Yesterday my friend JoAnn sent a text to friends asking them to Tweet Ellen regarding her holiday wish. Jo’s story was so inspiring, I asked for the letter to post on my site. I hope all my friends, family and followers will tweet Ellen too and help Jo’s holiday wish come true!
Rather than dreaming of getting a new car, cash, or even my own place for Christmas, this year I’m wishing for something that can not be found at any mall or online retail store. This is a gift that can be felt and remembered forever. Something that will last a lifetime compared to any material possessions. There is only one thing I want this Christmas, that is to find help for my sister so she can live a longer and fuller life.
If you met my sister Christi, you would immediately comment on her big heart, her sweet and mellow personality, and how great of a mom she is with her two high-energy boys Justice, 9 and Jesse, 7. Christi began raising Justice and Jesse as if they were her own following her marriage to her husband TJ in 2007. Not once would you hear a negative comment come out of her mouth, nor would you see her say no to doing something or helping someone else out. That’s just who she is. What most people wouldn’t gather from meeting her is she’s battling several serious health conditions.
My sister, like most women, dream of a fairytale wedding and being a mom. Christi received her fairytale wedding, but when it came to having kids she found out it would be impossible. After misdiagnosing her failed conception attempts, doctors began exploring different avenues to determine the real cause. Not too long after, my sisters body began to change. Her body was transforming much like the changes of a pregnant woman but not because she was pregnant.
After several tests, doctors discovered she has a brain tumor on her pituitary gland. The pituitary gland positioned at the base of the brain helps with the release of hormones. Christi’s hormones are so off balance, her body has been tricked into thinking she is pregnant.
Not long after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, she was struck yet again with more devastating news. After performing more blood tests, doctors discovered my sister also suffers from a disease called Hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is a blood disease which causes a person’s iron levels to spike at uncontrollable levels. To treat this disease, Christi must go in for blood work on a weekly basis. Even though she began treatment, it was too late for the damage done to her liver.
To measure the damage, Christi had a liver biopsy performed. The results came back as positive for Cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver which causes the liver to slowly deteriorate. Christi is not sure yet the route they’ll take for treatment, but she knows she will eventually need a liver transplant. Unfortunately the waiting list for a liver exceeds the amount available.
In 2011, my sister Christi found out she has a brian tumor, Hemochromatosis, and Cirrhosis of her liver. Not only does this wear her down, it’s also putting a strain on her financially. Treatment, surgeries, and doctor appointments are astronomically expensive. Due to her conditions, she is unable to work a regular 40 hour week, therefore cannot afford many of the needed treatments. Rather than spend time at home, Christi has taken this as an opportunity to go to school, earn a degree in early childhood education and better her husband and boys’ lives in the future. In a recent conversation I asked her how she was doing. She replied, “I’m as good as someone who has been given an expiration date can be. A person with it [Cirrhosis] has about 10 years to live without a liver transplant. Puts life in a whole new perspective.”
With only her husband working, Christi and her family are not bringing in much money, which is especially hard around the holidays. On top of that, her current doctor recently dropped her because her insurance is no longer being accepted at their office. She is unable to afford most of the treatments and because of that, her tumor for the most part is going untreated. I’m terrified. Never in my life have I felt so helpless. It brings me to tears to sit here healthy, watching her go through this. I can’t imagine a life without her. I can’t imagine the pain it will cause her husband and two boys if she does not receive adequate treatment.
My sister is only 25. She turns 26 on Christmas Eve. If there is any way you can please help make her birthday and Christmas a miracle it would mean more than anything to my family and I, especially her two young boys.
Thank you for your time,
Everyone please take 30 seconds of your time to tweet Ellen and ask her to read JoAnn’s letter!