Mother fears she won't see her son grow up
Evidenced by her heavy breathing and intermittent sighs, the pain riddling Kadine Plummer's a body was real as she mustered the strength to recount her experiences of ailing health for the past 10 years.
The 34-year-old mother to a 10-year-old boy was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic utoimmune disease in which the body's immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue, shortly after giving birth.
"I was at work one day when I started feeling some intense pain in my joints. I went to my doctor and he sent me to do some tests, and the results showed I had lupus. When I heard, I was shocked; I had no idea what lupus was. From that day on, everything went downhill."
For approximately three months, Plummer was paralysed, had unexplainable bouts of fever, and could not work for five consecutive years.
"I started reading up on the condition, eating accordingly and exercising. I had gone back to school and started getting my life back on track."
But since the middle of this year, Plummer explained that things have taken a turn for the worse.
Two months ago, she was diagnosed with renal failure as a result of the lupus and shortly after, developed ulcerative colitis, which is inflammation of the colon, resulting in increased bowel movement and blood in the stool.
"I was working - going on fine, but I went to do some tests because I'm on the clinic at the hospital. It had been a while since I had done a kidney test, so they told me to do one. The results came back in July; they said my kidneys were fully functional, but weak. Within a month of that result, my kidneys deteriorated very fast. When I got admitted in hospital in July, they told me I needed an emergency surgery because my kidneys were failing rapidly."
Plummer, who has been in and out of the hospital since June and only just returned home two weeks ago, said she was unable to walk for that two-month period.
"It's been a rough, rough road - a very challenging situation. I had to resign from my job. I was working for two full years, but then when I got sick again, I just had to leave. I was admitted, over the time, in three different hospitals due to the complications."
Plummer said it was while being in hospital that she developed the ulcerative colitis, after being treated for the wrong condition.
"The medication I was getting at one point damaged my colon. Now I have to be wearing diapers because of the frequency of the bowel action; at one point I was bleeding heavily from the anus. Even if I don't eat, it (stool) comes. I have to buy diapers every other day because I have a bowel action sometimes up to eight times per day."
She also has to make the trips for dialysis twice per week in May Pen (GSL Dialysis Centre), at a cost of approximately $30,000 each week.
"The bleeding has stopped and I am now able to walk a little, but I worry about not being there for my son."
She continued as the emotional pain took over, "My son's father and I are not together, but he is active in his (son's) life. I still worry every day that I won't be around; it's a nightmare for me that I may not be around for him when he reaches college or even high school. This disease is so unpredictable; you are good today, and tomorrow you wake up in pain and your body is shutting down."
With mounting medical bills, and an uncertainty of whether she will see her son achieve his dreams, Plummer remains hopeful in God.
"I just have to trust God. It's not easy thinking about not being there for your child because of an illness; it's not easy knowing that this can get worse; it's not easy knowing that there is medication there for you to feel better, but you have to buy the generic brand because that is all you can afford; it's not easy fighting a condition that is constantly fighting you back with medication that is killing you slowly. But it's just me, these three conditions and God."
Having thought of seeking treatment overseas, an ailing Plummer admitted that the thought cannot be materialised as her family cannot afford the associated expenses.
"The doctors here are saying there is very little they can do for me and so I have visited a naturopath to see if they can help me. I can't live the rest of my life in physical and emotional pain and frustration. I have to seek help, and remain positive - not just for me, but for my son."
To help kadine Plummer email her at kadine
firstname.lastname@example.org or make donations through her GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/kadines-lupus-medical-funds?pc=fb_co_dashboard_