Flour power used to pay for uncovered medical expenses

Alpine resident Merrie Scriber is selling one loaf of home baked bread at a time to help fund her daughter’s medical infusions. Although Scriber and her husband thought they had hit retirement a few years ago, baking and selling bread has proven to be almost as time consuming as a full-time job and is slowly turning into an unforeseen business.

Their daughter, Chelsea Scriber, 33, has spent most of her adult life as a children’s pastor and served in youth ministry in Russia, Romania, Zambia, Mexico and other countries, according to Merrie Scriber,.

“My daughter is talented and brilliant, and was working to finish her doctorate in trauma and abuse counseling when the pain from her diagnosed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome set in and became debilitating. Basically, the disease settles in anywhere the body has had a previous injury and when it became challenging for her to even sit upright, she decided to move home,” Merrie Scriber said.

To alleviate pain, Chelsea Scriber receives ketamine based infusions which end up absorbing an entire day from start to finish. Merrie Scriber said each infusion runs about $900 and is not covered by their medical insurance.

Prior to retiring, Merrie Scriber worked in non-profit fundraising and thought she was done with that segment of her life; she did not envision selling bread to fund her daughter’s infusions.

The baked bread “really took off” in December, Merrie Scriber said, and can’t begin to pay for treatment entirely but is one more bit of income the family can put toward offsetting the cost of keeping her daughter out of pain. In the meantime, the Scriber family has tapped into savings intended for retirement.

“You think you’re going to be able to travel and have fun as you get older but you don’t count on everything tanking. We have nonstop medical appointments and expenses. We fought with insurance for the past year and we continue to try to convince them this is my daughter’s only chance to function,” Scriber said.

After briefly retiring, her husband also returned to consulting, although they are hesitant to have him work long hours away from home in the technology sector while Merrie Scriber looks out for both their daughter and her homebound father.

“When Chelsea started treatment, she had to begin with doing several infusions back to back every day. Right up front it was thousands and we could not even begin to overcome that, but we had some money in savings. We’re still not close to paying for it entirely but the bread sales help out,” she said.

Growing up, her daughter was the sort of girl who “did every sport and got straight A’s then suddenly started spacing out in class. It took a neurologist to find out she was experiencing small seizures, presumed to be incurable.”

She had high pressure in her spine with spinal fluid, debilitating migraines and was diagnosed with Reynaud’s disease. The seizures did stop with time and that gives the family hope, Scriber said, but her medical history of seizures also prevent her from being eligible for most CRPS test treatments.

“My daughter’s disease is stage four, as it has entered internal organs and is excruciatingly painful. It kills me to watch her give up her life’s dream of serving overseas and working with orphans,” Merrie Scriber said, and the least she can do is bake and hand craft items to help fund treatment.

Her daughter “still works with youth every Wednesday and still goes on Tuesdays to work with We See You San Diego and loves the homeless” and consistently puts in hours to finish her dissertation but is challenged by pain in her hands, Merrie Scriber said, and progress is slow going.

In the meantime, she said, she continues to bake bread and do what she can because she is a mom.


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