Today, I’m reaching out to you on behalf of our friend Tracey Goforth, because she really needs our help right now. For almost 2 years, she has been dealing with some very serious and painfully debilitating health issues that have kept her from being able to work, provide and care for herself and, simply, just being able to be herself. Although she’s very stoic and would never ask for help even when she needs it, I’ve decided to start asking on her behalf because her situation demands immediate aid and support.
For as long as I’ve know her, Tracey has been the most passionate person I know, about the well-being of animals and people. Not only was she an active equestrian competitor, and trainer. She was also extremely active in the animal rescue community, aiding in the rescue, transport, and rehoming of countless horses, dogs and cats. As well as being an outspoken wolf and wolfdog advocate and, an advocate for wildlife rehabilitation and conservation. She has actively participated in efforts to overturn Breed Ban Legislation in many communities and volunteered her time and talents in evaluating, assessing and donating training to rescued dogs for many rescue groups. She has never hesitated to step in to give aid and comfort in any way she can, to anyone in need. But now it is her that is in need.
In mid-2016, Tracey began to notice that her Mother, Virginia's, health was beginning to decline and she was having difficulty in caring for herself. She found herself having to dedicate less of her time to work and more of her time caring for her mother. By January of 2017 her mom was officially diagnosed with Sudden Onset Lewy Body Dementia. As a result of this diagnosis, Tracey had to limit work so she could become her Mom’s full time caretaker and guardian. Tracey and Virginia were not only mother and daughter, but also best friends, so it was the natural and right choice for Tracey to be her mother’s sole provider and caretaker. As her mother’s condition worsened Tracey continued to care for her mom by herself, lifting her, catching her when she’d start to fall, bathing her, cooking for her, feeding her,dressing her, staying awake with her for days at a time to keep her safe and all the other things that go with caring for someone with dementia. All the while she continued to donate training to rescue dogs. As a result of her efforts caring for her mom, she began to experience severe pain in her lower back and torso.
By August 14, 2017 Virginia's dementia had progressed to such a degree that the level of care she needed was way more than what Tracey could provide on her own and her Mom was placed in care. The back and torso pain that she had been experiencing as a mere nuisance had become severe enough to be incapacitating. She had to stop working due to the excruciating pain and has been almost totally house-bound and essentially bed-ridden ever since, with the exception of trips to the doctors, and physical therapists.
Virginia passed away on Valentine’s day 2018, in Tracey's arms, leaving her heartbroken.
On Thanksgiving 2017, Tracey went to the hospital with unmanageable pain. The ER doctor performed a CT scan on the assumption it was a kidney stone. When the scan came back clear, Tracey was discharged from the ER with antibiotics. No further diagnostic imaging was performed. Over the course of the next 3 months Tracey went back to the ER a total of 7 times where each time she was prescribed a different antibiotic for an unknown condition. At one point she actually begged the ER doctor to admit her and pleaded they find the root of the problem. The hospital denied the request, and once again sent her on her way with more antibiotics. She then was referred to pain management, but still, no clear diagnosis was known. Pain management wanted to inject the SI joint without Radiographs or scans to support the course of treatment. She refused, based on the lack of scans and evidence for a clear diagnosis. Feeling like a test subject, she started into physical therapy. It was the Physical Therapist who, 6 months into treatment, referred Tracey to a Neurosurgeon , where Radiographs and an MRI were finally ordered. The Radiographs were inconclusive, however the MRI showed, she had two herniated disks in her lower lumbar spine residing at L4-L5-S1, creating severe nerve compression of L4-L5 nerve root as well as the nerve bundle, which resulted in painful muscle spasms, locking joints, and excruciating burning pain down her buttock, leg and shin. One disk was extruded and the other disk was protruded with both requiring surgical intervention. On Tuesday February 19th, during a 4.5 hour surgery, the surgeon, once in the spine, discovered that the damage was much worse than indicated on the original MRI. The disk managed to slide forward causing the two vertebra to clap against one another creating a fracture. Though they were able to complete the original surgical plan of diskectomy and laminotomy, Tracey will now face a complete removal of the disk with a spinal fusion and a cage to the left and right of the spinal column in the future.
Her surgeon told her that because her back injury is so severe it was highly unlikely that she would ever be able to ride a horse much less compete again. The look on her face upon hearing that was absolutely devastating.
Without the ability to work she has had a very difficult time even providing the basic daily necessities for herself, let alone attend to the medical bills that are piling up. She has a long way to go until she’s healed and functional again. Even in the face of such a tough time, she still tries to remain positive and continues to help animals in need by raising awareness. Tracey would selflessly help anyone who needs it in anyway she is able. So I’m asking on her behalf, because she really needs our help now. Won’t you find it in your heart to help in any way you’re able, the way she has and would help any of us? Please consider donating to this cause, or sharing for others to donate. Every little bit helps.