January 17, 2010

Sherri's Story

Hi, my name is Sherri Jensen.

As is the case with all moms I wear a thousand different hats. As mothers, we become professionals in almost everything: being a nurse, debater, taxi-driver, school teacher, chef, scriptorian, the law and judgment for those moments of childhood arguments, music teacher, spiritual teacher and the most important, we are the ones who always carry the balm of love to heal our child's wounds.

I am 44 years old, a mother of eight and a wife of 21 years. I have spent significant amounts of time with my children preparing them for their futures.

We are a musical family and we perform often in many different venues. We tour once a year spreading the gospel and adding credence to the principle of family. I want to perform with them in days ahead.

Over the years I have had lower back pain but through therapy and exercise I have managed to maintain a very active lifestyle. On November 4, 2009 my back brought me the familiar pain of trouble. I began all the procedures of getting back on my feet. For 5 weeks I had no improvements. I finally decided to get an MRI to see why I couldn't get better as I had many other times.

The MRI showed two extremely herniated discs. My doctor suggested decompression treatments. I took 11 of these treatments but it only continued to worsen. I have now been in bed for 11 weeks. The pain has intensified every day for the last 3 weeks. Every day I can do less and less until now I am completely bed-ridden. I have finally come to the point where the pain is so intense that I must seek surgical care.

David, who was employed with Novell for 20 years was laid off last February, 2 weeks shy of 1 year ago. He has sought employment in every way we can think of but it is a difficult time. He is starting his own business in order to generate income. We are not on our feet, financially speaking. We still have all 8 children at home. We are truly in need at this time.

Through a series of miracles I have come to be a candidate for a highly successful laser surgery. Only 12% of the applicants are accepted and scheduled for surgery mostly based on whether the surgery would help. I am one of them. This clinic only takes patients that they KNOW they can help. I feel it is a miracle to be part of the 12%. I have been scheduled for surgery on January 27, 2010, just 9 days away. I have to pay the bill of $22,500 in full the day prior to surgery.

We have exhausted our savings over the past year of unemployment and have no insurance. In order for me to walk again, sleep again, be a mother again I must have surgery. Please help us - help me get my life back and resume my duties in a myriad of different roles in my every day mothering.

Thank you in advance for your kindness and compassion.

Sherri Jensen


TamiG said...

Love you Sherri. My thoughts/prayers and what I can offer are with you!

Anonymous said...

Love all you guys. I'm praying for you all the time. I see the $ increasing. Aren't people great!

Love Reen

Jeff, Christa, and Evelyn said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Hope you don't mind, but we posted a link to your blog on ours and have asked for our friends and families to remember you and help however they feel they can.

Jeff, Christa, and Evelyn said...

Sherri, I don't know if you have considered this, but another way to raise awarness of your situation and possible get some help may be to see if a local news station would run a story. I looked up the contact information for KSL if you would like.

Again, all our prayers are with you.

Eyewitness News
Report breaking news or to inform KSL
of a newsworthy story.

Janelle said...

I really wish I could help, but at the moment we're just trying to hold ourselves together and get my medical issues taken care of too. I will include you in my prayers and pass on your story so others can help as able. What a miracle to be okayed for the procedure! I sure hope and pray it works out for you.

Angie said...

Oh, Sherri! I'm so sorry to hear that. I miss you guys so much. I'll see what we can do.

Angie Lofthouse

Aleen said...

Sherri, have your tried "Inversion Therapy?" See www.losethebackpain for a free download of their book and countless viable options besides surgery. . .

Please consider these other possibilities first. Magnetic therapies, far infrared treatments, and much more is available to you. I've had back pain due to a crushed tailbone after a serious fall and understand how devastating it is. My oldest son had surgery for seriously herniated discs, and still deals with pain daily.

I'll send you more suggestions soon. Please read the information on the above website, Sherri. Keep praying for guidance and inspiration. You can probably avoid surgery.

Sincerely, a sister in the gospel,

Vickee Barker said...

I am praying for your miracle, too. Many people want to see you up and about. I emailed all my friends with your story. We will do what we can.
Vickee Barker

Tamara said...

Good luck to you and your family Sherri!! Our prayers are with you! By the way I love the videos you have on your blog of the kids they play so beautifully!

Tamara Farr

Anonymous said...

:) You're a friend of a friend, I know everything will work out, it always does, because everything is in God's hands, I wish you the very best.
Prayers and thoughts,
- A friend

Anonymous said...

