Edmond Woman With MS Undergoes Stem Cell Treatment
Posted: Jun 22, 2014 9:42 PM CDTUpdated: Jun 22, 2014 9:42 PM CDT
A former Edmond school teacher battling Multiple Sclerosis went to Chicago for a life-saving stem cell transplant. She's back in town now with her results.
Pamela Gooch says she's the first person with Progressive Relapsing MS to have this particular procedure done. And since the transplant, she's never felt better.
"That just terrible tiredness is gone," said Pamela.
Back to her old, playful self, Pamela says her recent stem cell transplant has given her a new life.
"I can take a nap when I tire and I feel rested, however before, I couldn't get out of bed," Pamela said.
For two years since her MS diagnosis, Pamela always felt drained as her immune system was attacking itself. She even chopped off all her hair before chemotherapy beat her to it.
And in a 20 minute operation only offered in Chicago, she got new stem cells placed in her body. It was a success, until she got a letter from her insurance company backing out of covering the $150,000 procedure and instead opting to pay only a 1/10 of it.
"Pay for the rest of our lives for it, this is what we're going to do."
Pamela proceeded on despite the high cost and seven weeks later, she's back home in Edmond. She got her pay-off in time spent with her two sons.
"I'm very excited to be home with my boys, and I have energy now that I can give to them in playing with them and cooking for them," said Pamela. "And my main concern is being here for my family and trying to make up for the two years where I wasn't always available because of the MS."
Due to the MS, Pamela had to quit her job as a Pre-K teacher.
NEW STRETCH GOAL: $40,000
Thanks to you, I’ve reached my original goal in just 12 days!
As it turns out, we found out the top of the mountain was not quite where previously thought…
On Tuesday, May 6, the day after beginning chemo treatments and three days after shaving my head…
THE INSURANCE COMPANY PULLED THEIR PLUG ON MY PRE-APPROVED STEM CELL TRANSPLANT BY PLAYING THE “TECHNICALITY” TRUMP CARD.
I’m working with an attorney and going after the insurance company but that will take time, which is sadly, something I don’t have at the moment. In April, five new active lesions were discovered on my brain and I began to have difficulty walking.
In order to keep the stem cell transplant on schedule, the hospital needed $125,000 by May 15. Property was liquidated, extreme sacrifices were made BUT my family came up with the money.
NEEDLESS TO SAY…
I HAVE A NEW STRETCH GOAL: $40,000
As promised, Dr. Lenny Henderson of Oklahoma City has graciously matched the first $5,000 donated to my Indiegogo campaign. We are off to great start and I'm in the process of sending out perks.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. I PROMISE TO MAKE YOU PROUD.
Pamela: The MS Stem Cell Transplant Girl
PS: Here's some MEDIA COVERAGE from my Indiegogo campaign:
Original April Post/Video:
One phone call, one moment . . . a single illness . . . can alter the course of a person’s life forever.
Reality often dictates what we know to be true… we take our health for granted and then, inevitably, wonder why we did…
On Friday, August 29, 2012, I learned this lesson with humbling humility.
It’s not often your doctor asks you to meet him at his office, after hours, on his day-off. The words, “You have multiple sclerosis,” echoed in my mind.
It made sense; the senseless confusion I’d been feeling, the inability to accomplish simple tasks or walk in a straight line, the overwhelming fatigue, repeated episodes of falling and consistently tripping over my feet. I HAVE MS! Not to mention actual brain damage which has even led to me having trouble speaking.
I quickly decided, I was going to keep my life as normal as possible, for as long as I could. Including continuing to work as a teacher and talking care of my newborn son, who was barely 100 days old when I was diagnosed.
Less than two years have passed, already I have resigned from my teaching position and I'm no longer able to drive. New MS lesions were discovered on my brain indicating the medication I had been receiving. Nothing was working.
Thankfully, my neurologist brought my case to the attention of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. They’ve pioneered a revolutionary treatment for MS called Autologous Stem Cell Transplant, which resets my immune system to stop attacking itself.
Chicago is the only city in the United States where this transplant is being done. This procedure pushes the limits of what we thought was possible for treating MS. While the doctors won’t technically call it “a cure,” their patients certainly do and most are able to go on and live normal lives again. As you can imagine, challenging limitations and creating a new future isn’t cheap. Thankfully, insurance will pay for the bulk of the medical costs; however the eight-week relocation for myself and a full-time caregiver is still quite expensive.
Asking for support is never easy. My family and friends have done so much and now that I’ve been approved for this life-changing procedure, this Indiegogo campaign’s purpose is to seize tomorrow’s opportunities. My target for this campaign is $15,000 – which would help to fund my portion of the surgery bills and the temporary relocation costs. Any post-goal donations made will be applied to my ongoing medical care and my annual follow-ups in Chicago.
Expenses will include medical "extras" not covered by insurance, travel to and from Chicago, lodging, rental car, food and miscellaneous expenses, including child care for my two sons while I’m away.
Today’s problems should never prevent us from dreaming about tomorrow. I am 41 . . . I want to be able to function again, I want to be able to pick up my baby . . . and, most of all, I want to know I tried!
Dr. Lenny Henderson of Oklahoma City will match every donation of the first $5,000 donated to my campaign.
Please spread the word about this campaign to your friends and family. You never know who could help make this miracle happen for me.
PLEASE SEE MY UPDATE VIDEOS