I cry when I'm done, and he's constantly cleaning out my "throw up bowl." I don't know how I got so lucky to have him, but I'm so grateful he's mine. I couldn't fight this without him.

So what are we supposed to do is what I'm sure you're asking yourself. We're asking ourselves the same thing. The question of, "What do we do now?" is a constant theme in my home. It looks like our next step is surgery. We've tried everything else we can think of, but it looks like we have to start taking drastic measures because I keep getting thinner, and weaker, with each passing day. The dilemma is the same as last time. The doctor doesn't know what's going on because from what he can tell, everything should be working. That means it'll be another exploratory surgery. One where we hope we can find the problem, and figure all this out. Until I can pay for that surgery, I'll just keep living by the grace of the IV that gives me enough fluid to survive each day, but not much more.

I'm letting you all know this because I need to ask for your help. Surgery, my IV therapy, my endoscopies, and frequent hospital visits are costing more than my insurance will cover, and more than I have. We've done everything we can, and we're doing our best, but it seems like our best just isn't good enough. The hospitals want to be paid in advance before they work on me because of my situation and because of the bill I've already run up. 

This is something we never thought we'd have to do again, but we're once more asking for your compassion, and grace. Asking for help is something that doesn't come naturally to most people, and as badly as I wish I could afford all my medical treatment, there's just no way. Our family has helped so much, but they've done all they can. For me to get the help I need and to continue living, we have to ask for help from strangers. 

Dave and I have set up a "Go Fund Me" account to help cover the costs of my medical treatments and surgery (April 3rd) in the fight to help me live. Anything you can give is appreciated. If all you can give is prayers and good thoughts, then we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for that. We understand that money is tight for a lot of people, and that most of us just don't have any extra to give, but if you could help us cover the medical costs of my upcoming surgery(ies) we'd be so grateful.

The last time we went through this ordeal we asked for $25,000 which we were so lucky to raise. Your kindness meant more to us than you'll ever know. We learned from that experience that the surgery actually cost a little over $65,000. That wasn't including the hospital stays etc. which is why I make a monthly payment to the hospital, and probably will for the rest of my life. That's okay though, because I'm alive. As long as I keep getting to wake up each day, I'll try my hardest to not get frustrated by things that are out of my control. 

This time we are asking your help to raise $49,000 to cover all the costs that it will take to cover my journey back to health. However much you can give is so appreciated, and we can't thank you enough.

Dave and I know we'll get through this, just like last time, but in the meantime we'd be so grateful for your good thoughts, prayers, good energy, love and light, etc. We just can't do this alone, so all the help we can get is so appreciated. Here is the link to our Go Fund Me page:
Jilly's Go Fund Me 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below. Thank you again for all your love and support during this really hard time. 
All our love,
Jilly and Dave Strasburg