Micki & Harvey “my gut”

Micki Hartranft

I had just graduated Nursing school 7/2004, took my exam, interviewed, was hired and started my LPN career with exactly the place and shift I wanted all by 9/7/2004. Things were going along smoothly. Then, Thanksgiving Day 2004, Harvey made his debut.

Vomiting and severe nausea. After 2 weeks of this I went to see my PCP. The testing began. All scans and tests came back ok. Then, he ordered the Gastric Emptying Study. After 3 hours, I was in such severe pain that the doctor ordered it stopped. Nothing had moved. I was started on Reglan. Not a good med.

I limped along at work. Good days and terrible days followed. Different meds and procedures. Dietary changes. Then, 12/2007 I was not able to swallow my own saliva so I got really sick. First 2 week hospitalization for dehydration. I went back to work on FMLA.Then February 2008 made a difficult decision. I left on short term disability hoping to return. I was the main bread winner as my Hubby John, was just starting his business.

March 2008 I had my first appt with Dr Parkman at Temple. A week of appts followed to see if I was a good candidate for the Gastric Stimulator. He already determined I was, but wanted the data for his research. 6/2008 I was operated on for the 1st time for GP. Then in 2009 was given my JTube. I was not able to go back to work and filed for Disability for the second time, this time with a good Attorney. We lost our 2 new vehicles, a Suburban and a Land Rover. Then, we lost our home to foreclosure.

We went from donating food to the food banks to needing to get food from the food banks. I was given disability deemed unemployable by their expert. But had to wait 1 year to get Medicare. We had to go to the Salvation Army for money to get my meds. We were able to get a home through a local rent to own business. I was able to go to work in 2011 only 10 hours a week. I’m now able to work 20 hours a week.

We are nowhere close to living the lifestyle we were once blessed to live, but we are still in our home, we were able to get a new Jeep 3 years ago and I’m still able to work 20 hours a week to give me a purpose and reason to get out of bed. I’ve had around 20 surgeries since that first one in 2008. I’m able to use Medicare & Medicaid so I have no copays except a few dollars for my 15+ meds until the end of June when I enter the Catastrophic category and meds are paid for 100%. We are blessed. It’s not easy but we are doing it.

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