My name is Jessica French and I am reaching out to ANYONE that is willing to help or can make my situation easier, less stressful and happier.
I am 26 years old.
I have had lymphedema in my right leg since I was 10. This is managed with compression stockings, nightly leg elevation, massage and my Flexi pump, that my aunt kindly bought me as I don't have the finances to buy or rent one. My aunt blessed me with an amazing gift! My left leg now also swells but I have this under control.
One day while driving, my hands became like lobster claws, my tongue swelled & I completely lost mobility. I made it to my mother's house 2 kms away, fell out the car, was assisted by strangers that screamed for help and got my dad to me. I was hospitalised, and the attacks kept happening almost every month, requiring my hospitalisation. The doctors battled to diagnose me, investigating new ideas and new medication every time I went into hospital, which would sometimes be for a month at a time. In this time, I stopped absorbing nutrients and was in constant pain, cramped up or on high doses of medications. This went on for 3 years - I couldn't move and was unable to do anything for myself as we never knew when the next attack would occur. I was in and out of hospital monthly and at the doctor weekly.
I have since been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, chronic anemia, and a protein losing entropathy which mean that I am malnourished, can't gain weight and have to take a wide range of supplements and medications daily. I had good days and bad days, but felt that the worst was over and I could finally feel normal.
Boy, was I wrong.
I missed so much work that I was not receiving a salary and was medically boarded from Capitec Bank in February 2017. That broke my heart as I absolutely loved my job, bosses and colleagues. Once I had stopped working and was allowed to travel, my mum treated me to a much needed break in the UK in July 2017 to see family, spend time with loved ones and to have some mother-daughter time away from all the reminders of my illnesses.
During my first week in the UK, I felt something was wrong at home. I could not get hold of my beloved fiancé Chris, and had been trying to contact him for 13 hours. I got through to a police station who informed me that he had passed away in a horrific car accident. One of our three dogs that were driving in the car with him has also died and another was at the SPCA. They hadn't realized that there was a third dog in the car - the puppy of the dog that passed away with Chris. My friend Dale got as many people as she could to help search for Snoopy as I could not help. I flew back to South Africa a few days later, and we found Snoopy with the help of thousands - people online, friends and strangers forming search parties and people offering rewards for Snoopy's return putting money up for rewards. After non-stop searching for 8 days, we were reunited.
Since last year August I have had struggled with depression, seen a psychiatrist, and have been piecing myself back together.
Over the last 6 months, I have been struggling with immense pain in my left hand. I had an x-ray, went into hospital numerous times and have seen a Rheumatologist. I was told to keep my hands warm and wear a glove as i have Raynaud's phenomenon. Eventually, my doctor sent me to hospital for the continuous pain and agony. The specialist found no pulse in my left arm and transferred me to Life Entabeni Hospital in Durban to see a vascular surgeon. He kept me comfortable for the night and I had a CT scan in the morning. They found four blood clots, which were removed in the course of three major surgeries. I had two stents put in - one cardiac and another in my arm. I have had seven blood transfusions. I thought this was finally the end of my difficulties. It wasn't.
Due to the lack of circulation in my arm for so many months, my thumb and pinkie finger tip were black. The doctors were hoping this would get better and come off like a scab. Sadly this has not been the case.
Over this past two weeks, I have had half of my pinkie finger amputated down to the first knuckle and part of my thumb tip removed.
I stay positive, knowing it could be worse, even when I'm in so much pain every single day.
My medication bills are now approximately R5000 a month as my medical aid (insurance) won't cover it all. Some of my bills will be paid out within the next 4 months and some will sadly never be covered.
I am currently in R52000 debt which I pay off in monthly an installment of R1200. This is difficult for me to pay without a salary and with other monthly expenses, and I am falling behind.
After the difficulties of the past years I have run out of options and at the suggestions of my daily and friends, decided open this page.
My current medications are: Fedaloc 60mg, Pentasa 1000mg, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D 1000/Calcifero, Trepillin 50mg, Zitomile 20mg, Dopequel 100mg, Folic acid, Sovenor schedule 6 patches 10mg (1 Patch per week), Aspavor 20mg, Clopiwin 75/75, Targinact 20mg, Pregabalin Teva 75mg. Numerous protein and fiber shakes. Multivitamins and other homeopathic medications.
Thank you for reading this!
I really hope reaching out to others will help ease the current stress this is and has caused .
Huge love and hugs to you from Uvongo, Kwa-Zulu Natal here in South Africa.