Imagine that you’re facing brain surgery, with an estimated recovery time of up to six months. Now imagine that you have $800.00 a month to do it on. This is the reality for one Wetaskiwin woman.
Tracey Schmidt’s health struggles started in 2009 with a diagnosis of AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation) on the left side of her brain. The epilepsy that is a secondary symptom of her condition has caused Tracey to suffer massive seizures that can leave her incapacitated for hours afterward with tremors. One seizure resulted in a three week hospital stay in Edmonton.
These seizures come on with little to no warning. This has left Tracey unable to drive. However even walking with this condition poses risks. One night last March while walking home from work she had a seizure that left her lying unconscious in a snowdrift.
Though Schmidt acknowledges that her seizures are a challenge , she feels lucky to have not only the support of her family but that of her employer who assures her that her job will be waiting for her when she’s ready to return.
In 2010 surgery to deal with the AVM was cancelled as it was decided that it was far too risky. Tracey travelled to Winnipeg in 2011 for Gamma Knife Surgery, a form of radiation that was hoped would disintegrate the AVM.
After waiting 3 years for the radiation to take full effect, it was found that the radiation had only shrunk the AVM a small amount but the AVM is now at a size that makes surgery possible.
Surgery has been set for December 2, as optimistic as Tracey is that it can give her life back, the prospect of keeping a roof over her head, groceries on the table and pay for prescriptions on the $800.00 that EI allows is overwhelming for the single woman.
Unable to qualify for AISH or any other help with her medical expenses in spite of making minimum wage, EI is her only help.
Sister in-law Trish Schmidt has set up a fund for Tracey hoping to raise money to help her cover costs while she recuperates from surgery. “We would just like to see Tracey get through this with a little less stress and not lose everything she has,” says Trish. “Any amount that some-one can donate is so appreciated.”
You can find Tracey’s fundraising page at gofundme Tracey Schmidt’s Brain Surgery Fund. http://www.gofundme.com/hw43jo