Hi, my name is Brigitte, I have Gastroparesis which I have been living with since 2007. My vagus nerve was damaged during surgery for a hiatus hernia. I have been unable to eat since 2014. I am reliant on a special feed which goes through a machine, then through a tube which is inserted directly into my intestine. I am attached to the machine for 20 hours a day to get nutrition and hydration. I have been hospitalised many times over the last 4 years, each time spending up to 6 weeks, sometimes on TPN through a tube into my artery which goes directly to my heart to keep me alive. In May this year my tube leached into my body causing peritonitis and I almost died. The Dr twisted my bowel during surgery so I had to have an emergency operation to repair it. I spent weeks in hospital and I ended up with pleural effusions in my lungs and an enlarged heart. I was unable to walk unaided when I left hospital and It took several months to gain my strength back. I am terrified the next time I am admmited to hospital I will die from lack of knowledge of my condition and poor treatment. I have since also been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
I am raising my 10 year old on my own so this has been not only a challenge for me but also for my child. He has never complained and has only ever encouraged me every time I am hospitalised or too sick to leave the house, he is my hero!
I want to travel to the UK to see a gastro specialist. I have dual citizenship so Im able to receive healthcare once I get there. I am afraid to have any more surgeries here as my surgeon told me there is no one else in New Zealand who has this condition from damage caused through surgery and so he is just trialing things with me. There is a neurosurgeon in the UK who has managed successfully to reattach the vagus nerve for a patient (She had a different illness), he is the only surgeon to have accomplished this. I would love to see him, to see if he thinks its possible to reattach mine or what other options he might be able to offer. This could be my last chance to live a long and normal life. As I said Im afraid the next time I go to hospital I will die. I am unable to afford the flights as it is too far for me to travel economy because of the pain of sitting for 30 hours while attached to my machine so I need to fly premium which is very expensive. For both my child and I it is $15,000 return. I also need to apply for my child's visa into the UK, the only way to get this is to show I have the funds to support him while we are there. We could be in the UK for months and because of my illness I am unable to work. I must show I have 16 Thousand pounds which is $32,000 in my bank account for my child to be accepted for a travel visa to stay longer than 6 months. This would cover all of our accommodation, food and extra travel cost for 12 months while receiving treatment.
I have never asked for anything before in my life and even now I know there are other people in this world suffering perhaps more than I am, but I want to be well again. I don't want to die and leave my child alone and also I want to give him the life he deserves. If you choose to support me I thank you from the bottom of my heart, this could be my last chance at life.