This is Laura. Before March 14, 2014, Laura worked for her family's mail service business, was an entrepreneur for the company ViSalus, and in the process of buying a house and hoping to start her own family one day. On February 5 that year, Laura was on the way to a ViSalus Challenge Party when her vehicle was side-swiped as she was making a left turn in an intersection. Laura suffered a concussion after the accident, yet she wasn't aware of it until about a year later, when she was trying to earn a degree in Psychology. She began to have difficulty comprehending her reading material, and completing assignments. Right about the time she was diagnosed with having fibromialgia due to unexplained and ongoing pain, Laura got to the point that her brain would not comprehend what her instructors were asking of her. She withdrew from her course, and went on to pursue a medical explanation. Laura discovered that she suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. Laura has six torn ligaments in her neck. She has a bilateral tear of C1 and C2, in which movement becomes severe enough that it pinches the brain stem. This causes a lot of neurological dysfunction in Laura's brain. Parts of her face periodically go numb and she experiences muscle spasms, chronic sensations of migraines and pressure in her neck, restless legs syndrome, circulation issues, inflammation and swelling in various parts of her body, and mild cognitive impairment. Because there is no stability in Laura 's neck, the muscles of the neck and shoulders are what compensate, and this causes spasms from overuse. These spasms cause Laura's cervical vertebra to shift around her brain stem. There is a risk that one day, a spasm may cause her brain stem to be pinched long enough that it could result in Laura's death.
Laura has seen several specialists. Due to the bureaucratic nature of the medical and insurance system, she has met with a host of challenges in her pursuit of a diagnosis and path to healing. Laura's complicated condition is new to the medical community, in that it cannot easily be referenced in medical texts or databases. Therefore, many of the specialists that have seen Laura are hesitant to take on or recommend a definitive course of action to repair the damage in her neck.
There is a neurological surgeon, Dr. Joel Frank, in Clearwater, FL who specializes in injuries just like Laura's. He has been successful in a surgical approach, which has given 80+ patients their lives back. Dr. Frank is the only neurosurgeon in the country that does this procedure, which would not only give Laura her life back, but potentially save her life. Laura's insurance will not cover this procedure. She must raise the funds on her own.
Laurais a woman of faith, and she was once very active in her church before the pain of her injury prevented her from doing so. She had goals to serve and help others. Laura's dream was to earn her degree in Psychology to become a counselor. She wants to work in a school district once she receives her bachelor's degree, while working toward her masters/doctorate, and ultimately donate time as a counselor in churches, prisons, troubled youth, or wherever else her heart leads her. Laura has not been able to work since the car accident or attend school for about a year and a half. Without this surgery, her desire to help and serve others will go unmet, and individuals and communities will be deprived of her love and light she so desperately wishes to share.
Anything you are able and willing to donate toward the expenses of travel, lodging, medical bills and the surgery itself is greatly appreciated. Laura believes in the power of prayer. Thank you, and may God bless you.