Dear Friends,

To start, I must apologize for the painfully graphic nature of this newsletter. I need to tell my story and the only way I can do so is to share these words. If you have experienced an incredible amount of physical or emotional trauma in your life, I need to warn you that this may be difficult to read. The photos of me above are just before and immediately after moving out of my current apartment and I am very sick. 

Due to severe pain and incredibly swollen knees, I have rarely left there in four years. I only did so a handful of times to visit a doctor or hospital and this required actual fireman to carry me down the stairs. I have gotten increasingly weaker/sicker over the last 2-3 years, to the point where my doctors literally thought I had lung cancer. I have been spitting up blood for almost an entire year and I choke all night long. 

I suffer from severe muscle pain and atrophy as well on a daily basis, my hands and wrists went numb, as did my feet.  I lost all of my saliva and my tongue and mouth and nose  were constantly dry, swollen, bleeding and full of sores. My teeth were crumbling. My eyes were constantly dry and full of what felt like buckets of sand. 

I also regularly had electric shock pains to my chest and nobody knew why. I developed a fleshy  tumor over my heart and nobody knew why. GP, pulmonary, cardiology, rheumatology, mayo Opthamology, dental specialists, no one knew. Absolutely nobody knew why. Because my body is so crippled, my doctors can not believe my legs are still moving. They tell me it defies explanation.

I had constant sore throat‘s and pounding headaches and I lost my ability to swallow. My doctors blamed it on rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I am not sure what I blame it on. I started to become intolerant to light and for about the last year and a half, I have lived in a mostly dark room because it hurt my eyes so badly. They are slowly going blind.

I finally moved out of that apartment on August 6 and pretty much left with the clothes on my back. Even then, I replaced those. It’s really hard to travel when you are disabled. 

Within three days of leaving, my tongue stopped bleeding and the sores in my mouth started to go away. My muscle pain started to subside but my body completely contracted as if I was withdrawing from something, but I do not know what. You can see it in the picture here, they were taken just before I moved into this apartment and the week after I left it, just under 2 months ago. 

I have been very sick and incredibly weak. My doctor does not want me in the hospital due to coronavirus so I have been forced to stay at various Airbnb’s, which are pretty much set up like hospital rooms for me to recover in. I am incredibly grateful to have a wonderful assistant who helps me three days a week and sets up my food and anything else that I need. When I was too weak to even feed myself, she literally stood by my bedside and fed me. I could not have been sent a greater angel then she. I am learning how to eat and swallow again and that is going well, so it gives me hope.

I am desperate to move in to my own apartment and while I currently have the money to do so, that will not last if I must continue to rent short term housing. It is making it incredibly difficult, most especially because I am never finding an actual home. I need one so badly, one I can feel safe and comfortable at. I will work hard to get my body strength back and come back to life as much as I can. I don’t ever want to experience such dark days again.

I had hoped to get an approval and an apartment that I would be moving into this coming Friday, but I still have not received that. If you have something available that you might consider renting to me, I would be so grateful. I don’t need much and I have already purchased a bed which is waiting for me, so at least I have a small start into furnishing it. Basically I just need an accessible unit so that I can come and go easily. 

Since I have left the apartment, my rheumatoid numbers have plummeted and my doctors tell me it is now in remission. They have no reasonable explanation as to why and they are trying to figure out what is happening with my body. One thing I can tell you for sure, it’s been one of the worst nightmares of my life. It literally caused me to sleep 18 hours a day because I was so depressed. I am becoming so very  desperate to wake up and have it all be over.

I am spending so much money and temporary housing that it is hurting me badly as I could be putting this money towards actual rent. I am hopeful that I will have an apartment by the end of this week but I have learned not to be too sure of anything because life can disappoint you. Please say a prayer for me that I find the home I desperately need and more importantly,  hope with my health issues. I will get stronger and I will work very hard every single day to do so. If you could support me in any way, I would be incredibly grateful.

You can make a personal Zelle payment to me using my email michellecomo@gmail.com. You can also make a donation directly to the charity using our phone number, 312-296-5311. 

I also have a go fund me set up and if you could share it on your social media, it would mean a lot to me. I need a great deal of help and I know the only way that it’s going to happen is if I keep on asking for it. It is something that is incredibly difficult for me to do but I have no choice at this time and I need help desperately. I would be grateful for anything you can do and I promise I will continue my work with Direct Effect Charities just as I always have. It has been a huge motivating factor in my life and always will be. I hope you will continue to work with me and support our programs.

With love and gratitude,

Michelle DiGiacomo



PS if you have any idea what any of my symptoms could mean I would appreciate it if you could share them with me privately. I do know the building I lived in was purchased “as is” and I am curious as to why. 

You can make a donation to any of our programs using Zelle @ 312.296.5311 

They can also be mailed to;

Direct Effect Charities 

4044 N Lincoln Ave #400

Chicago, IL 60618

We would be grateful for any help at all.

“I ask myself, how did this happen?” Letterman said. “And I’ll tell you how it happened. It wasn’t because of me. It was because of hundreds and hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who helped me. And I would just like to say, we have to help each other or nothing will happen" One of life’s absolutely universal truths, he said, is the great feeling we get when we help other people. “If you help someone, in any way, big or small, automatically you will feel good about yourself.” 

 ~David Letterman~

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