Help Meg Fight Chronic Lyme Disease

For: Meg Smith
Charlotte, NC
Organizer: Keesha Sedgwick, along with many of Megs dear friends!
Help Meg Fight Chronic Lyme Disease (Meg Smith)
$52,857
of $68,000 goal.
Raised by 321 donors
77% Complete

The Story

Imagine fighting a chronic, debilitating illness every day for over 17 years. Every single day is a struggle against sickness and fatigue. You're unable to live your life like everyone around you. You can't do the things you love, the things that matter most to you. Even on a good day, life is nearly impossible.

Meg Smith doesn't have to imagine any of this. This is her life.

Meg always had big dreams and passionate ambitions. When she was a girl, she wanted to be a doctor so she could help people. God took that desire to help others and channeled it into ministry. For years, Meg served people from many walks of life, both here and overseas, sharing the love of Christ with those in need -- all while struggling with chronic Lyme disease.

For those who don't know much about this crippling disease, there's a simple way to describe what it does: it robs you of everything -- your energy, your health, and your ability to do what you were meant to do.

Despite Meg's best efforts, chronic Lyme disease has robbed her of the ability to continue her ministry.

To experience any kind of true and lasting healing, Meg must receive an aggressive medical treatment.

Would you prayerfully consider donating toward Meg's medical treatment, giving her a chance to regain her life and her ministry? This treatment requires Meg to raise $68,000 in just a few weeks so that Meg can begin IV treatment in April. Meg is trusting God to provide as He always has in her life.

Please share Meg's story with others, including your family, friends and coworkers.Encourage them to pray and consider donating to Meg's treatment. She needs a team of champions in her corner, people who can not only help her reach her goal but can also learn more about the struggles and realities of living with chronic Lyme disease.

Finally, pray that the Lord would provide for Meg and in the process, bring greater awareness to this terrible disease.

God has used Meg to accomplish a lot of great things in her ministry, impact lives in need of hope and help, and make a difference for others. Now, Meg needs you to make a difference in her life.


Meg's mother offers a closer look at her daughter's life:

I cherish the memories from Meg’s childhood. She was an energetic princess if ever there was one. Always outside playing make-believe with her friends or jumping on the trampoline sporting her bright blonde hair, cherub-pink cheeks and a beautiful smile.

Adventure was not uncommon at our house. We often went camping or hiking and it was difficult to keep she and her little brother on the trails. They were always on the hunt for some discovery or another. Most of her childhood was spent outdoors at the farm or other places around Illinois and Indiana.

Around the age of 13, we noticed a difference in Meg. The doctors suspected rheumatoid arthritis at first when swelling in her joints was discovered, but when all was ruled out, they thought it soon would pass. Her diagnosis was blamed on growth, and then on stress. She began missing school because the pain was so severe. With no answers, we began to homeschool Meg and tried to move forward with life.

About this time, we moved to a small town in Indiana called Rensselaer, which my husband and I still call home. Both of our children started school and, within the first few weeks, caught the flu. The flu ran its course with our son, and he returned to school by the next week. Meg, however, wasn’t improving. Her nausea and profound fatigue continued. We had to help her get to and from the bathroom. Her skin tone seemed to change to a grey, dull color and the energy was gone from her eyes. We became alarmed and began, again, to seek answers from every doctor in the area, including a specialized children’s hospital. Many times, doctors would determine a diagnosis and then back away, blaming stress. No one could explain any of her ailments.

For three years, our days consisted of carrying Meg up the stairs, assisting her in the smallest activities, and constantly comforting her in the pain that just wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t until she was 17 years old that a doctor, out of frustration and concession, diagnosed her with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia. Although we were glad to have a reason for all of Meg’s pain, we found little help from the diagnosis. There were and still are very few treatment options for CFD/FM outside of pain management, and today these diseases are actual symptoms of a much larger disease. Meg fought to get back on her feet. She took the pain pills and supplements in a determination to go to college and she rested as much as she could. She was not well by any means, but she was mobile.

Meg started at Olivet University the fall of 2004 and was immediately accepted into their music program. However, it wasn’t long before the physical exertion took its toll, and soon she had to return home, defeated and back in bed.

Again, Meg worked to gain her independence. She changed her diet and lifestyle, and fought to gain strength. When her grandparents became ill, her compassionate heart and close relationship with them pushed her to move to the family farm and care for them both. Her father and I were apprehensive at this decision; fearing she would again use her ‘store’ of energy and be forced to return to bed. But God was good. Meg and her Aunt cared for both grandparents until they passed a year and a half later, staying by their side until they took their last breath.

After their passing, Meg got an apartment and at Crisis Pregnancy Center in Illinois. She volunteered at first but eventually worked her way up to the Client Services Director. Meg was very careful with her health and worked steadily until the Lord called her in to missions. At 28 years old, Meg moved to Nigeria. She spent her time there loving on women and children caught in sex trafficking and prostitution. Our hearts could not have been prouder at all that the Lord allowed her to accomplish, even with limited stamina.

