She weighs less than 40 kilograms today, at 40 years old. She can barely stand, she has not eaten any solid food in months, and all the medical procedures that had been suggested in the Slovenian hospital where she was forced to go failed due to the Slovenian system with long waiting lists for everything, so she needed to start a treatment in Austria, which is hard again now, because of bureaucratic and administrative, insurance related issues.
I am not an expert in the medical field but I will try to explain what happens here. Here are the facts.
Staša Bukovec has long suffered from Crohn’s disease. It is a severe, chronic illness but which can be controlled and which, treated correctly, does not fully incapacitate the patient. The Crohn’s disease affects the gastrointestinal tract, due to reasons so far unknown: there may be immune, genetic, bacterial and environmental factors which lead to it. The result is such that the patient’s own immune system eventually attacks the gastrointestinal tract and practically the body goes on a slow self-destruct mode. There are many side effects of the illness which affect and alter the patient’s quality of life: anemia (when you can barely stand on your own feet), severe skin rashes, chronic fatigue. Also, the bowel does not manage the food transit as it would in a normal person’s situation. There may be symptoms of either diarrhea, or constipation and, in more severe cases, intestinal blockage.
This is what happened to Staša several months ago. Anything she attempted to eat would result in severe, excruciating abdominal pains. The diagnostic (which was also established with great delay) was that of a blockage in the bowel; there was no way she could eat anything else. She had to switch to liquid food. Her body weight quickly melted away and she now weights a little more than my children. I repeat: she is 40 years old.
Staša Bukovec and her exhausted family sought help in Austria. The doctor who addressed the issue quickly drafted an action plan, based on her own experience in treating such severe conditions and indicated that the blockage in her bowel should be treated with a biomedical solution called REMICADE. Google it and see how much that costs!
Many of her friends and a lot of other anonymous people gladly offered her help with donations, either through PayPal or through a GoFundMe page. Her preliminary tests, as well as the medicine she needed, to begin with, were paid with the invaluable help of all those donations. We would have liked to see that more help is being offered from the institutions that are surely able to do so in Slovenia. Has that happened? It is not merely a rhetorical question.
Taking Remicade is like undergoing chemotherapy. Once you stop, you must continue until the end and take all the necessary doses – it would have been the only chance for the blockage in Stasa’s bowel to begin “melting” away and leaving her body eventually. You may ask why she has not undergone surgery. She has already undergone enough surgeries and there is nothing else left to cut from her bowel, the only other options being either a transplant (needed quickly and therefore practically impossible) or a faecal bag collector which she would have to wear for the rest of her life (which she cannot manage by herself, and her family members are also old and ill).
The Austrian doctor, with a kind heart and a good will, was even ready to donate the first dose of Remicade right away, so that Staša may begin. The generous people who donated helped pay the rest.
Despite our best efforts, her situation severely worsened. The blockage in her bowel caused a bowel perforation. She needs immediate surgery to fix the rupture and finally clear the blockage. This is no longer a matter of attempts, of long-time treatments, of bureaucracy. We are taking about a LIFE AND DEATH situation. We are talking about a matter of days, of hours.
We are talking, but no one hears. The surgery which is needed TODAY, to save her life, cannot be done in Slovenia. It has to be done in Austria. She has to pay for it. It is more than 20,000 euro, an amount of money she does not have, an amount of money we could probably raise through donations in one or two years. One of her friends (because she DOES HAVE FRIENDS) said they would try to get a loan from the bank despite of already having a mortgage. Another friend offered to donate a part of her own bowel for reconstructive surgery or transplant. These are selfless people who would do whatever lies within their power to help her.
Yesterday, with her last remaining powers, Staša told me she cannot wait to die and to be over with all this, to stop being a burden for her family and for us, her friends who love her. I cannot comment her statement without becoming overly emotional so I will refrain from doing so.
To those who have the power to do so: get her a helicopter and transport her to the hospital in Austria so that she may undergo the life-saving surgery. Help her, dear Slovenia, because you can. I will not believe that a European Union Country cannot afford to pay for the surgery of one of her citizens. Save Staša’s life.
If you want to support her financially, let me just tell you that every Euro counts. Please donate if you can.
Below, you shall find the Karitas IBAN account information, which collects money for Stasa’s treatment and who are making sure all the amounts are going to be used accordingly, for her medical treatment.
Nadškofijska Karitas Maribor
IBAN: SI56 0417 3000 1196 398 BIC: SI00 292110
PURPOSE: Pomoc Stasi Bukovec
CODE OF THE PURPOSE: CHAR
You can also help by using her postal address to send money:
Ob Mezi 12
Also, a GoFundMe Page:
If you wish to help in other ways, contact me and I shall do my best to assist (write a comment under this article and we shall get in touch immediately)
Published originally on Extraordinary People