UPDATE AS OF 11/8/2023:

On Monday, October 30th, 2023, Debbie went in for scans to see if there had been any improvements on the two lesions on her spinal cord that had caused her initial paralization in November of last year. At that time, it was discovered that due to severe osteoporosis caused by steroids intended to assist in her recovery, instead the steroids caused her bones to become extremely brittle and her T11 and T12 vertebras (middle of back) to be completely crushed as well as several L vertebras (from the middle of the back and down) to be damaged. On Wednesday, November 1st she went in for a 7–8 hour surgery where they had to repair the spine which included removing bone fragments and debris around the T11 and T12s and replace the vertebras with a cage like device that acts like a vertebra. Thankfully no additional damage was found to her spinal cord. A stabilization of the spine was also performed during surgery that included inserting pins and rods in her back to prevent further damage. In addition, the doctors put a type of coating on the spine to strengthen it and help in her recovery.


As of right now she is still hospitalized as the doctors are still evaluating her. They have a PT/OT team also working with her as she learns to roll to sit up without bending and monitoring her incisions from the surgery as well as performing swallow tests.


There is a lot involved with her care and recovery at this point. The focus right now is to get her accepted into Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, Georgia for rehabilitation. Tony and his sister have spent extensive time on the phone between the hospital, doctors and the Shepherd Spinal to work through the red tape to get her accepted. It is IMPERATIVE for her to be accepted into this rehab facility in order for her to get the proper care she needs, gain independence, heal properly and give her a chance at walking again.


Should she be accepted into this rehab facility their insurance will not cover it. They are looking into all possible avenues to help assist with the cost of this rehab facility as well as her long-term care. 


As you can imagine, Debbie and Tony are incurring significant costs through all of this and are in need of any financial assistance you can offer. Three of their four sons are still at home and in school, and they are juggling a lot right now. If you are unable to assist financially, please pray for Debbie's healing, Tony and the boys and what they have ahead.


NOVEMBER 2022

Debbie was hospitalized on Monday, November 21st, 2022 after a few weeks of not feeling well. She had went to the ER the weekend before and was sent home because the Drs couldn’t find the cause of the pain in her lower back, hip and head. 

 

By Monday night she was in such excruciating pain that her husband, Tony had to rush her to the ER. By the time they had arrived and got her to an ER bed, she had lost all control of her legs, by Tuesday afternoon she had no feeling from the waist down.

 

Debbie has been hospitalized for almost three weeks and paralyzed from the waist down for the entirety of the stay.

 

She’s been seen by two different teams of neurologists, had multiple MRIs, spinal taps and bloodwork to nail down an official diagnosis and cause for this.

 

With all of the tests and treatments she’s been given over these past few weeks, nothing was providing the results the Drs had hoped for. So the Drs went straight to work with 8 plasma transfusions and 5 IVig doses as well as numerous other treatments to try and control the immune system and her condition from worsening.

 

She has been receiving OT and PT to help her sit up and learn self-care while balancing as well, which has been difficult at times due to the lack of feeling in the abdominal area. 

 

As of Friday, December 9th the Drs were finally able to rule out Guillain-Barre, Multiple Sclerosis and ruled out all viruses. They determined that the auto-immune disease Sjorgen attacked her nervous system, targeting her spine. This created three lesions in the spine and after multiple plasma treatments nothing worked to begin full healing. With an official diagnosis of Sjorgens the Drs have determined to put her on an immune suppressant drug that will help prevent the immune system from continuing to attack the nervous system. 

 

The Drs have also increased her steroid treatments to get the inflammation in her spine to go down.

 

They will be moving her to a rehabilitation center in the next couple of days as they believe this is the best step forward in allowing her body more stimulation to nerves. The quicker they are stimulated then the quicker they will wake up. 

 

There will be a rheumatologist team that will begin working with her more at the rehab facility and they anticipate her to be there around 10-14 days. 

 

At this time, they do not know how long it will be for her to regain the use of her legs. Once she does, she will have several months of rehab and physical therapy to learn how to walk again.

 

At this time, Tony is beginning prepare for her to come home in a wheelchair and that means installing a ramp and making the home handicap accessible.

 

Debbie and Tony have four sons, their oldest left for the Navy the night Debbie was taken to the ER and hospitalized. Their three younger sons still at home are 17, 14, and 10. As you can imagine it has been difficult on all of them with Debbie not being home as well as the loss of her income.

 

Debbie does not have short term disability benefits available to her and even though she is under Tony’s health insurance plan, the financial impact with medical care, loss of income, the long term rehab and therapy needs; not to mention the money it will take to make the home handicap accessible is quite significant. 

 

Tony has been managing his full time job, hospital visits and care for the boys while she’s been hospitalized and have had his parents to help at home. 

 

Debbie and Tony have shown a great strength in the Lord throughout all of this and are hesitant to ask for any financial assistance. So we as their family members, have put together this fundraiser with their permission to try and offset the costs they will have ahead for them.

 

Please consider giving to this amazing family and if you’re not able to then please add them to your prayers, as we know that is the one thing that is sustaining them through this all!