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About a year ago, I began to have some digestive problems. At first it wasn’t very consistent, and I dismissed it as a just a virus or heartburn or some other mundane issue. However, these symptoms kept getting worse and more frequent. I sought help from my doctor. He suspected gall bladder disease and ordered some blood work and a sonogram to look for gall bladder or other abdominal issues.

These tests were all negative for any problems so I was referred to a gastroenterology department. Several additional tests (CAT scan, Endoscopy, and HIDA Scan plus additional blood work) were all inconclusive, yet my symptoms continued to worsen. I had taken a leave of absence from my part time job to focus on my full time job as a counselor.

However, my health continued to decline, and I started to miss a significant amount of work due to being violently ill and in a lot of pain. Between missing work and frequent copays for doctor visits, I fell behind on a lot of bills, in addition to racking up a lot of additional medical bills. Given that my symptoms persisted, I had my gall bladder removed in July.

To top it all off, due to frequent absences and having a panic attack upon returning to work after surgery, I lost my job. Between illness, being unable to keep much food down (I lost 30 lbs due to this), isolation, surgery, anesthesia, and other personal factors, my mental health was very taxed, and I was having severe anxiety issues. I also have been declined unemployment.

My financial situation is desperate and I am really struggling. I have been fortunate enough to get some help from family and friends, but still face possible eviction as well as defaulting on a lot of bills. I am looking for work and will begin donating plasma again as long as I am eligible, and am also appealing my unemployment denial, but I need help to stay afloat.

I am a single parent of a talented 13 year old son, whose mother passed away in 2014. We have been through a lot together and worked hard to get where we are today, and I fear that without help, we stand to lose a lot of what we have achieved in the last few years.

Please do whatever you can to help, and please share this with others. I am grateful for the support that I receive and always pay it forward when I am able.