I have a story for everyone.
My Mom is a mutant.
To be specific, she has a disorder called Factor V Laiden Thrombophilia (same as me *waves*), a genetic mutation that causes abnormal clotting of the blood. When treated appropriately (I can never take birth control, I’ll develop complications if I ever get pregnant if I’m not careful, and in situations such as long flights I have to make sure to move around as often as possible), it’s manageable.
There’s always a very real sense of danger, however. See, blood clots can form anywhere in the body, and *move* anywhere if not caught quickly enough. If it moves to the heart or the brain, you’re screwed, plain and simple. Even if it doesn’t, and it just stays in your leg and eventually goes away, for example, it leaves damage that is often irreparable.
Fifteen years ago, when my Mom was pregnant with my youngest sister and what would have been her twin, she developed a bloodclot in her left leg. It was late enough in her term that attempting to get rid of it would have meant terminating the pregnancy, and my Mom, after asking if she would die from it and being told no, decided to not go through with the procedure. She lost one of the twins, gave birth to my baby sister, and ever since then has lived with a disability that puts her in constant pain.
The first time I saw her with her bad leg, it was when I was six-years-old. She came home with my little sister–I had to hold her since my Mom needed crutches to get around. She screamed the entire time she walked down the hallway to her room. It hurt her that badly. I’ve never felt more helpless in my entire life. The sound of her crying like that has never ever left me.
The best way to describe the physical atttributes of her leg would be like taking a hot knife and stripping off all the skin of your lower leg. Among the symptoms she’s had for over a decade include: swelling to the point that she’s torn pants, weeping–which means the wound on her leg that never goes away because of the poor bloodflow leaks fluid–to the point that she has to wrap a towel around it, bleeding, the skin cracking and falling off on a regular basis, a higher chance of getting infections (in the past four years, she’s had two staph infections, one of which resulted in an emergency room visit), and the almost complete assurance that in the next ten years, she’ll be completely wheelchair bound.
She raised me and my three other siblings on her own with that disability after my Dad left and our extended family stopped giving a shit about us, and as often as she frustrates me, I want to be able to help her. She has done *so* much for me, and seeing her in pain every single day, having her crying in bed because she thinks nobody will ever love her again because of her bad leg, seeing her cycle through seasons of depression only to fight back with everything she has, seeing the look of hope when she finds something that might fix her leg only to learn that it’s too expensive to get the treatment, kills me. Knowing that it’ll only get worse without proper help hurts more than I can properly articulate. She isn’t the perfect mother, not by a long shot, but I love her and I want to be able to help.
The thing with her leg nowadays is that the bloodclot is gone. It has been for about a decade. It’s the damage it did to the veins that remains. We have yet to encounter a doctor willing to attempt surgery to replace the damaged vein, and everything else has been more for dealing with it than actively trying to find a solution.
We have found one possible one, however. An oxygen treatment that has been proven to help restore bloodflow. The problem is, the treatment is expensive and considered experimental, so it isn’t covered by our insurance.
You’re probably wondering where I’m trying to get at with all of this. It’s simple. One treatment costs 150 dollars, and my Mom would need to do about eight of those in the span of a few months to see any actual improvement. I want to change that. I want to be able to go up to her, tell her, “I’ll handle paying for the oxygen treatments to fix your leg.” I want to be able to see some hope on her face again, instead of the near-constant acceptance that she can’t change it no matter how hard she wants to.
I’m still just that six-year-old kid that wants to help her Mom. The only difference is, I’m not helpless anymore.
On my Patreon, I make a grandiose show of how I want it to help launch my career as a professional writer, which is true, but nestled deep in those descriptions is one throwaway line about helping to pay for medical bills. I didn’t delve deeper into how on there, since as this post shows it gets rather long-winded, but of the many medical bills that comes with this family, the need for my Mom to get this treatment is starting to creep higher and higher. She’s already showing signs of being unable to walk, and her leg is slowly but surely getting worse. Her doctors have even started talking about possible amputation if there isn’t any improvement.
In short, I’m asking you guys for help, because I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to see my Mom in pain anymore. I know how to help her, but since losing about $500 worth of income last month, my paychecks go towards the bills and such that we already have. I haven’t been able to save like I used to, and the longer we wait the less likely we’ll be able to fix anything.
I need your help, guys. My Mom needs your help. I know this is a longshot. I know I’m not popular, I’m not beloved in a way that warrants having money thrown at me for no good reason, my creations are still fledgling, I know there are people out there that have it so much worse, but I’m still taking this chance. I’m coming with my nose pressed to the ground before you in supplication, and asking from the bottom of my heart: please, help my family.
Whether this story warrants that is beyond me, but stories are all I have.
If you can offer anything, thank you. If all you can do is read this, thank you. There isn’t any guilt here. It’s simply a story and a question from someone with nowhere else to turn. Those don’t always need responses.