Liver Transplant Fundraiser

For: Melinda Carmichael
Organizer: Melinda Carmichael
of $15,000 goal
1% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

I am 58 years old, worked since the age of 14, but have run through the little savings I had to pay for doctors, tests, medicines, etc. I had no idea of this disease and the havoc it wreaks on your body. I was extremely fatigued and finally after two years of complaints to my doctor a blood test was ordered, but it is too late. I can't be treated for the Hep C until I receive a new liver. A new liver is $200K+, not to mention medicine, hospital stay, anti rejection drugs and this is if I even manage to receive a matching donor in time. The test they go by is called a MELD score, in February I was at 15, going back to hepatologist in late June and they expect me to  be up to around 20 since I already am decompensated (my liver no longer regenerates, it's dead), cirrhosis Stage 4/Grade 4 the end of the line so to speak. If I'm lucky enough to receive a new liver I will then have to go through the Hep C treatment regiment, another $50K minimum. I am starting slow in requesting funds. I have no one to help me with these expenses and depend on the help of people I knew at work and my 20-something kids who basically make minimum wage - even with the college degree. So, in desperation I am starting this fundraiser hoping some of you will find it in your hearts to help with my expenses.

I make payments on a small home, but it's mine right now and would like to stay here no matter what the outcome. I may not be able to find a donor and my chances of survival after two years with decompensation is not good, 50-50 if I can keep paying for my medicine, Xifiaxin and Lactulose.

I have always worked hard, usually two jobs, now I can barely get out of bed and do anything. I can't drive, can't even follow simple directions very well, short attention span. I have hepatic encephalopathy - brain confusion, a dream like state where I fall, sometimes I don't know where I am or what I'm doing. Very frustrating. Other times, I'm OK, but the fatigue is always present. 

This is a very difficult disease. To think I've lived for nearly 38 years with it festering inside me is unbelievable, but it finally caught up to me with a vengeance when I went into a coma while driving and wrecked my car. 

As stated, I don't have family other than my children, depending on the goodness of people to help me with this. I need my medicine and the ability to have my daughter (my caretaker) to take me to appointments, administer my medicine and write this text. The only good thing to come out of this so far is I've lost a lot of weight! 

I will send you info if required, I am not trying to get anything over on anyone. I truly need help. This is the lowest I've ever been in my life, always able to do something to make money, but now this is just not possible. We are going through the Social Security disability process right now, the wheels of the government move slowly. I won't even be able to get medicare for another year even after approval. 

I am hoping you read this and decide to help me in my quest to stay on the transplant list at KU Med, help me with my medical expenses. It's a lot to ask, but I do want to live. I have many years of useful life left and I do not want to die at this age. 

Please help today and donate to my fundraiser. I will keep you updated on all my medical visits and conditions. Here's a link to some information on my disease,

Thanks for your help in advance.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 3, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
It has been overcast here and I've been reclusive as sickness has hit another family member. Just hanging on, day to day as I wait to see what next surprise is thrown my way.

Posted on July 28, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
Even though my MELD is down I still can't work, will probably never work again says the hepatologist. I've cut to the bone on every bill I can touch, but it's that time of the month when it's should I buy my prescriptions or pay the bills. I appreciate everyone's support and hope you pass this fundraiser on. I am not only depressed, fatigued, sick and in pain most of the time I can't work to raise my station in life any longer. Please donate to my fundraiser, it only goes for the essentials and I truly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

