Unless you are a freshman at Badass Geek University, you all are probably well aware of my various neurological problems, and the fact that I may have a brain tumor. If this is all news to you, I urge you to follow the links I provided and get yourself up to speed so you're not confused by the rest of this. I'm going to briefly run down the symptoms I've been dealing with as a refresher, so if you don't want to follow the links you don't have to. Since June 2007, I've had problems with the following:
- Involuntary leg and arm movements
- Short-term memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Vision impairment
- Decrease in motor skills
While there is no definitive cause to the symptoms I'm having, my neurologist (a Harvard professor and doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston) speculates that it is due to an extra piece of grey matter in my brain, known as Grey Matter Heterotopia. This is the same piece that they speculate may be a tumor, but it is so far down into my brain that they won't know for sure without surgery. This "extra brain" is on the section of the brain that, among other things, controls motor functions.
Since they began in June 2007, my symptoms have progressively worsened. I started out with just the leg/arm movements while sleeping, and the movements continue to occur while sleeping 95% of the time. The quality of the sleep I get is very poor. I have gradually gained the other symptoms I mentioned over the past year and a half, most recently some dystonia in the muscles in my hands, arms, and legs. This means the muscles get more fatigued and have less endurance than they previously had. None of this greatly impacts my day to day life right now, but still prohibits me from functioning as my "pre-June 2007" self had.
Despite having health insurance, large parts the multiple visits to my neurologist and various testing that I have had done hasn't been covered, leaving me with some pretty hefty medical bills that don't fit into our budget. I've asked the hospital for financial assistance, but since I am not a Massachusetts resident they can't help me. I have to make payments on these bills to continue to be seen at the hospital, but I can't afford even the minimum amount. Combine that financial stress with the cost of actually making the trip down there and back (whether driving or taking the train, it's still almost $100 round trip), and we're at the point where we have to choose which bills we can pay, and which one's we can't. There is no availability for overtime where The Boss works, I can physically can't work any more hours at my job.
All that said, I have another appointment with my doctor in Boston in a couple of weeks. I don't think I need to say how important it is that I go, as there are lots of things to discuss, including the results of a sleep study I had done in September. I'm confident that they are going to send me home with some medications to try, to see if anything can control what I have going on.
In preparation for the trip down this month, The Boss and I took a look at our finances. No amount of budgetary gymnastics that we tried is yielding any extra money.
Here is where the beseeching that I mentioned in the title of this post comes in.
Some of you may have noticed that I've placed a Donate button over on the sidebar. I'm not asking for your money, but if you want to help and can do so without jeopardizing yourself, The Boss and I would be immensely appreciative. With any donations, I'll offer my blog and/or web design services to the best of my knowledge and abilities, or a matted picture from my photography store.
I know that money is tight for a lot of people, and I feel horrible for even thinking about writing this knowing there are families in worse situations than I am in, but I wouldn't do it unless I felt I had to. I hate asking for help, regardless of who it's from, but I figured that this was worth a shot.
If anyone has any questions about anything here, don't be afraid to ask.
I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend!