There are a lot of reasons people set up a “Go Fund Me” page. There are silly reasons like, people wanting just to see how much money they can raise or more serious reasons such as cancer or other illnesses. No one wants to be sick. No one wants to “have to” ask others for help. But, sometimes, life throws curve balls and this is a way to turn the game around to be beneficial. Ronda Cormican’s husband found himself receiving a curve ball after his wife was suddenly denied for medicaid, after receiving it for years to help with her with doctor visits, testing and prescriptions needed to help her with a chronic diagnosis of Lupus, Lyme disease and Sjogrens Syndrome disease. Because of the loss of insurance, she is unable to continue with needed upcoming doctor’s appointments or purchase needed prescriptions.
But what is Lupus? Lupus, according to the Mayo Clinic is defined as,”a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.” Persons having lupus experience joint pain, unexplained fevers, skin lesions, confusion, memory issues, headaches, chest pain, extreme fatigue, dry eyes, shortness of breath, and Raynaud’s Phenomenon [where hands and feet turn white or blue during hot or cold weather]. Basically, lupus causes your immune system to be overactive and instead of helping fight off colds and illnesses like a normal immune system, the body will attack organs.
“I was diagnosed about 5 months ago. I was experiencing severe migraines that kept me in bed for days and lost a lot of weight. A nurse practitioner sent me to the hospital for testing. They diagnosed me with Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Lyme Disease,” Ronda Cormican said. “I was referred to a dermatologist and a rheumatologist. After my diagnosis, I wasn’t really given information about what I had or how it would affect me. I was just told that the disease was destroying and affecting my good tissues.”
The problem with Lupus is that many sufferers don’t just have Lupus, they also have other autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and other joint and muscle syndromes. Lupus mostly affects women, although there are male sufferers as well. A Lupus diagnosis is hard to pinpoint because it mirrors other problems and can take years for an official diagnosis. It is usually finalized with a blood test to determine if a patient’s ANA levels are extremely high. Unfortunately, Lupus is not curable but with medications, it can be prolonged.
Ronda was also diagnosed with having Sjogren’s Syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, Sjogren’s is defined as, “a chronic autoimmune disease where white blood cells destroy the exocrine gland and salivary glands causing dry eyes and dry mouth.” This is a common diagnosis with patients suffering from Lupus. It also causes extreme fatigue, but also, swollen glands, skin rashes, dry skin, dry cough, thyroid, liver, kidney, lung and skin issues. It affects the production of tears and saliva.
Ronda, aside from her lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome, was also affected by Lyme Disease- causing her condition to be more severe. Just one bit from a tick – especially untreated- can be life threatening. The symptoms include, fever, rash, facial paralysis, arthritis, headaches, stiffness, joint pain, nerve pain and memory problems.
Prior to her diagnosis, Ronda was a stay-at-home mom and was a prep-cook at a local restaurant. For years prior to her diagnosis, she was able to live a pretty normal life, even though she suffered from chronic headaches and weakness in her arms. She enjoyed playing with her son, working in her flowerbeds, and just enjoying everyday activities with her family. She had to give up her prep-cook job because of the weakness and numbness in her arms. Now, she is limited to what she can do at home because of the chronic daily pain she experiences and the limited sunlight exposure she can be exposed to on a daily basis without experiencing increased skin rashes from the sun. But, now, because of these changes, she is unable to work and has recently applied for disability.
“I have become depressed. I don’t want my husband or others looking at me, because of the rash all over my body. I’m disgusted with the way I look and can’t just wear anything- I have to wear clothes that cover my whole body. I was a very outgoing and energetic woman. I loved being outdoors and spending time making my home and life the best it could be,” she said.
Many women with Lupus experience the same sort of shamed feelings and depression. It turns a happy, normal life shooting through a dark hole of unknown issues and unexpected circumstances. It leaves loved ones feeling helpless. But with medication and routine treatment, many Lupus patients can live long and happy lives. Even though there isn’t a cure for autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, patients can go through long periods of time without experiencing a “flare” and can actually go into remission for long periods of time. Many patients find the Lupus Foundation of America a helpful resource for dealing with their disease. From support groups to specialists, this is a great foundation for help.
“My husband set up the Go Fund Me page because we can’t afford the medication and care I need. He made the page without me knowing about it and trying to help me with my fears for the future. I take six different medications that costs approximately $900 a month and I have two doctors that I need to see on a regular basis. Depending on what tests and labs they order, my bill could be as high as $400 per visit. We are so worried that we aren’t going to be able to make it and severe life changes will need to be made and it’s nothing my family wants to experience.”
To help Ronda and her family, go to “Go Fund Me” here. Click here.
“I won’t let this beat me. We are going to fight. I just want to remain as healthy and happy as long as God will allow me,” she concluded.