A Nurse: On the Other Side

I’ve tried keeping this blog strictly review & book related, and this post kind of fits into this category.

Last year, I started dating this sweetheart of a guy. The sweetheart I almost dated in high school…but that bitchy ex crawled out of whatever hole she had crawled into, fangs and talons barred. We all know someone like that, right? Yeah. But through D. I have inherited a wonderful group of his friends.

One of these newly inherited friends is the lady who got me into book blogging. She had no qualms about me guest writing for her blog, The Eclectic Bookworm. She has welcomed me with open arms and helped me get started. I would not have had the opportunity, the resources or the gumption without her and her support.

high school sweethearts
high school sweethearts

Mandi is a Texan by birth, but she grew up in Pittsburgh and moved back to Texas a few years ago. Last year was a big year for her: she turned thirty, and a few short months after that she married her high school sweetheart. They met in the old-school chat rooms, came together and then life happened. They both married other people and had a child. They both realized their marriages weren’t the marriages they’d intended. Mandi was a victim of rape and domestic violence.

Mandi and her HS sweetheart both filed for divorce. They decided that they had both met the person they were supposed to be with a long time ago, and moved to Texas together. Since then, they have troubled the murky waters of child custody and unpleasant dealings with their ex’s. None of that is ever easy, even with one parent dealing with it in a new marriage. They had both! Despite that, they have tried very much to bridge their families, and they have two wonderful, adorable children.

But through all of those life events, Mandi has suffered with the pain of fibromyalgia and horrible migraines. She was diagnosed when she was 23, just when she was starting to enjoy “adult life.” Many Americans suffer from this painful condition, and there are more studies and active research into this condition that affects over 10 million in our country alone.

wedding day
wedding day

Mandi has dealt with her fibromyalgia for eight years now. She graduated college with a nursing degree and pursued her calling: helping others who can’t help themselves. She was a nurse and she loved it. Growing up she learned compassion in almost the same way as I did, and she put this to use in her field.

But last year, things took a dramatic turn for the worse. The very week of her wedding, she started getting sick. Her doctors diagnosed her with two things: a systematic auto-immune disease called sarcoidosis, and an auto-immune disease in her eyes called pars planitis. Sarcoidosis is the very disease that caused the death of the humorous Bernie Mac. Since the pars planitis is only in her eyes, the only way to definitively find out anything conclusive is to cut open her eyes. Obviously, that’s not a route she can take.

Due to the rare nature of her case of pars, there is no specific medication for treatment. Her doctors have been trying to find something that works. She went on chemotherapy drugs and steroid injections, some directly in the eyes. Methotrexate (the chemo drug) had to be discontinued because it was causing liver toxicity. After a year of being on steroid injections, they are causing cataracts to form, creating a more dire need for laser eye surgery before the year is out.

getting an eye injection
getting an eye injection

The combination of these drugs and the shockingly high dosages have taken a toll on Mandi. In August/September of last year, she was forced to leave her job as a nurse for Hospice Austin. She is now on the other side of the health equation. Since leaving her job due to these mounting medical reasons, she could no longer afford her skyrocketing healthcare coverage. She cannot qualify for Medicaid to alleviate some of the medical bills. Her husband is diligently working two jobs to hold down the fort, and neither of them offer health insurance.

Thankfully, Mandi had some help from her parents throughout this past year. But the clock keeps ticking, she’s not getting substantially better and the money is running out. Her medications and dosages have changed, she’s put on a lot of weight due to the medications and her relationships and marriage are strained. Just a few weeks ago she was in the emergency room twice within the span of a few days’ time, with over $3,000 in those bills alone.  She is missing out on other aspects of her life due to the steadily mounting medical bills and her declining health.

Mandi's beautiful family
Mandi’s beautiful family

Mandi started doing serious book blogging as a hobby not long after leaving her job. Often she reads late into the night and early morning hours and posts during  that time from her bed, due to her insomnia. Once the new year rang in and she started feeling a little better, she got on board as a writer for Examiner.com. Her focus is on gun rights, issues, laws and anything gun-related in Texas. Although this is supplying her with a little income and she can do it from home, it is not even a drop in the bucket. She gets paid based on the traffic to her articles and through the ads that Examiner uses, *if* readers click on the ads. She is currently debating about obtaining a part-time job once she knows how her new medications will affect her. But even then, she won’t be able to drive. It would need to be a flexible job, and we all know it is like finding a needle in the haystack to find a flexible PT position.

post eye injection
post eye injection

After much deliberation and family strife, Mandi has created a GoFundMe page to try to reduce her medical debt. It has not been a well-received idea from her family, but she is running out of options. Due to all of the medical bills, other bills are also mounting. She is also owed over $8,000 in child support and medical bills for her daughter. She is not sure how long she and her family will be able to stay in the apartment her daughter calls home.

post eye injection
post eye injection

I implore all of my subscribers, followers and readers to please share this post on all of your social media sites and blogs. It will take the kindness of strangers to help Mandi. Please, go donate something, even $5, to help Mandi. Go to her GoFundMe page. Anything will help in her desperate time of need.

To find out more about Mandi, her medical battles and her day-to-day struggles and joys, keep up with her on her True Life Is Stranger Than Fiction blog.

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