How YOU Can Help
In addition to the burden of Joe's health problems, his desire to remain gainfully employed full-time to support his family and continue to serve his present and future students requires maxxing out his deductible for health insurance nearly every year
. Thankfully, Joe has successfully discovered a pain management doctor locally who is not only familiar with the treatments Joe has had in the past, but is willing to maintain his current treatment regimen, thus eliminating the need to travel back from Houston to Wisconsin throughout the year to see his doctors there who were responsible for his survival and his ability to stay gainfully employed.
Update: Right now in addition to Joe's monthly medical expenses of $172, Joe wants to save up for a "high dose, Ketamine infusion." This procedure chemically breaks the mind's link to the body, and the hope for this is that 3-5 hours of this disconnect will act as a sort of reset process to calm the nerves and drive down the need, even if only temporarily, for pain medication and the neurostimulator.
Unfortunately, this $1200 procedure is not covered at all by Joe's Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO insurance plan.
Update #2: the one procedure that has actually worked to completely relieve Joe's pain was a continuous epidural feed of a numbing agent applied directly to the spinal cord. Unfortunately even though it was only performed three times, there has been enough build-up of scar tissue to prevent future attempts. However, a chemical has recently been developed that dissolves scar tissue. Joe hopes to possibly have a surgical procedure next summer break to reduce the scar tissue build up that may allow for another one of these epidural procedures.
The procedures have significantly driven down Joe's pain levels to zero during the procedures, and it takes several weeks for the pain to build back to the levels they were right beforehand. Unfortunately, this is another procedure that is not covered with Joe's otherwise decent insurance coverage.
PayPal: send money directly to Joe using firstname.lastname@example.org for the email address. The money is easy to track and 100% of your donation will go directly and exclusively towards his medical expenses. Receipts can be downloaded from PayPal for tax purposes, but Joe can also issue an official "thank you" letter upon request.
Venmo: If it is preferable to you, you can send donations to me here instead.
GoFundMe: send your money using one of the most popular crowdfunding resources. Nearly 8% and a small flat fee are taken from your donation for the benefit of the use of the service, but this may be preferable for those that do not have a PayPal account or would like greater confidence when facing a tax audit than what a personal thank-you letter can provide.
Use the USPS to mail a check or money order to Joe. Email Joe for his address (or contact him another way if you know how). Again, Joe can issue an official and detailed "thank you" letter upon request if it would be beneficial for tax purposes.
No matter the actual value of your donation, neither Joe nor those of us who care about him can articulate how much we appreciate your help with this. It is a difficult thing to admit that you need help from others and no one wishes more than Joe that he had the means of better providing for his family alongside his medical expenses. Please know that your donation will never be used inappropriately and that if you wish to make your donation in confidence, without public acknowledgement, you need only say so.
If you prefer, you can make a donation that more explicitly supports the research into and treatment of Joe's condition. Financial support of this organization would also benefit Joe, though indirectly. It would, of course, also benefit many, many others who are chronic pain survivors.
In truth, while Joe would never turn down anyone's generosity, Joe and his family would be equally appreciative for any and all prayers, well-wishes, and general good thoughts that can be offered on his behalf. Although Joe is loathe to accept pity from anyone, expressions of love and friendship and care in whatever form they come are very much appreciated.