For the sake of her health and mine

While LightStream has compensated me for this post, it reflects my personal thoughts and opinions.


The cohost of my podcast and I just finished recording an episode, and the only mention I made about my ongoing mysterious illnesses was at the end when I said, “I didn’t once mention my broken spleen, JOHN.” Just joking. My spleen is only fractured.

Instead, you get to hear all about it here. Again. Aren’t you excited? Even a little? Because I would be! You have no idea how many hours of my life I have lost in forums of people discussing their inexplicable gut issues. Hours and hours. Hours I don’t have. Hours to the tune of, “You’re hungry, Marlo? That’s too bad. We’re never eating again. Eating destroys lives. Says so right here in this thread.”

Where did I leave off? Oh, right! Eating makes me physically ill. All eating! Gluten-free eating, dairy-free eating, sugar-free eating, corn-free eating, John Stamos-free eating, Satan-free eating, glass-cleaner-free eating, chunks of concrete-free eating, and especially black licorice. Don’t get me started on shredded coconut, YUCK. How y’all do that is just sickening. I’d rather eat dental floss.

I do believe this condition has cascaded into a nutrient deficiency because the fractures I have in both of my feet are not interested in healing. When I got back from Paris this summer the symptoms exploded and I could no longer live my life. I had been somewhat ignoring everything because of cost: what I pay in a monthly insurance premium, plus copays, plus office visits, plus meds, plus ingesting chunks of concrete, and the list goes on.

FOR INSTANCE: I (reluctantly) agreed to see a gastroenterologist back in January for a related issue. He spent 10 minutes with me, ordered a colonoscopy, and proceeded to charge me large quantities of dollars for every single thing he touched. I had to pay my insurance premium, the “specialty” copay which is triple what a normal copay is, his “specialty” office visit which is triple a normal office visit, the cost of my hours in the hospital, the cost of the anesthesiologist, the cost of the procedure, and then the cost of biopsies. I then had to pay for a followup visit (same as the cost of the first office visit), wherein he prescribed me a $400/month medication that my insurance does not cover. And then he told me I’d need to see him another five or six times, at least.

The colonoscopy didn’t find anything, so he threw a medication at me. I was not impressed or inclined to spend any more money. Thus, I ignored him. That’ll heal my symptoms!

Cue, returning from Paris this year, and I really mean “returning” from Paris. I did not experience pain while eating like I do now when I was there. And it’s almost just as painful to remember all the incredible food we had on the sidewalks of cafés while listening to the sound of passing motorbikes:

Now. Ahem.

This is when I tell my father to have a seat lest he hit his head when falling over.

I have gone into debt only twice in my life. This is privileged, I know. But it’s also a practice my father taught me from birth. I knew how to save money before I knew how to talk. He would bless the food at dinner and end each prayer with, “And please do not let my children forget the importance of their credit score.”

In order to live my daily life I needed to get an opinion about my inexplicable gut issues from another gastroenterologist. The pain was (and still is) too unbearable. When he ordered an endoscopy after hearing about all my symptoms I had to weigh my options. Because while I was in Paris, Coco had a growth on her eye practically explode in size. I knew she needed surgery and I knew that it would not be cheap. I could remain in pain and Coco could possibly lose sight in her left eye, or I could pay for these expenses by going into debt and subsequently giving my father a heart attack. Hmm.

Certain people have criticized me to say that I should have saved the money I spent visiting Paris and used it for my health. One, Paris was one of the best things that has ever happened to my mental health. Two, I paid for Paris long before I ever traveled to Paris, long before any of these symptoms ever surfaced. Three, this is the reality of healthcare. I had serious doubts that I would be able to escape debt when I renewed my healthcare plan. This year it covers half of what it covered last year, and my copays doubled. Coincidentally and unexpectedly, I needed a very important procedure the same week Coco needed surgery.

(Calling my father now to make sure he’s okay.)

(He’s still breathing.)

Even though I had to weigh my options quickly, I did not come to this decision lightly. No one wants to endure the weight of debt, but sometimes it’s a legitimate solution to a pressing financial conundrum. I know friends who have gone into debt for fertility treatments, for the cost of a divorce, and for their kids’ braces. I didn’t ever consider these friends reckless, but given my own circumstances I now understand their decision to do so by tenfold.

Not even two days after Coco bounced back from an almost fatal bout of diarrhea and dehydration (an unforeseen effect of her post-surgery diet), I got an email from LightStream, a brand I’ve worked with before. They wondered if I had any personal stories about accruing debt because of, well, LIFE. And that’s when I thought my phone had been bugged. Perhaps I’d googled “what happens if my dad finds out I have gone into debt” a few too many times.

Turns out, according to a 2019 survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Wakefield Research for LightStream, I am of part of the 39% of consumers with good credit scores who would most likely take on “purposeful debt” to pay for a planned medical cost—in my case “planned” meaning I didn’t necessarily have to opt for an endoscopy, but I really want to figure out what is wrong. Fortunately? I guess? The endoscopy didn’t show anything abnormal, and all my biopsies came back fine. However, I wouldn’t have known this otherwise. Does this mean I will accrue more debt trying to figure this out? Without question.

I’m partnering with LightStream to help raise awareness of debt consolidation as a simple and smart tool to help responsible consumers manage purposeful debt. They offer a debt consolidation loan with low interest rates and fixed payments that enable good-credit consumers to pay off debt in a straightforward and money-saving way. They are an online consumer lender and are super transparent about the entire experience.

LightStream is offering my audience a discounted rate on their loan if they’re approved. If you use my link,, you’ll get a .10% APR discount on the interest rate you receive if you’re approved for a LightStream Loan.

Now I’m off to try some of these meditation apps I’ve downloaded. And I will most likely go stand in front of the refrigerator and stare longingly at every single thing.

See important details here.