Help Denice Ellenberger and her family

Campaign Created by: David Jaime

The funds from this campaign will be received by David Jaime.

Goal: USD $10,000
Raised: USD $ 9,708

For those who don’t know Denice, she’s one of the most caring people I know. She always has a smile on her face and she brightens any room she walks into. She puts others above herself and would never ask for help, but she is in desperate need of our help! Above all else, she needs prayer for healing and a quick recovery but she could also use some financial help.

A few weeks ago Denice was hospitalized for an emergency gallbladder removal surgery due to a bile duct obstruction. Her gallbladder was 3 times the size it should have been. A surgery that should have taken 45mins and been out-patient, ended up a 2 hour surgery and resulted in a 5 day hospital stay.

While the doctors were optimistic that everything had been fixed, she returned to the hospital a week after being discharged for a follow up appointment in tremendous pain and with an oozing incision. They discovered her body had been leaking bile into her abdomen and was causing stress on her organs and surrounding tissue.

After consulting with multiple surgeons it was determined a second surgery was vital. On the 18th of March they did a complicated and invasive surgery involving 3 different surgical teams. Doctors put two stints in her bile duct drainage line (internal) and two drainage tubes on the left & right side of her body (external). During surgery they removed 3 liters of bile!

A couple of nights ago, Denice’s blood pressure dropped dangerously low and she had to be rushed to the ICU. Because her organs had been sitting in so much bile for so long, there was damage and some of her organs were not functioning properly.

She’s still in the ICU and is very sick. The doctors are having trouble determining what is exactly wrong with her.

Denice’s family (her parents, her sister, and her extended family) live 1 1/2 hours from where Denice has been hospitalized. Denice’s mom stayed in a hotel for few nights when Denice was readmitted a few days ago. But as it became clear that Denice could be in the hospital for awhile, we decided it would be more economical for her mom to stay in an airbnb.

While Denice has good medical insurance there will be some co-pays (still unknown how much they will be) for the ambulance ride and some of the other procedures. Plus Denice is unable to work and while she will be able to collect disability, it won’t be 100% and Denice’s parents have already incurred a lot of cost to stay near the hospital, as you can imagine.

We are seeking to raise money to help Denice’s family offset the costs of being with her while she is in the hospital (we just spent $700 for 7 nights at an airbnb close to the hospital) as well as to help Denice cover extra medical bills that she will eventually be hit with.

If you’ve ever been through this type of thing, or have had the pleasure of knowing Denice, please consider giving during this difficult time as we rally around her!


Update #9
June 28, 2022
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It is with a very heart that I report that on Saturday, June 25th Denice passed away. I'm sorry for the lack of updates over the last couple of months. Over the last 100+ plus days it has been a roller coaster with Denice's health. At one point, about a month ago, she was about to be released to rehabilitation but then her body took a turn for worse and she was not able to leave Mayo. Over the last 2 weeks she took a rapid decline and at the end of last week the doctors informed Denice and her family that there was nothing more they could do for her. She passed away shortly thereafter.

A memorial will be held on Friday, July 1st, 2022 at 3 PM at:
Reece Funeral Home
607 E Second St.
Ottumwa, IA 52501

Reception to follow at a family home

For those that have given so generously to this fund, Denice's family thanks you so much! With the money that was raised, it allowed Denice's parents to be with Denice EVERY day that she was in the hospital. We were able to pay for them to stay at airbnbs, hotels, extended stays, and to even help a little with food and other expenses. Denice was very aware of everyone's generosity and expressed so many times that through all of this struggle she needed her parents WITH her, and each of you helped make that happen! So thank you!!!

Any money that is donated moving forward will go towards Denice's parents to help them with all the extra expenses that they have incurred in the last many months and any expenses that might still arise.

Update #8
April 15, 2022
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From Denice's mom:

"Denice is out of surgery (it took over 4 hours) and in recovery. They were unable to get the stints. They tried going in a couple of different ways to get them. They did remove the tube, closed up the holes in her stomach and removed a lot of the fluid. The surgeon said we were going to have to watch her closely for the next couple of days. I guess it's a wait and see thing. The stints should be okay for now but may cause her some trouble later on. Thank you guys for your prayers. Love you very much"

Update #7
April 15, 2022
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Sorry for the lack of updates on Denice. I have been traveling and it has been hard to sit down and summarize what’s been going on.

It has been a pretty rough week for Denice over all. She had an infection in an abscess in her abdomen and it was continuing to deteriorate her muscles and tissue, which was keeping her weak and in a lot of pain. The infection was also causing her blood pressure to run low and her temperature to be up and down. She has been on SIX different antibiotics!

Through all of this last week they have been trying to figure out where fluid in her abdomen was coming from and what was causing it. They have been running a myriad of tests and think they have pin pointed the problem. Denice is scheduled for another surgery at approximately 8 am Friday (the 15th). I’m not 100% what the surgery is going to entail but I think they will be removing the stints, the tube, and the balloon and closing her stomach and draining the fluid off the gut. The hope is that it will bring Denice tremendous pain relief and be one step closer to recovery.
They will continue to monitor her next week and continue physical therapy as she is able.  Then they will determine the next course of action after that. Please continue to pray for healing for Denice, that the infections would be gone, that the pain would be gone, and that she would be able to continue to regain strength.

