Sickle cell patient seeks funds for heart x-ray
STAR Writer It has been a challenging life for 43-year-old Michelle Cumberland, who was born with the sickle cell disease, but now her situation has been made even more difficult since developing a heart condition, which will require $1.3 million to be addressed.
Cumberland, an unemployed mother of three, was diagnosed with an enlarged heart late last year after doctors found a blockage in her heart. Now they need to do an angiogram (special X-Ray of the heart using dyes), which will tell doctors the exact location of the blockage so it can be rectified.
Cumberland, who hails from Mountain View, St Andrew, said she had been experiencing excruciating pain for over two years before going to doctors about it.
"Whenever I lift up heavy objects or hackle up miself, me heart start beat fast and pain me," she said.
Cumberland said she ignored the symptoms because her mother had told her that her pains might be caused by her constant consumption of coffee. However, her condition continued to deteriorate even after excluding coffee from her diet.
"Mi realise say it start get worse over time. It reach a point where sometime me get paralysed and can't even move fi tell someone nearby say me sick," Cumberland explained.
In late 2014, Cumberland's attacks started to occur more frequently and intensely, forcing her to consult a doctor.
"The sickle cell clinic advised me to do an Electrocardiogram (ECG) test and when I took the results to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), they explained I have a blockage in my heart and admitted me for treatment for two weeks because of the seriousness of the condition.
Cumberland is currently on seven different types of medication to combat the ailment, but these only serve as a form of band-aid treatment, until the angiogram can be done. The operation was originally slated for January 20, but could not be done due to the lack of funds.
She has since rescheduled it to April 12 with hopes that she will get assistance with the exorbitant bill by then.
Doing the surgery will not only provide relief to Cumberland, but also her three children, who are 17,10 and 5 years old. She says they are aware of her illness, especially the eldest one who takes it particularly hard.
According to Cumberland, she has always been a hardworking woman and was never one to look for handouts,but her situation has become dire.
"I was always working. I worked in supermarket, patty places and pizza restaurant, and I send my kids to school from it, but when the sickness got worse I had to stop." she said.
Now, Cumberland has no source of income as her parents are deceased, her children's fathers are either dead or absent, and she cannot seek employment because of her condition. Her only source of assistance is her church family, which often donates food and helps with purchasing medication.
Although a proud woman, Cumberland has put pride aside to seek the public's assistance to pay for her surgery, especially for the sake of her children. Anyone wishing to assist her can contact her at (876)879-0732.