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With your help, I can receive urgent and necessary medical treatment.

After a near life long health struggle involving seeing doctors around and across the country, I have Chronic Lyme Disease, severe heavy metal toxicity, and an array of corresponding ailments that cause great discomfort, pain, and fatigue. These conditions are potentially fatal if left untreated. I'm 29 years old.

The American medical system doesn't recognize Chronic Lyme Disease and ignores the consequences of heavy metal toxicity. This means virtually none of my care is covered by health insurance and therefore must be paid for up front and out of pocket; these costs hover around and upward of $5,000 per week. At this point, I've exhausted all of my financial resources and have gone considerably into debt trying to get access to the right care. There is a limit to the amount of debt one may take on, and I have hit that limit. Maintaining what health I have has become a full time job due to the time required to complete the treatments, as well as the nature and depth of my symptoms, but in an effort to cover basic living expenses I have been working full time for several months, providing emotional therapy to cancer patients. It's my hope that through this campaign I can raise the additional money needed for these very expensive and necessary treatments. Below is my story.

Throughout my youth doctors viewed my various ailments including constant stomach issues, sluggishness, and discomfort as an illusion. Even as my short-term memory declined and a feeling of overall ache and sickness crept in, those around me disregarded what I was going through. I began building a tolerance for it all; believing I was destined to live a life of pain, and feeling it wasn’t worth talking about since doing so had proved to be useless. 

In adulthood, the aches evolved into intense pain, my stomach issues continued, and other ailments came and went. Knowing from past experience it was up to me to get my life and health back, I doubled down on my efforts to live cleanly and healthy, minding everything that went in and on my body. Those actions helped temper the physical decline but were not enough to stop it. I began experiencing alarming drops in my ability to read, write, and speak. Soon, the use of my right leg began to wane, and I lost 15 pounds from my already narrow frame. Coupled with an immobilizing stiffness, the intense pain deepened, and my nerves began to tingle and buzz, keeping me awake at night. Suddenly, I developed two serious cataracts, permanently losing the sight in my right eye. 

Through the fog of these symptoms I knew something life threatening was emerging. I actively and carefully sought out what medical care I could afford. Memories of my childhood returned as each test came back negative and doctors again began suggesting it might all be in my head. Disregarding their painful comments, I stayed firm in my convictions and continued on in my search for answers.

Fearful of losing my job and alienating my friends, I hid my struggle from everyone, putting all my physical strength into maintaining a relatively normal exterior. The pain was crippling; I spent every spare moment outside of work in bed, conserving what energy I could to take care of basic daily tasks and errands. I lost most of my strength, often couldn’t walk, and intermittently collapsed from pain and exhaustion, sometimes in public. The seemingly hopeless progression of these ailments was overwhelming but I remained positive and focused on being strong and present in each moment. My patience paid off and answers started trickling in.

First came results showing serious vitamin deficiencies, then Chronic Lyme Disease, then digestive abnormalities. A key piece in the puzzle came when we discovered chromosomal deficiencies that were resulting in a near complete failure to detoxify my body. That explained the next results, which showed heavy metal toxicity so severe it needed immediate attention.

The road ahead looked tough and costly. I put all my efforts into research and connecting with others who were dealing with Lyme and heavy metal poisoning. I read books, blogs, magazines, and medical journals, and spoke with anyone who would listen. I found myself connected with amazing people who had beaten the odds in their own health crises. These connections gave me inspiration and hope and add fuel to my drive to this day. Through these individuals and my own research, I found a doctor 3,000 miles away from my home who has shown definite results with others in similar situations.

I have been at his clinic for five months now, but my lack of funds has made progress slow, and has allowed for some ailments to deepen. In addition to the therapy practiced at this clinic, there are many treatments I could complete at home, and other doctors I could work with to create a comprehensive and dynamic care plan. 

I desperately want to get better but my goal is greater than myself; I want to begin advocating for others going through similar adversity and help guide them toward whatever treatments may be right for them. No one should have to face a health crisis alone and uninformed the way I did. Good health is a basic right that should be afforded to us all.

Any and all donations would mean more to me than I could express. Thank you for your time. 

To follow my journey:

Dana's Road to Recovery. Photos and updates on Facebook.

How to Eat Healthy, Instagram and Facebook. Quick and easy tips, along with photos and recipes.

My personal Instagram: @rambleandroam_. Mostly photos from my travels for medical treatment. Proof that even on the worst days, there is beauty all around. 

For more information on Chronic Lyme Disease:

Under Our Skin trailer. If you have time for only one thing, I encourage you to watch this trailer.

Under Our Skin full movie. This eye-opening documentary gives an inside look at life with Chronic Lyme Disease and examines the medical options available to patients. Truly worth your time to watch.

About Lyme Disease. 15 basic facts about Lyme Disease.

For more information about Heavy Metal Toxicity:

Aluminum toxicity. An overview from Mount Sinai Hospital.

Lead poisoning. An overview from the Mayo Clinic.

Mercury poisoning. An overview from the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.

Nickel toxicity. An overview from the Global Healing Center. 

Heavy Metal Toxicity Table (click and scroll down). An overview from Medscape.

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