Posted on July 23, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
So, my visit to KU Med was great! My MELD is down, it's good to starve, ha ha. No, I don't eat much, just Ensure and fruits mainly, told I need to get protein, but the thought of that gags me. They suggested protein powders without the creatine of course. I like crushed ice drinks so I'd like to try some of the protein drinks. I have lost a lot of muscle mass and that's not so good, so I need 80-90 mg of protein a day. Only been getting around 10/day, so I need to figure out how to afford the protein drinks. Anyway, I am controlling my disease right now, as long as I don't get liver cancer (big possibility with cirrhosis) they are waiting for the new interferon free drug to come out early next year and use that on my Hep C. The current drug regimen would set me back and may cause an emergency condition regarding my need for a transplant. Right now, I am happy that I am exerting some control over my disease, lo/no salt has been my mantra and that has been my saving grace:) It's just the continuous fatigue and pain that sets me back, but I rest (a lot!) and try to walk a few days each week to keep up my muscle strength otherwise. Thanks to all who are supporting me, I am going to whip this disease and get back to work at some point. I just know it. I don't want to be on disability, but there is nothing I can right now other than follow the diet, exercise and medication regimen.

Posted on July 18, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
Going to hepa doc tomorrow. Had a garage sale last weekend to raise money for gas to get there and food to eat for the next couple weeks. No one would choose to be on disability. This life sucks. I was always able to work, work two jobs if needed. So frustrating to be in this condition. Want to get the transplant so I can get back to work. Even tho I'll have to go thru Hep C treatment after the transplant at least I'll have a functioning liver again. Get my energy back, get rid of this constant pain. Anyway, anyone who is following this wanted to let you know I'm getting my updated evaluation on MELD score. We'll see where we're at I think. 

Posted on July 14, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
So, no new donations and I'm starving to death. Had a garage sale with my daughter, she gathered up everything and posted on Craigslist. Surprisingly, made some money, enough to go to the store, get some food for us and the dogs. Left over cash I called in my medication and was able to purchase that also, even have some left over to make it through this week before I get my disability check. I have to have enough gas money to drive to Kansas City to KU Med this Friday for my appointment, very important as I get tested to see how much further I've degraded, or haven't degraded. It's a matter of how much time you have on transplant list as well as how sick you are so I can't miss these appointments. Sure wish people would pass this around, get some donations. I just use it to survive, medicine, doctors, food. I live a spartan life. I know there are many worse off than I, I have cut and sold everything I can think of, even the surprising junk I had in the garage-ha ha-so would appreciate donations. I definitely appreciate you that read this blog. Truthfully the garage sale set me back a little physically, just the heat I think, but stumbling and almost falling again. Pain levels pretty high also, but I think resting on couch and doing nothing for the next week will get me back on track and able to get around again. Also, thanks for support!

Posted on July 10, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
Too broke to get my Xifaxan until my LTD check arrives on 24 or 25 of this month. Taking one a day until I get reupped on my benefit check. Any donations welcome at this time.

Posted on July 5, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
So frustrating and I find people are taking advantage of my diminished capacity to understand financial dealings. I used to be sharp, now feel so dumb, don't understand the simplest things, thank goodness for my daughter, she explains everything and sticks up for me. Latest scam was Rusty Eck Ford, they said I had a free rental while they tried to figure out why my air conditioner quits working intermittently, gave me a "free" rental car, but they didn't figure out anything and left me with 5 miles to empty on my gas tank. Then tried to charge me $97 for the car they "rented" me. I told them it was free, they pointed out on the contract, see, you have "scratch" protection at $19/day. I freaked out, I don't have any money, what am I supposed to do? They decided to keep my $30 "deposit" and let me go with no charge, only to find my car had no gas in it. Am I getting dumber by the day? I didn't used to get fooled. Cirrhosis and HE are a bitch. I am still waiting for food stamps, but I probably didn't fill something out correctly and won't get those either. It sucks being poor after getting a paycheck for being smart. I shouldn't have taken it in by myself. I'm not supposed to drive, let alone sign anything. If someone would decided to donate to my fundraiser my daughter is now in charge of paying my doctor and all my medical bills. I'm too confused to do anything. But, I did sleep about 17 hours yesterday, missed the 4th July. I haven't missed one since I was a little kid, it doesn't matter. I believe I am slowly dying and won't make it to a stem cell grown liver, let alone a dead donor liver. Frustrating.