Not long into her time in Nigeria, Meg came down with a severe strain of malaria. After three weeks of rest and treatment, her mission organization sent her back to the states to recover. She improved and eventually seemed as strong as when she left for Nigeria, except for some joint pain. After this recovery, Meg was asked to move to Charlotte and join the mission mobilization department at her organization’s US office.

Our first indication that something was wrong came from a telephone call. 'Mama, I’m so tired. I can’t seem to overcome it.' Again, the ‘flu’ symptoms began, as well as the intense pain. Once again, doctors began testing and searching for answers. Many theories were shared and protocols given, but nothing helped. She just kept getting worse.

One morning Meg called and said she couldn’t get out of bed. When I arrived later that night, that same grey color in Meg’s face had returned. My heart stopped and I internally cried, 'Oh God, not again.' We searched and searched for answers. 'How could this happen again?' We prayed and we cried to the Lord. A few days later, shortly after her 30th birthday, I yet again searched the internet looking for answers. I’m not sure how I happened on the image except by God’s goodness, but when I saw the photo it was as if someone had hit me in the stomach. It was a picture of a classic Lyme disease “bull’s eye rash”, but unlike any I had seen before. Suddenly my mind slipped back to an old house we lived in before Meg got sick. It was a rash on the inside of her arm that looked exactly like the picture!

I began looking up Lyme disease symptoms. My stomach turned knots as I realized she had every single one of the symptoms. It was as if someone had written a clinical review of Meg’s illness over the last 17 years. After I began to research Lyme disease, I realized there was huge controversy over chronic Lyme due to the very outdated testing that is currently required by the CDC. More than 30 strains of Lyme disease are currently recognized, but standard Lyme blood tests only run a handful of them. Therefore, research shows that chronic Lyme disease should be a mostly clinical diagnosis. Doctors are not always willing to treat chronic Lyme for fear of losing their licenses since the views of research and the CDC do not align. Thankfully, we found a Lyme literate medical doctor to take Meg’s case only two hours from her home in Charlotte, NC.

Meg began treatment one year ago. Lyme disease treatment causes many side effects, which doctors can only liken to chemotherapy. Symptoms might include nausea, extreme pain, weakness, and severe malaise. After a year of treatment, Meg is a little stronger and able to work some, but the pain and other issues have not improved - some have even worsened. Until very recently Meg has been unable to receive the more aggressive chronic Lyme disease treatment she needs. However, Meg now can enter this next round of treatment with a deep hope for remission by 2018!

After so many years and so much grief, it is good to finally understand why our daughter went from a vivacious, joyful girl with a ready smile, to a beautiful soul with an afflicted body.

My invitation to you:

  1. First and foremost, if you are struggling with a chronic illness but have not yet found a diagnosis, please read up on Lyme Disease. It is is incredibly hard to find and harder to diagnose, and it’s much more common than you realize! “Lyme disease isn’t rare. More than 300,000 Lyme disease cases are reported each year by the CDC in the U. S. alone. It is six times more common than HIV/AIDS and twice as common as breast cancer. When appropriate diagnostic codes are missing, care is often denied and unreported, leading to life-threatening and debilitating illnesses.” -www.lymedisease.org
  2. I beseech you to consider giving to Meg’s medical fund. Meg desperately needs this aggressive treatment, but because of its intensity and its length (over a year), the price is very high. Meg’s friends and family have committed to helping Meg raise $68,000 in just six weeks. Will you join us?
  3. Lastly, would you spread the word about Meg and thousands like her? No one should suffer for over 17 years waiting for a diagnosis. And if one must, one should never do it alone. I pray that not only our Meg receive treatment and healing, but the thousands of others who are still waiting.

Sincerely, 
Meg’s Mama

And on behalf of Meg’s friends and family, thank you!

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 22, 2017

Posted on October 22, 2017

*Treatment Update *
Soooo, what is happening?
After going two weeks with her protocol on hold Megs doctors have decided on the way forward. It's not what we'd hoped for. Instead of making changes to her protocol, they're keeping everything the same, the only difference is that Meg has taken two weeks off, giving her body a rest. Only, she doesn't feel at ALL as though body has been given a rest. So, the thought of beginning again tomorrow-the SAME protocol is daunting and anxiety-inducing.
She needs your prayers, your encouragement, your cheerleading, your friendship, your support!
How can you pray?
*Pray for the courage needed to hook up to that IV tomorrow night and face another round
*Pray for tolerability- physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is the toughest protocol she has faced so far.
*Pray for peace. For Megs mind to be at peace and rest as she moves forward.
*Pray for effectiveness. That the treatment would do everything the doctors intend and more!
*Pray that God would give Megs community and loved ones wisdom and discernment in knowing how and when to enter into this tumultuous situation with Meg.
*Pray that we'd have all the physical and practical help we need over these coming weeks.
Pray for Meg to be able to attend a conference she has a strong desire to be at on November 2-4.
****Pray for the needed Lactated Ringers that she uses daily to be supplied and provided ASAP. They are currently on back order and trying to get ahold of more has been a real struggle.
Please share these prayer needs, and join us in linking shields with Meg.

