Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time-Out For Tricia

On May 4th, 2013, I did something quite out of the ordinary.  I woke up in the middle of the night somewhere around 1:26 a.m.  With urging that felt like the Holy Spirit, I began to search Facebook. This was out of the ordinary for me because when I wake up in the middle of the night I typically pray. I rarely ever spend time checking out social media because my brain isn't fully functioning yet. I wasn't particularly looking for one thing or another but it wasn't long before I came across an extraordinary young woman.   My news feed led me to one of my best childhood friend's timeline. She had the woman’s story on her page and with curiosity I began to read.  To know my childhood friend Mary, is to know her heart.  Her parents named her perfectly. The woman’s story posted on her page was linked to a fundraiser. The woman, Tricia Moses was diagnosed with a disease that was unfamiliar to anything that I’d ever heard of.  Intrigued, mostly by this woman’s glow and natural beauty I continued to read.  From her picture alone you could almost pick up on the true godliness of her spirit.  What I learned was that Tricia Moses was a beautiful elementary school teacher from Brooklyn, New York. She was diagnosed with Scleroderma, the sister disease of Lupus an autoimmune disease. As I continued reading I learned that Tricia's lungs were virtually turning to stone inside of her body and that she was in very urgent need of a lung transplant.  The fundraising link for Tricia, explained that she would need to temporarily relocate to a global medical center here in the US in order to have this life-saving procedure.  Oddly enough, I felt like I needed to know more. I needed to understand how something like this could even happen. The woman in the picture looked so healthy to me. I wondered if she was born with this disease or if it was something that she just developed.  Instead of just pulling out my debit card, donating and closing my computer; I did the unthinkable and “friend requested”, her on Facebook.  I that the only person that could offer the answers I was in search of was Tricia.  The question was, would she even discuss the very personal circumstances of her disease with me? Well, not only did she accept my friend request but we began to chat in the wee hours of the morning.  Tricia Moses was a gem that night and within minutes I felt like she was one of my oldest girlfriend's.  She is by far one of the sweetest and most humble human being's that I have ever spoken to.  
To date, Tricia along with the help of, “Give Forward”, (, has raised 56% of her $10,000 goal for assistance. This money will help with both her lung transplant and aftercare expenses. This fundraiser will continue until July 21, 2013. No longer able to continue working for the NYC Department of Education where she has been employed for over 13 years Tricia is preparing for a short-term move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This is required by the medical staff at UPMC-The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center {}. All lung patient candidates must be living within close proximity to the hospital. I immediately knew that I had to spring into action quickly if I wanted to be any help to this family. I scheduled a phone interview with Tricia for the next day. I could have kept her on the line for hours.  I asked her everything that I could possibly think of.  I had to keep in mind that we were strangers and I didn't want to be awkwardly invasive.  That’s the beauty and the simplicity of my Creator.   We have this silent loving understanding that we are all truly brothers and sisters in His love.  Tricia has experienced things in this lifetime that an ordinary person would have never been able to cope. She is extraordinary and filled with spirit.  I learned during our phone conversation that in 2005, the love of her life was killed.  As she moved forward from that heart-wrenching loss and pain she focused on being a loving teacher to her 3rd Grade students at P.S. 233. As life went on, Tricia began to experience some uncommon medical issues. Just shy of 33 years-old, this normally healthy and energetic school teacher developed an itchy rash that was treated by her doctor with topical cream.  This rash was the onsite of her current condition but as with many medical conditions in the United States she was misdiagnosed.  In addition to the rash Tricia also developed a persistent cough. This cough also went misdiagnosed and she was treated for asthma.  She was released from the hospital with an albuterol pump for pulmonary relief.  She has actually never suffered with asthma a day in her life. It wasn't until Tricia became pregnant that her actual condition would truly reveal itself.  After a long night of constant violent coughing, Tricia had a miscarriage in her bathroom at home.  She immediately contacted her GYN who wanted to run some tests on the loss fetus.  With no time to deal with the loss of her pregnancy; Tricia was referred to a pulmonologist.  A shocking discovery was made from the test results conducted on the fetus.  This would turn out to be the beginning of Tricia’s own lifesaving journey.  The unborn baby that lost its life would save its mother's.
Tricia was diagnosed with Scleroderma.  The medical definition of Scleroderma is as follows: Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that involves changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. It is a type of autoimmune disorder, a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue”. The fate of this diagnosis would mean the very rapid onset of Tricia losing the normal functionality of her lungs as her body was tricked into believing that they were an enemy.   Slowly, Tricia would be robbed of her ability to breathe on her own. In addition to struggling for air, she suffers from painful joint arthritis, loss of appetite and excessive weight gain from the daily consumption of steroids. Steroids also play a part in altering Tricia’s moods.  She has her good days and she has her bad days.  Oh how this makes me think of the ways that we take our lives for granted.  The ability to hop in and out of the shower at our own leisure has been taken from Tricia who is now totally co-dependent on her oxygen tanks.  I would think that bitterness and anger would have settled into her existence yet the moment that my phone rang all I heard was hope in her voice.  I heard this precious and youthful, life-filled voice on the other line. Tricia Moses is an Angel living here on earth.  Tricia will be receiving her transplant this fall. UPMC, the hospital performing the procedure is a nonprofit global healthcare system. They are internationally renowned for performing life-saving organ transplants. No one in NYC was willing to take the risk of performing this surgery that Tricia so vitally needs to save her life. The Simmons Center, {within UPMC}, is specifically geared toward Interstitial Lung Disease.  The center provides patients and their families with informative support groups which Tricia and her mom have had the pleasure of attending.  These IPF-(Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis) support groups educate patients and their families on the transplant journey. It connects families with candidates that are in similar if not the same predicament. Tricia is fully aware of what is at stake and her unbreakable Faith in God is moving her full speed ahead.  The Simmons Center staff has taken the time to let her know the odds of her upcoming surgery and the odds of her life without it. 
If you are at all as touched by Tricia’s unexpected life-changing journey then I ask that you please donate to her cause. The smallest donation will leave your imprint on changing someone's life. Her story can become any of our own realities in the blink of an eye.  My heart goes out to Tricia so much so that it was extremely difficult for me to write her story. I hope that my empathy and love for her will be reflected in my words.   Tricia and I, are nearly the same age so this really hit close to home for me.  Her love for her mother and for her twin sister Natasha Moses touches me even more.  Her selflessness is beyond admirable. Her mother, a beautiful woman in her 70’s has been by her daughter’s side since Tricia’s ordeal began.  Natasha {her twin}, is taking this extremely hard as we could only expect.  This morning I opened my Bible to the Book of Joshua and  I'd like to say this to Tricia:
Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.
You will win this fight! You will teach the world about Scleroderma!

Much Luv,

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