Posted on July 2, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
Back to doctor today, another $45 for prescriptions and I'm wiped out financially. Was hoping for food stamps this week, but found out it will take them another 3-5 days to review my documents. Long day, first at doctor then walking into SRS building to submit my documentation only to find I'd either have to wait for 4 hours minimum, which I can not do, can't sit that long, or leave my documents and hope they get to them in the next 3-5 days. Wish someone would donate to my fundraiser, would be a big help at this time. Had to get prescription, food is optional, but welcome.

Posted on July 1, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
My abdomen is killing me today as usual, the local doctor is truly trying his best to get me regulated, but I feel like such a failure. I'd be OK if I didn't get up and move around, but they want you to exercise a little so you don't waste away. The surgery is very traumatic on your body, it's like a 6 hour surgery, they have to remove the gall bladder for good, but then all the bile ducts and blood portals are difficult to find and connect back up when they remove your diseased liver and put in the new one. Then you wait to see if you reject it. Hopefully not since there isn't a machine they can put you on to save you, you just hope there is another donor soon enough before you die. That's what is scary about it, they do their best to match you up, but still there is the chance it won't work or you won't wake up from the long surgery. My lungs are good, they test you for that since you're under so long, then they have to have that thing in your lungs to help you breathe, that's another scary thing, I know you panic when you realize there is something in your lungs breathing for you, you try to pull it out and they have to keep you sedated until they decide you're ok enough to remove it, but you ARE aware of it being there. Plus the giant incision to get your liver out, it's quite large. I just hope I make it ok if I get that far. Please help me prepay some of these bills, I'm already behind on several since I've been analyzed, poked, assessed, etc. not to mention the constant medication that I'm buying. Much of it is speciality so my co pay is not the usual $10 it's $35, not bad since I have insurance, but my income has dropped to 20% of what it used to be and that's hard figuring out what to pay. My kids help with the house payment, insurance, but they don't make that much either. In case anyone has noticed, this generation of 20-somethings are stuck in low paying minimum wage jobs and are forced to live with their parent. I'm not much help these days, they help me. I applied for food stamps, so hopefully I will have that ability to buy some decent food by tomorrow, that's the reset date in our state and I'm looking forward to what I can buy. I'm thinking watermelon of course, haven't even been able to afford one of those for the past 3 weeks now, I drink one can of Ensure and eat a bowl of cereal, low maintenance me. The kids like grilled cheese, egss, potato concotions and stir fry rice. I can't eat that fried stuff, I pay for it with swelling and horrible pain, so I do like fruits and cereal. Somedays not enough available in house, so like I said, if you contribute to my fundraiser it just goes for basics, doctors, medicine, food. Maybe tomorrow the food burdern will ease up, I'm hoping. That's all I have for todays information. 

Posted on June 29, 2013 by Melinda Carmichael
Scheduled for the dreaded ultrasound to see what my liver looks like on July 19, then in to see hepatologist. Actually, it's better to have them squish my abdomen around with the ultrasound thing than to have them extract liver out of your body with that biopsy. That was the worst. Many people claim they had no problem with the liver biopsy, but I'm here to tell you it hurt like hell and I'm not looking forward to that procedure again although I know they have to do it at times to assess the true damage. Mine was a shocker last year, nothing like finding out the reason you don't feel so hot is because your liver is dead or "decompensated" in doc speak. I am compliant with what I eat, drink tons of water 'cause the Lactulose extracts water out of you while removing the ammonia buildup that occurs to make you act like a goofball, shake, fall down and pass out. Sometimes I get very angry thinking about the fact that I never liked alcohol, years would go by without drinking anything, most years just a toast at New Years or something and then I end up with cirrhosis. Hep C-truly the silent killer of my generation. It's frustrating. It makes me angry to think someone like David Crosby ends up with TWO replacement livers because he didn't stop drinking after someone gave him the ultimate sacrifice for his first one, he just trashed that one like a box of Kleenex from Wal-Mart. Well, I'm healthy otherwise, I'm not a drinker and I just hope to have the privelage to obtain a healthy liver and then get through the Hep C treatment program. I want to live.

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