Bonnie Craig has to turn to others for help with medical expenses.

Turning to crowd funding for help

Medical system fails Sooke woman, financial burden difficult

Bonnie Craig received the best present for Christmas that she could possibly ask for this year. She has been sleeping soundly in her own bed since early December, surrounded by her children after leaving Royal Jubilee Hospital’s Hospice Care. Craig is a 49-year-old single mother with four children, three of whom have mental handicaps.  She has been enduring physical, emotional and psychological torment for far too long over sickness and injuries that she thinks should rightfully be covered by the health care system.

A former registered nurse, she knows the system from the inside out. But little did she realize that she would be taken for a roller coaster ride through the very system she worked hard for and supported. The only response she has heard from doctors of late is “I’m sorry”, but “’too bad, so sad’ just doesn’t cut it,” she said.

Her problem began two years ago, when she injured her knee at work. She was working as a full-time RN at the Sunset Lodge when it happened. She also owned her own foot care business. After her injury, she couldn’t walk without excruciating pain, so she successfully applied for WCB.

Her MRI scan showed swelling, and was deemed to be a “very bad sprain.” Sadly she was recommended physiotherapy, chiropathy and that she see an orthopaedic surgeon. She was cut off of WCB in October 2013 as the WCB doctors report said her it was a degenerative mensicus knee injury due to age even though an orthopaedic surgeon said the mensicus knee injury was work-related and needed surgery. After attempting to return to work she was sent home, not being able to walk. She is appealing WCB with BCNU and while it is in the court system, and she has exhausted all of her sick and vacation leave to pay for monthly expenses at home. At this time she applied for LTD (Long Term Disability).

In April 2014, six months later, she was accepted to receive LTD (70 per cent of her wages) but was cut off in November 2014, as LTD said she passed the two year allowance, which LTD considered the time she spend away from work, and not the time she started receiving it.

Her second MRI in October revealed a tear in her knee (an injury, not degenerative) as well as breast cancer which was not revealed to her for two months. She underwent knee surgery and jaw surgery. Meanwhile she was having heart problems but was told there was “nothing wrong” with her heart and that her problem was “hereditary.” She was then told to go back to work and provide for her own training after being cut off of LTD.

The breast cancer invaded her lymph nodes and had spread all along her spine and would require surgery and chemotherapy.  After being misdiagnosed for a year by specialists who told her her cancer pain was caused by knee and back problems and that she should see an orthopaedic specialist, the truth was revealed to her upon receiving her bone scan report. The excruciating pain she had endured while waiting for treatment finally made sense.  As her cancer spread, the stress of waiting had become unbearable, not to mention the humiliation she endured upon being told that “it was all in her head.”

Craig is a finally home for the time being under hormonal treatment until she returns to the hospital in January for another CT SCAN on her back to see if the radiation has shrunk any of the painful tumors. She will then have other tumors radiated which are called “hot spots” because she can not receive the radiation treatment all at once.  If the hormonal treatment has not been aggressive enough to stop the spread of her cancer, she will undergo chemotherapy.

While she remains optimistic that her current treatment plan will work, she says she has been hurt by the health care system’s impersonal and non-professional actions. If she had known in September she could have had treatment then, not now.

Her wish is that doctors and specialists “listen to the patients, thoroughly examine and then follow through to alleviate unnecessary suffering.  Please don’t blame the victims!” she insisted.  Not knowing where to turn for help, she started a ‘gofundme.com’ campaign.

“Without the help from others, the stress, and burden would seem overwhelming for anyone trying to make it alone financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually… but the children can see the stress and the burden through you, they can also see the help my family is receiving by reading and being thankful for every comment and donation sent to our family as they know it helps ease the stress and burden for our family and my continuing healing along this long difficult journey” she said.

Bonnie Craig’s ‘go fund me’ blog and campaign can be found at:   gofundme.com/i3iOew

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