Thursday, June 03, 2010

Brandy's Battle, help for a friend in need



*update direct link to the LIVE 
    auction is HERE


If you have been here recently you may of noticed a special button on the right sidebar. 
That is a special online friend of mine
She has been through a horrible couple of months that was led by a year of uncertainty of what whats going wrong with her body. This is small bit of her story and information about a live auction to help raise funds to help Brandy and her family, as well as start a public platform for awareness for health and non-insurance issues.


Brandy is a 35 year old mom of 3 beautiful little girls. Her husband owns his own construction business and she works from home as a photographer, graphic designer and web host. She is also an accomplished blogger at Not So Average Mama
Just over 4 weeks ago Brandy began to feel extremely unwell and her stomach suddenly expanded to the point where it looked like she was 8 months pregnant. This was added to a whole bunch of other symptoms that had been already raging through her body already from arm and hand pain to dizziness and disorientation to not being able to eat and having trouble breathing, uncontrollable head jerking and slurred speech to name a few. She had already been to many doctors who ordered many tests and offered many more diagnoses and medicines, but nothing worked and more problems kept occurring. She had been paying for all of this out of pocket, as she has no private medical insurance. This is due to the fact that being self employed and no help from a corporate company they just could not afford insurance for their family. Unfortunately from all these strange problems see has been unable to work herself. Brandy had been paying out of pocket to see the specialist after specialist and for the countless tests until they could not pay anymore. Brandy had already racked up over $12,000.00 in bills and then thing turned worse.


                     {Brandy's belly before surgery}


                                                              Unable to keep any food down, vomiting, in in extreme pain and having trouble breathing she finally consented to go into the ER at a local Texas Hospital.  

At the ER, they ran several blood tests and did a dry Cat Scan {She is allergic to the contrast media normally used to detect blood flow paths}. Imagine her surprise and devastation when she was told that she has a mass the size of a volley ball on her left ovary and by the look of it was likely cancerous. They gave her a referral for a gynecological oncologist, then they cut her loose. Yes they sent her home!  
Home, without any real treatment. Just a piece of paper with a doctor’s name on it and informational sheets about cancer.
WHY? Because she has no insurance. 
The next day at home she calls the number provided for the gynecological oncologist she needs to see in order to be evaluated for the surgery. Brandy is told it will likely cost around $500 and that has to be paid upfront. Brandy cannot get any kind of help for the cost of the surgery, she has been denied all state help for her medical expenses. Texas does not have any help for their uninsured residents. She was told that for a family of 5 to qualify for medical assistance, they need to make $700 per month or less!! She needed this mass out of her NOW. It is growing at an alarming rate. The ER doctor also told her that a complete hysterectomy could be necessary. And now she can not go to the oncologist as she does not have $500. Brandy was trying hard to keep her composure, since they told her the tumor was approximately the size of a volley ball, Brandy and friend Shan 'named' it Spike. It became Brandy's, Shan's and family's vow to get Spike out of Brandy!


Brandy made phone calls all over as many friends did trying to find any help, and she was having a harder time breathing and keeping any food down more each day. Plus try to still take care of her girls and household. Her parents drove over 6 hours to come to her aide to help with the girls. Her father was just recently released from cancer treatment himself and released to ride in the car. The next day after her parents got their they went to another emergency room, found and recommend from all the phone calls that everyone made that this hospital most likely would not turn her away. They excepted her into the ER and after a long wait and another set of tests and scans she was told they would be keeping her and she needed surgery as soon as it could be arranged. That was the next morning 5/20/2010. 
The surgery was long. The tumor had wrapped itself around her ovary and some organs pushing everything up and out of place, which what was causing the breathing problems and not being able to keep anything down. But it was not the size of a volley ball. It was bigger, the size of a basketball and had all the looks and ear-marks that it most likely was cancerous. But it was out! She had a calming peace at least it was finally out of her body and hopefully they got it all and it was not growing anymore. Now it was time for recovery and the long waiting game from the lab if it was or not cancer. 

Brandy is amazing. She kept her composure and was brave throughout. A lot more than I could of been in this situation! Brandy has kept an upbeat attitude even texting her friends and family from her cell phone in her hospital room. Joking and telling tales of some funny hallucinations from all the drugs they had her on. Once back from the operating room, in true Brandy fashion, she asked for her camera!
Since it is one of her loves and she does beautiful work, she thought about having it near by to help her document some of her journey. She even posted a photo of her belly scar that she and friend Shan from Last Shreds Of Sanity (who has been busy putting all of this information together for friends and family and  how you can help) named Fraken Belly.



We know that whatever medical fees Brandy has and will incur will be a difficult burden on her and her family. This is where you can come in.

We’d like to ask that you consider supporting an online auction for Brandy’s Battle in any way you can. If you’d like to help by donating an item to be auctioned off – or whether your organization would want to support the auction in some way – or whether you yourself as an individual would like to lend a hand, or bid on any of the items, every little bit helps.  If you can’t donate an item to auction or a monetary gift, just raising awareness of Brandy’s Battle on your Facebook or Twitter (#BrandysBattle) would be a big help. You can contact us by using the contact form here.

The live auction for Brandy's Battle will be held this weekend starting at 9a.m. PST on Friday June 4th at  http://brandysbattle.com/blog
All items will be auctioned off in groups of similar items. All bidding will start at 1/2 retail price. The highest bid at the end of the allotted time will win the item. Bidder will have a specified amount of time to send the money via paypal or the item will go to the next highest bidder.

Auction will run until the week-end is over or we run out of items. Whichever comes first. :) We still are excepting donations, so if you can still help please contact us here. Donations do not have to fit in the categories we have below, this is just a list of what we have so far. We appreciate any help you can offer. 

You can bid on the items we will have in the auction or you can donate directly here.
  {pay-pal}
Brandy has a long recovery ahead, and many more doctor visits. And if we get to many for this weekend we will do it again!

Our categories so far are:

Blog Or Web Design Services
AD SPACE {Blog}
BOOKS
Baby Clothes/Accessories
Children's Toys
GIFT CERTS
Stuff For MOMS
Miscellaneous/Electronics
 

Log in and Bid! 
PLEASE tweet about this fundraiser until your little fingers bleed! Post it on your blog or facebook! We need to raise buttloads of cash for Brandy.
Help get the word out to help, donate or bid! Your heart will feel happier just knowing you are a nice human-being coming to the aid of another.



You can read more about Brandy and her battle on any of the links above and through her Brandy's Battle facebook page  and through the blog set up for information and where the bidding will be Brandysbattle.com



 Thank you for taking the time to read, 
and if you can help in any way.



This week Brandy had an appointment with her surgeon who told her that "Spike" does not look to be cancerous. It is still unknown how or what caused it to grow so rapidly and it is also not considered to have caused all the physical problems she is experiencing. Brandy is still keeping her spirits high and using a positive outlook to fight to become healthy for herself and family soon!

3 comments:

  1. EXCELLENT post, Faythe! Thank you! I will get this added to the widget we have as well. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is way too common. People who can't afford family heath insurance, a serious health issue turn up and the callous and content people spread the fear of "socialize medicine." Pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Faythe, you are a good friend

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping and reading today.
Comments are always welcome :)