On Facebook, I have a friend whom, although I don’t that well, her story, especially here in Australia is one that’s becoming worryingly common: a person with chronic illness unable to access appropriate care because the country’s medical system and insurance companies do not have a medically defined code for MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). Perhaps it doesn’t exist then, you ask? Well if that’s the case there are over 20 overlapping conditions that involve sensitivity to chemicals. A case in point is my own recent diagnosis of CIRS, which was given by a Doctor of Integrative Medicine; someone who usually diagnoses (sadly, unofficially due to the AMA, NICNAS and the Australian Government (in power at the moment); a diagnosis which, gratefully, many in the medical field take seriously) MCS!
In the US they have a similar story, however, chemical usage is more abundant; with the right to poison your neighbours thrown about, and often, with the same consequences, as the right to bear arms. Cheryl Poland’s story may be one becoming more common; however, Cheryl is a human being who, like all humans, deserves the right to prompt medical attention and treatment. She was recently admitted to hospital, although she cannot afford it. Please read Cheryl’s GoFundMe story and donate if you can. I know I will: my next pay cheque, I pledge to give Cheryl $10. It’s all I can afford, trying to remediate my possessions, my health, ready for a safe home of my own. However, I see Cheryl’s plight and I don’t want her to be alone. I want to put my arms around her and tell her it will be okay but with oceans between us, this is the best thing I can do to help her.
“My name is Kristen Decker and I’m fundraising for a friend of mine, Cheryl Poland Bixenman.
Cheryl Poland Bixenman had a normal and happy life until one fateful evening on November 17, 2007 when her husband decided to throw diesel fuel into the furnace rather than the normal oil he usually used. Though Cheryl protested he quickly shused her saying it would be fine before he darted out the door for a weekend hunting trip. Cheryl spent that weekend, while he was gone, dozing in and out of conciousness, waking only long enough to draw some breaths of fresh air as she took the dog out in a confused state. These breaths of fresh air were ultimately what saved her from the carbon monoxide poisening that was quickly ravishing her body. After days of falling in and out of sleep Cheryl finally dragged herself to her computer to do a Google search of her symptoms. When she saw carbon monoxide poisoning come up in a search she quickly called the firemen in. The fireman located the source of the carbon monoxide poisoning and quickly shut it off, leaving Cheryl with the instructions that she had to leave her home. Unfortunately she was never told that she needed oxygen therapy to prevent the long term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
That fateful weekend Cheryl nearly lost her life, but little did she know, the nightmares were only beginning. It didn’t take long to realize that something wasn’t right. Not only did Cheryl suffer long term effects from the carbon monoxide poisoning, but suddenly she began to have piercing headaches that burned with such intensity it affected Cheryl’s entire head and face. Cheryl had developed occipital neuralgia as well as trigeminal neuralgia which is often referred to as suicide disease because of the amount of pain it causes. The pain from these diseases is relentless. It never subsides or eases up. It’s there when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. It is crippling pain that affects everything you can and can’t do.
As if Cheryl was not suffering enough, her husband could not deal with her pain and he sent her on her way with a twenty dollar bill and a bottle of water. Cheryl was now left to fend for herself with excruciating pain that never left her side. Cheryl managed to get on disability and find subsidized housing, but what was at first a blessing quickly became another component of her nightmare. It didn’t take long to find that the apartment had mold and the apartments have refused to do anything about it. Unfortunately the apartments are not required to remediate the mold. The only right Cheryl has is the right to break her lease with no penalty.
With disability as her only source of income and medical bills piling high there is no way that Cheryl can afford to move.
I am doing this fundraiser because I had trigeminal neuralgia and there is a surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN that cured me of my Trigeminal Neuralgia. Cheryl’s medical history is complex and requires doctors equipped to handle complex cases to succeed with any chance of a normal life. Cheryl has attempted to get care locally and doctors are failing her miserably. Cheryl does not feel like she could go to Mayo alone. Though Cheryl lives in Fairfax, Virginia and I live in Indiana, it is my dream to accompany her to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to get the surgical procedure that will cure her trigeminal neuralgia and get diagnostic testing and treatment for the other disorders Cheryl has. With chemical sensitivity to medications, Cheryl cannot take many of the medications that would help alleviate her symptoms. This requires a complex medical team who specializes in the complexity of cases like Cheryls.
Cheryl used to be an interior designer and has an absolute passion for it! Not only would she love to return to work, but it is crucial to her stability and success in this world. If I can get Mayo to cure her or significantly control her symptoms so she could return to work and get back on her feet I would be over joyed. I’d also like to help get her back on her feet and help her repair her car, catch up on rent, and pay off her medical bills.
Any prayers or donations would be such a blessing during this dark time in Cheryl’s life. Cheryl is in a deep deep depression and suffers from PTSD and anxiety. To be able to get her the treatment she deserves at Mayo as well as help her get back on her feet would be so amazing. I watch Cheryl’s struggle daily and it is my dream to be able to put an end to it. I feel strongly that God has placed me in Cheryl’s life to help her get this treatment she so deserves! Please help be a part of our tean and contribute whatever you can. Even if each of my friends and Cheryl’s friends contributed a dollar that would be an awesome step in the right direction to make a difference in Cheryl’s life! Please help me bring some quality back to Cheryl’s life!
You can read more and donate to Cheryl’s worthwhile and important here. You can send prayers, well wishes to Cheryl from anywhere in the world <3