At 25 years old, Addy Kimbrell’s life took a drastic turn. She’d always been healthy, so when she began having serious back pain, Addy didn’t think much of it. But one day in December of 2020, she knew something was seriously wrong.
I’d been laying on my couch, and when I tried to get up I felt something kind of snap in my back, then I felt numbness going down my leg. That was when my bladder and bowel issues started. My doctor ended up getting me an MRI, and they saw that I had this really rare injury called cauda equina syndrome, which is where a bundle of nerves in your back meet and those nerves specifically get damaged.
A herniated disc in Addy’s back was the cause of her diagnosis, through no fault of her own. Unfortunately, the only treatment option for the syndrome is surgery.
“It was an emergency and I didn’t really have a choice. Something had to be done, so I just had to do it.”
“The risk of not undergoing surgery was increased damage to my nerves or possibly even paralysis. It was an emergency, and I didn’t really have a choice. Something had to be done, so I just had to do it.”
However, Addy’s intense pain continued the year after surgery. When she moved to Atlanta, Addy saw new doctors to get a second opinion, and they discovered the same disc had herniated again. She was once again faced with emergency surgery and mounting medical bills.
“Needless to say, I decided it was best to have surgery again despite already being in extreme debt from the first go around. I have had health insurance coverage this whole time, it unfortunately is just not the best around, but it is the best I can afford.”
When we caught up with Addy, she was about nine weeks post-surgery and already feeling better physically. Doctors took the disc out of her back entirely and put in metal hardware to prevent any further issues. While her pain has decreased, and she’s optimistic about a full recovery, the whole experience has taken a toll.
Having to deal with the financial repercussions of an emergency injury that has to be treated as well as still being in the middle of trying to get better—honestly the best way I can describe it is cruel.
“I am a single adult woman and so I’m fully responsible for every part of my life. Having to deal with the financial repercussions of an emergency injury that has to be treated as well as still being in the middle of trying to get better—honestly the best way I can describe it is cruel.”
Luckily, Addy found out about CaringWays and immediately set up a campaign to raise $8,000. Within 24 hours, her goal was not only met, but people continued to donate.
I can’t even explain the way in which CaringWays genuinely has changed my life. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that.
“I’m still dealing with the financial repercussions, which is why something like CaringWays is such an amazing platform. I can’t even explain the way in which it genuinely has changed my life. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that. Going through CaringWays takes a lot of the responsibility off the patient’s shoulders, and [some campaigns are] designed for people’s contributions to be tax deductible, which is another huge benefit. I know that was a big part of people choosing to donate large amounts to my campaign. I am just so incredibly thankful for community and the people who love me that they want to be generous and give and invest in my life and have chosen to do that in this way.”
Today, Addy is able to focus on her future and her career in the music industry. She also wants to help others who find themselves in similar situations, which is why she chose to share her story and is working to spread the word about CaringWays.
“Going through my experiences with healthcare in America, it’s really important for me now to educate people on what it looks like and the effect it can have on people. I’m excited to find more real, tangible ways that I can do that work and hopefully just educate people so that at the end of the day, we are all in a better situation.”