I have a few questions:
1) Are you confident that this clinic is legitimate? It sounds a little fishy when they set tight deadlines and insist on full payment in advance. If you don't have the money this month, will they reschedule for a future date?

2) If you don't have the funds and they don't reschedule, will you return the money to those who have donated? What will happen to the money collected? Have you kept a list of donors and their addresses?

3) Have you exhausted all other options? Applying for medicaid? Can your three children over 16 and your husband get any jobs at all to create income? Could your family put on a benefit concert in your community? Do you have any recordings of your group that you could market? Do you have a home that you could take a 2nd mortgage out on? Have you considered the options suggested by Aleen?

You have a beautiful family. I am a friend of a friend and a fellow Latter Day Saint, and you don't seem like the kind of family that would feel comfortable asking people to pay for a surgery for you unless you've exhausted every other option. I have considered donating, but I fear that this clinic is not legitimate and that you could either end up swindled or injured. I hope you have considered all of your options and are making the best choice for your physical and spiritual well-being.

Please believe, I have only the best intentions in saying this.

Jensen Family said...

Anonymous asked some valid questions – here are some short answers. Written by Heather (the blog moderator and a friend of Sherri).

1) Are you confident that this clinic is legitimate? It sounds a little fishy when they set tight deadlines and insist on full payment in advance. If you don't have the money this month, will they reschedule for a future date?

We thought it might be a little fishy too, so we looked into the clinic a little more. They are certainly a legitimate and real medical facility, and the laser procedure has definitely helped cure many back problems. However, we also found out that their business practices are not always “top notch” and customer service is not something they’re known for. At this time the Jensens are researching more about this institute. If it turns out that the surgery is not all that they claim, then Sherri will not go through with it. The last thing she wants is to leave the facility in worse condition then when she went in. If she doesn’t have the money this month, then they would reschedule her for next month.

2) If you don't have the funds and they don't reschedule, will you return the money to those who have donated? What will happen to the money collected? Have you kept a list of donors and their addresses?

The Jensen’s have saved the names and addresses of all the donors and if they are not able to go through with the surgery, then the donations would be refunded in full. Paypal makes it easy to refund any donations received through them.

3) Have you exhausted all other options? Applying for medicaid? Can your three children over 16 and your husband get any jobs at all to create income? Could your family put on a benefit concert in your community? Do you have any recordings of your group that you could market? Do you have a home that you could take a 2nd mortgage out on? Have you considered the options suggested by Aleen?

Many other options have been exhausted. Medicaid will not cover the surgery. The oldest son does work and her husband has been working to start up his own business, but it takes time. The money they earn isn’t even enough to meet the basic needs of a family of 10. The family is currently in Arizona performing at many places where they do earn a good amount of money. Most of it will be used to pay for basic living expenses in the coming months (food, shelter, electricity).

I believe they already have a second mortgage on their home that they took out to help pay for huge medical expenses for one their children several years ago. They have received many generous donations, but will likely still need to pay for 25% or more of the surgery fee themselves. Some of the money earned from their concerts could be used to pay for the remaining part of the fee.

Sherri has undergone a number of alternative treatments, which in the past have helped, but none of them has provided any relief this time. She continues to utilize several alternative modalities in an effort to ease her pain on a day-to-day basis. Sherri was adamantly against traditional back surgery throughout this whole ordeal, but when she found out about a relatively new laser procedure she felt it was the right procedure for her – it’s much less invasive and the recovery time is usually just a few days (versus a few weeks). The risks associated with this type of surgery are also much lower than those of traditional open-back surgery and that is why she felt more comfortable with this option.

If you have additional questions for Sherri, you may email her at jensenfamily10@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

Sherri, my thoughts and prayers are with you today. May the surgery go well & be successful is a prayer I will have in my heart all day. Love all of your family soooo much!


Anonymous said...

I have a few questions to help understand the request for public assistance.

1. What is the name of the clinic, address, doctors name and the name of the procedure.

2. Why has it taken so long for your husband to find a job of any type? (waiting for a management position)

3. How much money are you contributing to this procedure? (out of your pocket)

4. If you are in need of public assistance how come you can travel so extensively as shown in your pictures.

5. If things are so bad why have you not secured state and federal assistance. (welfare, medicaid)

6. Why have you not secured unemployment?

7. If the pain is so intense you should be on some form of pain relievers, if not, how come?

8. The blog indicates you have an anemic problem, is this due to diet or some other problem. What has the doctor required you to do to cure this problem? Are you going to follow the doctors requirements.

