by Hayley Stuart
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2019
Firstly, the biggest thank you from the family and I for all the generous donations, and messages of support so far. We have all been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.
Rachel has had the scariest 2 months of her life. To recap my original article (below), she gave birth to her 4th child in July but instead of being home enjoying this time with her son and other children, she has had multiple health issues.
It began with DVT, and blood clots shattering in her lungs, followed by the discovery of retained matter in her uterus that caused her to almost bleed out, and needed surgical removal. But the most serious is the heart condition – cardiomyopathy – which took her heart function down to just 25%.
During this time, they have remained optimistic that the heart would repair somewhat and give her a better quality of life. But after a follow up this week, her heart function has dropped to just 15% capacity, and within hours, a pacemaker was surgically implanted in her chest, which will activate should her heart go into de-fib. The plan from doctors now is a heart transplant – in the future.
It’s hard enough to type this, let alone have to live it as Rachel has for months, all the while looking after 4 young children. The medical list above is unimaginable to you and I, but the family are holding it together and accepting help in ways they never thought they would have to.
Thanks to the funds raised so far, they have been able to tread water financially, but recovery will be long and there will be no income for them for many months ahead. So we continue to fundraise for them and hope the generosity continues. Please see the end of this article for a link to her GO FUND ME page.
I have never had to write anything like this in my life – but my friend Rachel urgently needs help.
The Thomas’s are a young local family from Ryde with 4 kids aged 6 and under. Rachels first 3 pregnancies went smoothly and the 4th looked to be the same way, but just 3 hours after discharge, Rachel realised a pain in her leg needed to be looked at. Reluctantly, they went to ER, only to find out there was much more at play than they originally thought.
The pain was from a blood clot from DVT, which had travelled to her lungs and then shattered. This could have been a dire situation had it gone to her brain, but in the lungs, it gives a heavy chest pain and impacts breathing. For Rachel, further clots were also a concern, as well as dissolving the one in her lung with medication. This in itself is a major issue to manage but there was more.
The test Rachel underwent uncovered and underlying heart conditions – Cardio Myopathy, SVT and VT. This meant Rachel’s heart was only functioning at 25% capacity. To compensate her heart was 30% enlarged, beating out of rhythm and up to 220 bpm – a near-fatal level.
She was rushed to intensive care with her newborn and remained in recovery for over 2 weeks while they medicated, monitored and decided what to do.
During this time, her thoughts were always about her family – making sure they were looked after and asking if she could go home to be with them while also trying to continue feeding her newborn and choosing a medical plan that wouldn’t get in the way of this.
After over 2 weeks in intensive care recovery, she was released. Her mood lifted to be close to family again, but it’s been a tough reality check as she has been told she will never have her health back as it was before.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the issues though and a week later she began to bleed heavily and was rushed to emergency again, finding out after multiple transfusions that she has a piece of retained product still in her uterus, so is now having surgery to have this removed.
A more involved and caring mother, you have never met. Everyone who meets Rachel is taken in by her warmth and genuine caring nature. She is everything to her family, taking on the role of stay at home mum to 4 – and relishing in every minute of it. In terms of assistance, sadly her own mother passed away just a few months ago, and her husband Simon’s family are overseas.
Long term, the Thomas family have major challenges ahead. If Rachel is strong enough to fight through all these issues, she will be severely limited in what she can do and will need a lot of ongoing assistance. Her husband Simon is holding everything together, but as a self-employed electrician, he has been unable to work while looking after Rachel and their children and during these hard times, depleting their savings.
This is where we come in. The Thomas’s are a proud and private family, who are reluctant to ask for help, so it has taken some serious convincing to allow us to share this on their behalf. We would like Rachel to come out of hospital and still have a home to go to. We would like Simon to worry just about Rachel and the kids, and not finances. So I ask you to give generously to keep this beautiful family financially afloat for the next few months when they need it the most.
Please donate any amount you can – and please share the link far and wide: CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT RACHEL AND HER FAMILY.