Friends, family rally for ailing Gypsum woman |

Friends, family rally for ailing Gypsum woman

Julie Imada-Howard
NWS Martinez, Mary2 BH 4-5 Vail Daily/Bret Hartman Martinez hooks up to her dyalisis machine every night from 7:30pm to 4:30am.

Gypsum resident Mary Jane Martinez, 55, spends every day fighting for her life.

Martinez suffers from diabetes and was diagnosed with kidney failure last fall. She is losing her sight due to the diabetes. Today, Martinez’s lifeline is her home dialysis machine.

From 7:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. every day, Martinez is hooked up to her home hemodialysis machine, also known as a cycler. The cycler pumps fluids in and out of her kidneys, removing waste and other toxins from her blood and preventing her body from poisoning itself.

“We knew in October that my kidneys were failing,” said Martinez.

Her kidney failure was brought on by her diabetes. Diabetes is an illness which causes high blood sugar. The disease renders people unable to use sugar effectively. Most diabetics depend on insulin injections to help manage sugar levels. Diabetes is also the leading causes of kidney disease.

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Traveling by bus to Colorado Springs for treatment, Martinez underwent emergency surgery in January that placed a catheter tube in her abdomen and a shunt in her arm. Both can be used for dialysis.

Because of the side effects of her fluid-based treatment, her age and other health factors, Martinez is not, at this time, a candidate for a kidney transplant.

Martinez, who is single, relies on her sister, Diane Pereida, to take care of her. While in Colorado Springs for treatments or appointments, Martinez other family members help out. Sometimes she hires a driver to get her to and from doctors’ visits.

An employee at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa for 17 years, Martinez continues to work. Because she can’t drive, she gets up early and catches the bus to work and comes home in the evenings to begin her treatment.

“I need to keep working to keep the insurance going. I have great insurance, but my portion (of the costs) is well over $10,000,” said Martinez.

Eventually Martinez will get Medicare benefits. Until then she said she is grateful her insurance company has continued to cover 80 percent of the medical costs. But the out-of-pocket costs of her treatment continue to mount.

“She can’t even afford all of her prescriptions,” long-time friend Brenda Esparzan said.

The Vail Valley Foundation helped Martinez last year after she had to stay in the hospital. Martinez approached them again this year after beginning home dialysis, but was informed that the foundation gives help to people only once.

Currently, Esparzan is working to organize a fund-raiser dinner or dance for Martinez. She and Martinez have also inquired about getting help from the local Rotary International clubs, the Salvation Army and other groups. A benefit account for Martinez’s medical expenses has been established at the First Bank in Eagle.

For information call Brenda Esparzan at 827-5510.

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