A morbidly obese Iowa woman who weighs 765 pounds is in a race against time to get to Houston to a doctor she says could save her life.
Charity Pierce, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is trying to raise money to get to the Bayou City for gastric bypass. Charity wants to make the 17-hour trip to Houston -- a trip she'll have to make in an ambulance because of her size. Her daughter and fiancé are ready and willing to help.
"I'm not going to make it if I don't have gastric bypass," said Pierce.
At 765 pounds she is too big to safely have that surgery.
"This is a very high risk patient," said Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, who will do the surgery on patients weighing 600 pounds.
So Pierce needs to loose weight and get here to Houston for a consultation.
Dr. Nowzaradan said, "This is a challenging case that needs to be handled in a specialized hospital that are equipped to handle this type of patient."
Pierce says the swelling and fluid retention in her left leg and hip from lymphedema is making loosing weight hard. She says she's on a 1200 calorie a day diet but hasn't lost much weight.
"The lymphedema feels like another whole person. It feels like cinder blocks hanging off you all the time," said Pierce. "I'm trying to raise between $3,000 and $4,000 to take an ambulance down there to the consultation because I feel that's the only safe way for me to go."
Pierce has a GoFundMe.com web page, and so far she's raised over $2,500 for her trip.
"It's a very long road, but I'm going to get there," she said.
Dr. Nowzaradan agrees.
"In 18 months we are going to get her under 200. She's got very good chances that this is going to happen," he said.
Pierce's daughter is still worried.
"She's doing really well about trying to keep her mobility, but I feel like if she doesn't get help soon that's not going to be an option. She's just not going to last much longer," said her daughter.
Pierce says if she's approved for the surgery, she believes her Medicaid will cover the cost. She hopes to get married soon and be able to walk down the aisle.