Joanna Alvarez

First post: 7/20/2017
Over the last several years, Joanna has suffered from multiple strokes which have permanently impaired her brain function.  She also has diabetes, pain and difficulty with walking, muscle loss and extremely high blood pressure.  Most recently, she suffered what is believed to be temporary kidney failure and was hospitalized for several days.  In two or three months she will most likely need to go on to dialysis and continue this for the rest of her life. 

While she's still overall the same kind, enthusiastic, curious, life-loving Joanna we knew before, her mental and physical impairments have made it impossible to work regularly or to drive and she is completely dependent on monthly disability payments for her income.  Since October 2016, she has had no home of her own, and has been relying on the charity of many kind and generous friends, bouncing from home to home in multiple states in the US.  Joanna has been struggling to find a way to have a place of her own and live independently and long-term with multiple disabilities and on an extremely low income.  Problems with memory and concentration make it difficult for her to carry out multi-step processes involving researching, making phone calls, keeping records, and taking follow-up actions.

Joanna is quite alone in the world relative to many of us.  Both of her parents have passed away, she is estranged from her siblings, and has no other known/contactable relatives in the US. 

While she does go through periods of relative stability, just about any day is a very tough day for Joanna. Yet even when she is in the hospital a glance at the current posts on her Facebook page might give you the false impression that she fine.  It is easy to be lulled into a sense that things are 'under control' or 'better' and that 'she doesn't want or need to hear from me'.  Unfortunately, lack of real contact with friends  can lead to depression, and the depression can contribute to Joanna neglecting herself (including not taking her insulin- which has happened) and this neglect can bring about a dangerous situation that could cause further permanent impairment or worse.

This site exists to ensure that Joanna receives long-term emotional support from friends through voice calls on a regular basis over the coming months and years. PLEASE click the 'Ways To Help' icon and sign up for a day or days to voice call Joanna, and talk with her about anything for any length of time.  

Another purpose of this site is to provide a simple way for us to keep each other updated about Joanna's health and well-being, so that we might anticipate crisis situations, and step-up our efforts to help her help herself to avoid or handle those situations.

Let's work together to give words of hope and encouragement to Joanna not just through the high-drama days, but also through the bland, unpleasantness of day to day life.  A call from you can put a smile on her face; don't underestimate the power of a minute or two of your time! Feel free to call Joanna on a regular basis (for example, every Monday) or on just one particular day.  Ideally, she would have someone calling her every one or two days.

While Facebook posts and chats are also welcome, nothing can replace the sound of your voice. 

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey. Learn more about CaringBridge.

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