NayLynn said...

Anonymous wants help understanding. I would like to help you. My name is NayLynn. I have been Sherri's closest friend for over 18 years now. She and her family have been through so very many trials and challenges over the years and have triumphed over many of them. This is another one to add to the list.

1. What is the name of the clinic, etc? This is not the path that Sherri would have chosen, but one that was placed before her and looked promising, as all other things she had been trying had failed to help her. Their family was scheduled to do their yearly music tour in Arizona. Sherri had been in bed for 3 months with this back pain. Sherri did NOT want to go. The day before they were scheduled to leave someone emailed her this website www.laserspineinstitute.com. As she investigated it she found that there are only 4 of these clinics in the country - one of which happens to be in the area they would be staying in Arizona so she decided to pursue it further. You are welcome to visit the website yourself and learn more about them and their procedures.

2. Why had it taken so long for her husband to find a job? Her husband has sent out dozens and dozens of resemes and applications throughout the year. A few places looked promising, but he was not hired. He has been working on setting up an internet business, which takes time. But he has not had as much as he needs because he has spent time trying to take care of the family while Sherri has been incapacitated.

3. How much of their own money are they contibuting? Little to nothing. They are totally depleted. Doing music shows is their only source of income right now and is barely enough to cover basic costs of living. Sherri has managed to do several performances even though she is in excrutiating pain.

4. How come they travel so extensively? The pictures you see are from a family vaction taken before her husband was laid off. Also their family has traveled extensively in past years doing their music shows across the country.

5. Why have they not secured state and federal assistance? State and federal assistance requires taking by force (through taxation) earned income from others by threat of losing their personal freedom and property. It is a system that is broken, bankrupt and fundamentally wrong. Sherri has no desire to perpetuate such a system. Rather, she has gratefully accepted the private donations, freely given by those who willingly and lovingly wanted to help, with no pressure or threat to their freedom or property. It was our loving friend, Heather, who came up with the idea to ask friends and family for help. She is the one who set up this blog.

6. Why have you not secured unemployment? Again, it is a fundamentally incorrect program that forcibly takes from those who have earned in order to give to those who have not. The better way is to rely on those who see a need and voluntarily offer help. Their family has been fiercely independent and self-reliant. But this situation has put them beyond their own abilities to overcome.

7. Is she taking pain medications? Sherri has suffered many health problems thoughout her life, many from medications that she has taken over the years. She is susceptible to side effects and tries to avoid medications as much as possible. The pain in her back has been so intense that she has broken down and taken some meds a couple of times only to gain minimal relief.

8. Her anemia is due not to her diet but to another problem. She was miraculously directed to another doctor yesterday that is helping her with that. It is very personal and I will not go into details. Suffice it to say, she is finding releif and healing.

NayLynn said...

Hello again.
I am here to testify that it is often in our darkest moment of despair that the Lord performs His miracles and delivers those who put their trust in Him. Tuesday afternoon, after being rejected for surgery, in such pain and emotional despair that she could hardly think, Sherri and David were miraculously directed to some chiroprators in the area. The chiropractors that Sherri went to Tuesday afternoon and again yesterday morning have not only given her some relief from her back pain, but have been able to help her with other issues that she has been dealing with for years. She is finding relief and healing in so many ways - personal ways that I cannot detail here. But for one who has seen her through so many years of trial and struggle, I am truly amazed at His deliverance and miracles.

She still has a ways to go, and is still planning on the surgery as soon as her iron levels are acceptable, but the Lord is with her and guiding her every step of the way. This path has been blind and difficult to follow, but the Lord is beginning to shine the light and make things more clear.

Thank you all again for your generousity, prayers and concern.


Angie said...

You're so nice (and eloquent), NayLynn. I had a different response in mind. Let's just say it's probably good I didn't post it. :) Love you and Sherri both!

Heather said...

Thank you Naylynn...I was planning on deleting those questions from the comment section because they seemed mean-spirited and not as though the person was genuinely interested in the truth.

Thank you to all of Sherri's friends who have supported her though this trial.

I am going to close this comment section, so that no new comments can be made in this thread. If someone has a new comment they can make it on the "Update" post.