Posted on October 9, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on October 9, 2017

Good Morning, 

It has been a few months since any updates have been shared. I suppose that could be because the rhythm of Lyme has unfortunately become the normal rhythm of life in our home. Every day is a battle. Every day Meg fights to get out of bed. She fights to eat a balanced meal, to take her meds (5 times a day), and because Lyme Disease brings intense pain, discomfort, and confusion, every hour, sometimes every minute, she fights to hold on to the hope that healing is coming. Sometimes it feels like I (Keesha) don't know how to write an update because it seems like there is nothing new to say; she’s still fighting. But, as Meg enters into another round of treatment I've been reminded of just how important it is to have all of YOU praying and fighting with Meg as she continues this journey towards health! 

This round will be more complex than the previous rounds. Each week the protocol will change and the treatment days will be five days a week instead of three. With the schedule changing and the treatment becoming more intense, we ask 5 people to commit to praying for cognitive clarity, as Meg will have so much more to remember! I ask that you would pray for me, as well, so that I would be helpful in keeping track of medications and infusions so that this complex protocol will not be as big a burden for Meg. We pray, too, that I will have the knowledge and awareness when emergencies rise up and certain friends must be called to help us both.

It's been nearly three years since Meg’s near-fatal Malaria exposure while serving in Nigeria. However, during Meg’s last appointment, it was discovered that the Malaria has caused more damage than originally known, and is still somewhat present in Meg’s system today. So this round will also be addressing the lingering effects of Malaria. Lyme Disease and Malaria are very closely related, and their dual presence in Megs body is one of the reasons why treating her Lyme disease is so complex and so intense. We ask again for 10 people to commit to praying this round would effectively address the Malaria infection, the damage it has done to her liver and spleen, and the way the two interact- causing more pain and confusion.


In the middle of the next nine weeks, Meg gets one "off week". Please pray that this "off week" would be a GREAT week. Those seven days happen to fall exactly when Meg hopes and plans to travel to a conference held by a partner ministry of SIM, the missions organization where Meg and I work. This conference and ministry is very near and dear to Meg’s heart. We ask 15 people to begin praying now that she'd be able to go and maximize her time and ministry there. Meg is still working from home with SIM, primarily doing Administration tasks, but she is anxious to get back into the swing of Mobilization and this conference would allow her to do just that.

Our last request is in regards to the finances of Meg’s medical needs. We are still short of our initial fundraising goal, and due to the serious setbacks Meg has experienced these past few months, it may mean Meg will need more funding than the budgeted $68,000. But for now, we stay the course. Our final prayer challenge is for 25 people to pray that our original goal of $68,000 would be reached by December 1st, the date of Meg’s next appointment in D.C. This will allow Meg to pay for the last round issued in 2017. At that point, we will stop to see what the future looks like, what God has done, and how He wants Meg to proceed. If you feel compelled to give towards Meg’s treatment expenses you may donate through this site.

P.S. You'll notice from the attached photo that Meg is sporting a new look! The rest of Meg’s hair had to go, but thankfully this has alleviated the horrible pain she was experiencing on her scalp. Praise God!


Posted on July 18, 2017

Posted on July 18, 2017

*P R A Y E R R E Q U E S T*
Friends of Meg, would you commit some extra time to prayer for her? As we've said, this round of treatment has been AWFUL! And today has been no exception. Her morning dose left her unable to move from bed, and after the entire day spent in bed, the evening dose was too excruciating to finish. We had to stop the drip early, and then Meg proceeded to puke her guts out and sit a while on the bathroom floor.
"My whole body is nauseous. I feel like I worms are crawling in my skin." This is what she muttered to me about five minutes before we stopped the drip and made herself at home on the bathroom floor.
Here is how you can pray-
Pray for RESTORATIVE sleep tonight, that her body and mind will actually rest.
Pray for peace of heart and mind, it is quite a fight in all regards to fight such an intense physical illness.
Pray for the nausea to subside.
Pray for the pain to ease up.
Pray for the next two treatment days of this round (wednesday and friday). We plan to call her doc in the morning to discuss whether or not her body can handle the final two days of this round.
Pray for an extra dose of encouragement, and joy to be felt and experienced in this otherwise dreadful process.
Thanks, friends of Meg. It takes a whole tribe- thanks for entering in!

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