Lumby’s Miriam Hoekstra (centre), mother of three kids, is undergoing health issues and post-surgery complications after a cyst the size of a melon was discovered on her ovary and fallopian tube. A GoFundMe page has been started by a family member as Hoekstra faces being off work for at least a year. (GoFundMe photo)

Campaign begins to help Lumby woman taken ill

Miriam Hoekstra originally had cyst removed, but is suffering from severe post-surgery complications

A Lumby woman devoted to being a care aide needs help herself.

Miriam Hoekstra is dealing with post-surgery complications and her sister-in-law, Kate Hoekstra, has started a GoFundMe page on behalf of Miriam as she faces a long road of recovery.

Earlier this year, Miriam began experiencing extreme pain. In April, she was diagnosed with a cyst the size of a melon on her ovary and fallopian tube. She underwent a hysterectomy on June 15.

While doctors thought the surgery went well, Miriam was not recuperating as she should. It was discovered her bowel had been lacerated and she was then raced into surgery. Doctors were not able to repair the bowel so Miriam was given an ostomy bag to wear for at least months. But if the organ doesn’t heal, she can expect to wear the bag for life.

Since the bag was put in place, Miriam has become septic and had more than nine litres of fluid drained from her body as her kidneys stopped functioning. The extra weight of the retained water caused her lungs to collapse. She is currently on heavy doses of antibiotics which are still not killing all the infections in her body.

“When her kidneys failed, Miriam was moved to Kelowna where she could receive regular dialysis,” said Kate. “This helped for a few days, but then her hemoglobin dropped significantly so they sent her for a blood transfusion. Shortly after the transfusion fluid entered her lungs and she went into a coma. Emergency dialysis resulted in four litres of fluids being removed from her body.”

Miriam awoke from the coma, she appeared to be doing much better but still had no kidney function.

Miriam is now out of intensive care, but her heart continues to be problematic, and they have yet to diagnose the cause. They want to give her another blood transfusion but are not able to because she may have to go on a transplant list, and a transfusion could result in too many different antibodies in her body, which could cause her to reject a new kidney.

“Doctors are putting Miriam on a regular dialysis schedule and have surgically inserted a piece of equipment to facilitate the long-term removal of fluids and allow some of the tubes in her neck to be removed,” said Kate. “Hopefully her kidneys wake up.”

Miriam has three children aged 16, nine and five waiting for their mom. She has spent years of her life as a care aide but is unable to work, for at least a year, said Kate.

“This is going to be very hard for her physically, emotionally, and financially,” said Kate, hoping the GoFundMe page will help remove some of the financial pressure, and thereby some of the emotional stress.”

The goal is for $20,000 to be reached for Miriam.

READ MORE: Vernon recovery program receives donation



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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