I’m Sharing A Big Secret To Help Save Jason Rubacky’s Mom

I don’t publicly talk about this ever, but I have nothing to hide and the opportunity came up to help some really great people, so I’m going to share my story.

Prior to spilling my secret, I want to talk about the people this could help. Jason Rubacky is an acquaintance of mine from the affiliate marketing industry. While I haven’t had a chance to hang out with him in person a ton, as you know in the online marketing world, that doesn’t mean much when 90% of your business, and sometimes social interactions happen online.

Jason’s mother suffers from several chronic illnesses. There are a ton of good causes out there to support, but this one is personal- and you should treat it the same way. It’s not my story to tell, so for more about the details of Jason’s mom’s condition, click here to read his post and contribute: Save Jason’s Mom.

My story, and the reason I take this so personally is I also suffer from several chronic diseases. At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with JRA- also known as Juvenile (or Junior if you want) Rheumatoid Arthritis. For those not familiar, it’s an auto-immune disease that attacks your joints and causes them to swell. Unlike other forms of arthritis, it doesn’t necessarily limit itself to a few areas of your body. It can also effect your organs, mental health- everything. It’s terrible. It’s painful, it messes with your head, and it makes you sick frequently because your body spends so much time fighting for your joints it doesn’t have the energy left to fight anything else.

This alone wasn’t absolutely terrible, as I had a milder form of the arthritis that was usually manageable with medication.

Last year, however, you may remember a little story about a road trip to Austin I took with Stephanie Lichtenstein (@MicroSteph) and Walt Ribeiro (@WaltRibeiro). If not, I won’t retell it but read the full recap here: Road Trip from Hell. In addition for thanking them again for tolerating hell, I’d like to thank them for being wonderfully supportive. They are another part of the reason I wanted to share this with you- people Jason, Steph, Walt and everyone who is reaching out to support http://savejasonsmom.org/ are insanely helpful- whether it means spreading the word, supporting the person going through the illness, or making a donation to help.

Because I had been working so much and worry about my health so little, I didn’t think much of taking a road trip to Austin last minute with flights being sold out or insanely expensive. Well, that road trip led to bronchitis day 2 of the trip, which caused a lung infection a week later, which put me on so much medication in addition to my regular meds I ended up with another chronic disorder- of the blood this time, protein C deficiency (to save yourself the trouble of Wikipedia’ing this, click here). While JRA/RA and the blood deficiency are considered genetic disorders, I have regular blood tests due to the RA and had never tested positive for any other chronic illnesses until after this trip.

I’m not at all being dramatic when I tell you I almost died last year. I was tired all the time, my blood wasn’t clotting properly, and no one could figure out how, why, or what to do to stop it. I couldn’t work full time, or at all really, because between my joints hurting all the time and bleeding like crazy from a minor cut, I was pretty much bed ridden. I’m getting better, but remember, chronic means you deal with it for life- it never really goes away.

I wasn’t going to share all this because it’s not really relevant to what I talk about on a day-to-day basis in my blog, tweets, facebook, etc. I know what Jason’s family is going through though, and it sucks.

While we don’t share the same conditions, we share the same pain. Not working full time means no health insurance. Have you ever tried to get health insurance when you have a pre-existing condition? If you’re even able to find a provider, your deductible (the amount you have to pay before the insurance can actually kick in) can be in the hundreds of thousands- or even the millions. Insurance companies can actually refuse to cover the specific conditions you’ve been diagnosed with because you’re too much of a liability. Not only do you have to cover basic bills like rent or a mortgage, food, car, insurance, utilities, and so on and so forth, but there’s doctor visits, specialty visits, treatments, medications, surgeries. You not only pay for the visit to the hospital- but for every little needle they stick in your arm, every person who walks into your room, every machine they hook you up to to figure out what’s wrong.

While you can actually end up hitting the deductible in one hospital visit, can you actually afford it?! I know I couldn’t, and still can’t. It actually becomes impossible to survive the basics, let alone keep up with medical expenses.

Let’s say you actually have insurance and do some basic math:

One General MD doctor’s visit a week: $30 x 4 = $120

Three specialist visits a week @ $50/ each: $150 x 4 = $600

Two treatments a week @ $50/ each: $100 x 4 = $400

An MRI and a CAT scan = $500

5 medications @ $10 each (assuming there’s a generic brand) = $50 x 4 = $200

Add those up and assuming you didn’t have to make an emergency visit to the ER and what’s your monthly total, just to maintain your condition? $1820- WITH INSURANCE! AND YOU’RE NOT WORKING FULL TIME!

And that’s just the physical and financial side. While I won’t go into the details of what kind of havoc it wreaks on you emotionally to always worry about getting pneumonia when someone else has a cold, or maintaining relationships when even if you wanted to get out of bed in the morning, you physically can’t. It’s hard. It’s impossible to deal with without a support system, and even with one it’s near impossible to cope with.

Listen, I know there’s a million good causes out there, and I’m not telling you not to support any of them. I’m just saying I can relate to this one and I hope this helped clarify what Jason and his mom and the rest of their family are going through.

If you’ve never had to deal with a chronic illness you may not really understand what it’s like. It can have a similar stigma to homelessness- well if they got a job, they could afford all these things. I’m here to tell you, you can’t. Even working full time, if you’re able to get your disease under control, it’s almost impossible to keep up. Insurance doesn’t fix it. It helps (you don’t even want to know how much the numbers above would skyrocket if you didn’t have insurance), but it doesn’t solve the problem.

I’m not sure I would have ever shared this with those of you who don’t already know had this not come up. I’m sorry, but maybe that’s further proof that this is something that is really hard to share and even harder to deal with.

If this helped give you even a little insight into what’s going on and why Jason created his site, I hope you help out. To get more information, support Jason’s cause, or make a donation, go to his site, http://savejasonsmom.org/.