Help the Miller Family battle Chronic Lyme Disease

For: Lacey Miller
Waco, TX
Organizer: Abby Vasek & Bex Hale
Help the Miller Family battle Chronic Lyme Disease (Lacey Miller)
of $90,000 goal
22% Complete
Raised by 253 donors

The Story

Help Lacey, Zeb, Karmen, Lizette & Wren Miller survive Chronic Illness!

Durning the past few months, our incredible friend, Lacey Miller, and two of her daughters were diagnosed with Lyme Disease and co-infections. The Millers have spent seven years and over $100,000 chasing a diagnosis for their family. Though devastating, this discovery has finally brought definition to the countless elusive medical afflictions they’ve been suffering.

To make matters worse, Zeb, a wounded vet and the family's sole provider, has been diagnosed with epilepsy, and after a head injury from a recent seizure while on duty, is unable to return to work. 

Twelve-year-old Karmen, and seven-year-old Lizette experience severe fevers, multiple viral infections, joint and muscle pain, debilitating nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, staph infections, neurological damage, tachycardia and many other miserable symptoms. Lizette, who is especially ill, has had seven hospital visits and nearly thirty doctor appointments just in the last six months, with five different viral or bacterial infections in the last 6 weeks.

Lacey’s struggles include arthritis, dementia, loss of vision, seizures, sporadic tremors, neuropathy, intense joint pain and swelling, pervasive migraines, adrenal failure, total loss of mobility, and extreme fatigue just to name a few. While the illness has ravaged Lacey’s body leaving her bedridden and unemployable much of the time, she has not let Lyme disease define her. Lacey continues to be a vibrant, positive spirit and a thoughtful, beautiful human being! She is the wife of Zeb Miller, a decorated war veteran who now serves as a police officer in Waco, TX; the mother of three beautiful girls, Karmen, Lizette, and four-year-old Wren; a talented portrait photographer; and an irreplaceable friend.

A family in crisis!

As the sole breadwinner, Zeb is working overtime to pay living expenses and ever-increasing medical bills, as hospital visits are frequent and claims are often denied.  Additionally, Zeb is suffering side effects from injuries sustained in the Iraq war while claims for his treatment are also being denied, despite being awarded The Purple Heart. The lack of proper care and the mounting financial pressures are taking a toll on this family and continue to pull Zeb away from caregiving, often leaving Lacey to run the household on her own, even in her deteriorated condition.

What does the path to Recovery look like?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Lyme disease. However, there is hope—hope for remission and an improved quality of life. On November 7th, Lacey and Karmen will begin their initial rounds of treatment at a specialized treatment clinic in Seattle, Washington, where experts address the underlying causes of complex chronic illness using whole systems protocols to provide the most effective therapies. Lizette, who is in urgent need, will also begin treatment in the very near future as funds are available.

The estimated cost of treatment, which requires several extended-stay visits to the clinic per patient over a two year period, is $180,000 for just three of the five family members. Due to the congenital nature of the disease and to presenting symptoms, it will be necessary to treat all five family members eventually, even though Zeb and Wren show signs but have not yet been tested. We will give updates as they develop. The Miller family will have many additional expenses beyond the cost of treatment itself at a projected cost of $94,000 over two years including travel (because there are very few physicians treating Lyme disease), environmental and diet changes, a part-time home health aide, and missed income while Zeb provides care for his family. Lacey is often bedbound, and caring for both her and her girls will require a lot of additional help, including housekeeping and meals.

Lacey is our dearest friend, and we couldn't imagine our lives without her. We are filled with gratitude for your help in this journey to bring her and her kiddos back to health!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 27, 2017

Posted on January 27, 2017

We've been pretty quiet lately, as we've been working night and day to get the house ready for sale. We made lots of improvements and hope for a fast and profitable sale, in order to fully pay for our travel trailer so we can be mortgage free. We are so grateful to friends, family, and community who helped us work towards this goal!

Zeb was put on disability and not allowed to return to any of his jobs, due to the epilepsy and some other things he's dealing with. Being forced to walk away from an 18 year long career he loves has not been difficult for him to process, but us girls are thankful for the gift of so much more time with him! We take a 75% pay cut and lose healthcare in about a week. We tried to schedule as many appointments and things as possible, while we still could. We're not sure yet what will happen with coverage, but we will definitely pursue whatever options are available to us. We’re incredibly worried about paying for meds and appointments, because we were already not able to before this 75% pay cut and loss of healthcare. However, I think it should be pretty easy to get the girls covered on a plan through medicaid, even though our current docs do not take it. Lots to figure out… We are told that his VA appeal will take at least another 2-3 years before we have a court date.*

I found out yesterday that I have severe and progressive spinal cord compression happening, and will need surgery on my spinal column to keep it from getting worse. Symptoms of this are neurological problems, electrical shocks down my body, balance and coordination issues, frequent migraines, nerve pain and tingling/numbness in my limbs, lots of pain. I'll meet with a neurosurgeon soon to learn more. As far as I can tell, there could be some remediation of current symptoms, but the main need for surgery is to stop or slow progressive degeneration. The last surgery I had on my hip, in 2016, sent my health into a downward spiral for a long time, so Zeb and I are very concerned about having more operations. There are separate degenerative concerns in other parts of my spine, but this is the most concerning. I know eventually I'll need abdominal surgery to deal with the adhesions around my organs, which cause pain and pulling daily, but we will postpone that one as long as possible. 

