I had my esophagus tear one morning and almost died; ended up in the hospital for almost a month and recovering for the next 6+ months with low financial support and a mountain of bills.
Hello, my name is Justin Neff. I live in Weaverville, CA. It’s a small rural town in the mountains of northern California. I was born here and just recently moved back 3 years ago to be closer to family after losing my dad to pancreatic cancer. ￼ In 2015 my whole life was turned upside town. I lost my dad, got married to my lovely wife, and moved into a new small town; all within 3 months.
I have plumbing experience so finding work was not too difficult. In October 2017, I had managed to bring a successful plumbing business from out of town into the county to give the residents more options for plumbing work that they need done. ￼ On the morning of August 24, 2018, my health took an unexpected turn for the worse. I was walking out to my work truck that Friday morning when I had a coughing fit. It would not stop and ended up causing me to vomit.
This caused my esophagus to tear. The lack of oxygen and the pain to every muscle in my body was immediate. Luckily I was in a city that had a better hospital than the one in my hometown, otherwise I may have not made it to surgery in time. That morning I had an emergency surgery where the surgeon repaired my esophagus and put drain tubes into the right side of my chest to get rid of the fluids that had leaked into my chest cavity. After a week in the ICU, I needed to have drain tubes put into the left side of my chest to drain out more excess fluid that was restricting my lungs from full expansion. Both surgeries put me in a lot of pain and made moving around very difficult. I still feel as if the tubes are inside me, and the breathing is getting better gradually every day with light walking exercises. ￼
I am very fortunate to have survived this awful, life changing event. Until it happened to me, I had never heard of an esophageal tear. I have a long road to recovery and a lot of follow up doctor appointments outside of town. My doctor and surgeon and labs are in a town about 50 miles away. I will be out of work for at least 6 months. This has and will take a huge toll on my wife and I financially. Due to the cost of health insurance, I could not afford to get it while I was trying to build up the business that I was responsible for. Financial assistance programs were also out of reach for my wife and I. Any donations of any amount would be greatly appreciated.
The donations would go towards the following: Medical Bills- $500,000+ Transportation Costs (Car payments, maintenance, new tires, other repairs that I can no longer do myself)- $3500 Cost of living/monthly- $2200-2800 All X-rays and other lab work is all paid for out of pocket and eats into my small amount of disability I get per month also. My wife is burdened with having to pick up a lot of the slack by having me out of commission. She has a good job, but she doesn’t make as much as we did when we were both working. I am so lucky to have such a strong woman as my wife and don’t know what I would do without her. I was always able to do a lot of work around the house, including small repairs to the house, plumbing issues, and repairs on our cars. Now that I cannot do these things, we may need to eventually hire people for such repairs and hopefully if it comes time, we can afford it. ￼ Before this epidemic happened, I was starting to get into bad habits.
Now that I have survived it and I am slowly getting better, I am trying to live life more healthy and be a better person and think of others more. I almost died, and it’s not every day that someone can say they are a survivor. I appreciate things more and look forward to when I am back to where I was physically so that I can go on hikes with wife and family, and rebuild from what has happened. There are a lot of people that need help, probably a lot of them more than I do, but any donation would be appreciated and it means a lot to me and those effected by what happened to me.
Knowing that there are people out there that don’t even know me that are willing to give donations is a great relief and a blessing, and know that you are appreciated by many. Thank you all so much for donations, love, prayers, and any other support. The help we receive from this means more than I can say.
Please share this link with others to help spread the word. Even a friendly comment is appreciated. Please check in for comments on each time I have a scan or doctor appointment.
Thanks again to all who view, share, and/or donate!!