Updated Financial Goal
March 30, 2022
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As Denice's time in the hospital drags on, we went ahead and increased the goal of what we are trying to raise for her and her family. Thankfully she had a lot of PTO built up but that is probably going to run out soon. Friends are working to get her qualified for disability but it is a lengthy process. And once she qualifies she'll only be drawing 75% of her salary. Also, Denice's mom had to take off of work for a few days last week and is taking this entire week off (all unpaid) to be at the hospital with Denice. All that to say there are/will be lots of needs! Thanks again to all that have given so generously!

Update #5
March 30, 2022
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Denice got moved into progressive care (out of ICU) last night around 5 PM. She’s doing well and remains stable. She still has two drains on her left side and she is still receiving antibiotics through a drip.

Bobbie (her sister) spoke to Denice this morning and her voice is getting stronger and stronger every day! Her migraine is gone thank goodness. She’s working with the physical therapist and was able to get out of the bed and stand today. Not for very long and she still very weak and her lower extremities are very swollen. All in all she is still doing much better than she was!

Thanks for your continued prayers! And a huge thanks to all of those who have contributed financially

Update #4
March 28, 2022
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Update from Bobbie (Denice\'s sister) late on Sunday night (March 27th): Denice had a good day! She managed to stay awake longer today than she has the entire time I’ve been there. She was still a little confused and was able to at least talk about it. Basically lucid enough to explain how strange it is to look at the same thing every day and not know exactly where you are or who’s going to be with you or if you’re alone. She was taken off of both blood pressure medication and remained stable all day without it. She is still on four different antibiotics for all the bacterias found and the abscess continues to drain a lot of fluid though it is tapering off. They took the tube out of her nose and she was able to try swallowing on her own. She did well and was allowed to drink some water. She did well with that also and by this evening was authorized for a clear fluid diet. She ate an Italian ice and said it was the best food she’s ever had in her entire life!\"😂\" she did sleep a lot in the afternoon but again was awake for a long time in the morning and then again in the evening. She is certainly not out of the woods as stated by the surgeon but she is trending in the right direction! God continues to answer our prayers!!!!

Update #3
March 27, 2022
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Sorry for the lack of updates over the last many days. There was some technical issues with the website and I\'ve had a really busy last few days.

On Friday Denice took a turn for the worse. When they replaced one of her drainage tubes, they found 3 different bacteria on it and had to start treating her with 3 more antibiotics. Her heart rate was all over the place that day, they had to drain an abscess in her abdomen, and they had to give her multiple blood transfusions. She had not been lucid for a couple of days. By the end of Friday she was in Sepsis (infections had spread through her entire bloodstream) and there was talk of possibly having to put her on dialysis.

But with many people praying all over the world by Saturday morning there was marked improvement! She was still in bad shape & in Sepsis but important numbers were improving.

By the end of Saturday, Bobbie (Denice\'s sister) reported:

\"Denice had been on two blood pressure medication’s that they were able to take down to one today. They are monitoring her blood pressure to make sure it remains stable and does not drop too low again. Heart rate has slowed down to a good number.\" And she was more awake then Bobbie had seen her days and some of her spunky self was returning.

Sunday morning Bobbie reported that \"She is more alert everyday. The goal for today is to have her sit in a chair briefly. Then, meet with the speech therapist to check on her swallowing so they can take out the tube in her nose and she can have some water or juice!\"

And a little bit ago (by early Sunday afternoon), Bobbie shared \"guess who’s awake and having an entire conversation!! She actually has some color in her cheeks today. They were able to remove the other blood pressure medication and her blood pressure is remaining stable on its own. Her temperature and heart rate are good. Her Lactic level is just over two so that’s not too bad. They took the tube out of her nose and she was allowed to have clear fluids! They still have the two drains in on the left and the one is still getting quite a bit of fluid. There’s a lot of lead with the fluid so they did give her another transfusion.\"

Thanks for your continued prayers! Please keep them up!

Also, thanks to all that have given so generously to help Denice & her family through this difficult time! We extended the airbnb for another week. Bobbie and Denice\'s mom having been rotating days at the hospital and the airbnb has been a huge help for them to have a place to stay and to recharge each night!

Update #2
March 23, 2022
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Update on Denice from her sister. \"The doctor said her color looks better today and her kidneys are almost fully functioning. The input and output of her kidneys are good. Her liver is stable. He said she is getting better but it’s slow. She’s very tired today and has been sleeping a lot this morning.\"

Please continue to pray for her speedy recovery! Also, thanks to those that have given towards her expenses! It is a great blessing to Denice and her family.

Update #1
March 22, 2022
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Denice\'s sister, Bobbie, just spoke with the doctor... \"he said that today has been a good day. Denice is still very weak but has been able to get up and down three times so far. Literally just down into a chair and up into the bed. They’re trying to get her sitting up a little more. They did say that originally she had gone into shock and that she was septic. But yesterday and today her numbers were better & her kidneys are producing more but her liver is still not functioning the way it should. Right now that would be the main concern. She still leaking badly from one of her incisions and they are still getting a significant amount of fluid out of her abdomen. He also said to be prepared for changes good or bad as anything can happen right now.\"


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