The girls are okay right now. There's usually someone sick each week (this week it's Wren again) but nothing critical in a long time. We are so thankful we've been able to give so much attention to the house during this time! Wren is helping me type this, as she sits in my lap with a bucket in hers. All three girls are really struggling to process and cope with all these changes and struggles, so they could really use an infusion of love and prayer from you all! 
We hope you all are doing well. :)
All our love!

*for those who asked, Zeb was injured during his last of many deployments into frontline combat, when a mortar landed and exploded right beside him. (Thank God it missed!) He was med-evac'd out on a helicopter, had multiple emergency surgeries, and has suffered life-long damage and trauma. Extensive leg damage that still contains a femoral bypass and shrapnel, 25% vision gone in one eye, PTSD, hearing loss and constant ringing, and now debilitating epilepsy. We’ve been fighting the VA for almost 8 years to cover him. They denied the claim three times, saying none of it happened and it isn't service connected. We found out a few months back that they never even entered his medical records into his file until August of 2016 - it’s pure insanity. They did start paying him a very small percentage of his claims, while denying the rest, and denying all backpay for 7 years, as if the injuries didn’t exist from the start. It’s unreal. I’m explaining because we read some comments online a while back that someone couldn't understand how he wasn’t getting care and compensation if his claim really was legitimate. Let me assure you, it very much is — and we aren’t the only ones who are fighting against a very problematic VA system.

Posted on January 8, 2017

Posted on January 8, 2017

A few recent things to update on:
Wren finally got her cast off, after 8 weeks. Things don't look quite right with her elbow now, but we're hoping with time and physical therapy that it will heal well. As of now, she cannot straighten her arm out, rotate it all the way, and is having some pain. Zeb has officially been declared unfit for duty due to the epilepsy, and is also struggling with PTSD, progressive vision loss, and other war injuries that are finally catching up with him. He tried to work through the epilepsy for a long time, but lying unconscious in an inner city parking lot, on duty, while armed and in uniform, was the nail in the coffin. He was self-sacrificing in order to provide medical care for us girls, but risking his life and potentially others was too high a cost. We're rushing to get our house sold before we're unable to make the mortgage. We found a travel trailer and will be calling it our new home for the foreseeable future. Our friends and community have been helping us work on the house to hopefully make enough to pay for most of the camper so we can survive month to month, without payments, now that both of us are disabled. Never in our wildest dreams did we think this would be our reality in our mid thirties while raising our babies. But don't worry, we plan to make some badass lemonade out of this situation! We're hoping to spend this next year focused solely on HEALING! All five of us have some major progress to make where health is concerned. 2017 will be so good!

Christmas was wonderful! We got so much love from everyone, and we really embraced our last christmas in our home together. Who knows where we will be next year! Lizette has been doing decently well lately and we thank God every day for that! She's had several days here and there of illness, but nothing severe or critical in a couple of months! Woohoo! Wren became very ill mid-december and missed the entire last week of school before break. We didn't update then because things have been really chaotic with all of these extra appointments for Zeb thrown into the mix. We were just in survival mode! Karmen is doing alright, and we hope to make more progress as time goes on. 

Prayers for complete healing of Wren's arm, for Zeb as he deals with losing his career after 18 years, and for all three girls for comfort and peace. This entire process has been difficult for them and everyone is pretty emotionally fragile right now. 

As always, thank you for your continued support and LOVE! 

Posted on December 12, 2016

Posted on December 12, 2016

Zeb has been officially diagnosed with epilepsy, and gone to the hospital with head injuries twice now, after having grand mal seizures while at work. He's having many at home, while also dealing with severe PTSD, his leg injury, and progressive partial loss of vision in one eye that cannot be slowed or stopped. Scarlett Wren had a 45 minute focal seizure last week, prior to her surgery. This makes 3 of the Millers having seizures now, and all 5 of them suffering from scary health complications. Zeb is still trying to work until they can get their home and possessions sold, but they aren't sure how much longer he will be able to. This last seizure while on patrol, left him unconscious in a parking lot, in uniform, with his head split open. Some have even happened within minutes of getting off of his police motorcycle. Their only hope of keeping him safe is to have him stop working. They are spending Christmas selling off their possessions, and preparing their home to sell soon after. Please pray for the Millers!

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