The other night...I wasn't entirely sure that I would be able to write this post out of the crushing sense of shame and humiliation that comes with admitting that I made a massive mistake. Saving face...and what remains of your dignity and self respect...especially when you are at your most vulnerable...is sometimes all that you have left to cling onto when shit hits the fan.
However...for this post I will not be clinging onto those ideals. Some dear friends over at PAL convinced me to write about these experiences...and I might have mustered up the courage at some point anyway...seeing as some of you would have eventually wondered where my 'proof post' went. I am just putting everything out here...even at the risk of someone saying or thinking...'I told you so'...or 'you brought it on yourself'.
Every honest and upfront fundraiser should have a 'proof post' that proves where the funds went and how they were used. I was looking forward to establishing an accurate and tangible connection between how your digital donations made a real world difference in my life. This will still be somewhat possible with at least half of the funds...but it deeply hurts for me to say the rest have become too wrapped up in a string of really bad luck to track down.
Two weeks ago...I estimated the total amount raised on my behalf...to be worth around $1000 CAD before transaction fees...shipping and taxes...and fluctuating exchange rates. After everything that I set out to accomplish was complete to the best of my ability...about $800 went into actual product purchase. Even though most of the extra costs were out of my control...I was still feeling rather satisfied with this figure. That is...until over $400 out of that amount became lost due to a scammer...and also some really bad fucking timing.
So far...I have already been benefiting from the use of CBD oil. However...the whole idea behind getting back on my feet relied on a carefully planned out two step approach...and now one of those key elements isn't going to be possible today or anytime in the near future. Help with buying a device called the Quell...was the #1 reason for the medical fundraiser in the first place. I don't like calling it such...because it does so much more...but it's basically a next generation transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit that numbs nerves and blocks pain signals. Since I was cleared for a spinal cord simulator...this thing was supposed to help me avoid having that surgery.
I did a lot of research and weighed the pros and cons and out of everything else on the retail market...this unassuming product holds the best possible chance of controlling my pain...and giving my life back. After many years of waiting...and finally asking for help here on steemit...I was bubbling over with joy and excitement at finally being able to have a Quell. I did everything that you are supposed to do while buying online and even took this one step further. I spent hours looking around for the best possible opportunity...and took extra care in ensuring that all of 'the boxes were checked'. We are all at the mercy of what we are made to see online...but the seller had every appearance of being legitimate.
Since buying the Quell device is next to impossible for anyone in Canada who also happens to be restricted on a tight budget...it seemed like I had done a pretty damn good job of getting around that. And yet...I still got scammed...big time. I put my trust in a reseller...and he burned me.
Americans have it quite easy to order one of these...they can go to stores...directly to the product manufacturer...or even one of the registered online retailers. They can have the device...the electrodes and spare parts and even extra accessories shipped to them for free within the week. But my experience has proven that anyone outside of the united states trying to buy this thing online...is either being brutally cut out of the equation...or is being extorted out of hundreds of dollars more than necessary.
When my much anticipated and long awaited source of relief finally arrived...all of my worst ebay fears were realized. The seller promised a brand new item...and yet it ended up being beyond used and falling apart. It literally belongs in the trash...or more accurately burned as biohazardous waste. The package with the electrodes was opened and the gel strips were used and dirty...the band itself was smelly and covered in dirt and skin and who knows what else. It was not hygienic to handle...and so unbelievably disgusting...that I nearly vomited while taking pictures.
The band was also worn thin and frayed and falling apart at the seams...and the device itself was dusty and scratched. The wire between the two sides appeared broken too...and the whole thing was bent at an unusual angle. So...I basically received a box of 'fuck you'. When I was only trying to create some positive change in my life.
The unbelievable difference between the product advertised...just floored me and instantly crushed all of my hopes for pain relief that night...and for weeks to come. I am beyond angry to have waited and wasted all that time and money on something that ended up being a fucking joke.
He even had the audacity to invent a business partner that conveniently died two days before...and to pass off the blame onto him. After I called him out on this...he took a blurry obituary photo with his phone that could literally be anyone in the world...and tried to make me feel bad about leaving a scathing review which brought down his perfect seller score. What kind of person tries to sell something 'brand new' but sends something revolting in it's place...refuses to take personal responsibility for the incident...and then continues to lie with inconsistencies in his story?
He claims to have had no idea of the condition before mailing...even though a printed receipt from his business and a strange gift card that looks fraudulent and expired two years ago...were left right inside the box next to the damaged items. It does not take a genius to see this man is a fucking liar...and there is just no possible way he could have left his own business materials right inside the original product packaging without knowing the condition of the item. I might have been naive...but I am certainly not stupid.
Beyond swearing...which under normal circumstances I find very distasteful...I cannot really express how much this has effected me and has worsened my depression. I am even more baffled after communicating with the seller and being told outright lies.
Those money back assurances came in handy after all...because thanks to the build in ebay fraud protection...or perhaps just through trying to prevent his store from being shut down...I was swiftly refunded for the cost of the device. But this refund alone does not make up for being only partially refunded the shipping costs. It's damn expensive to get things across the border...and I will not be getting back the other fees incurred through paypal as a result of this failed transaction. This story isn't meant to be a cautionary tale...and even though the outcome couldn't have turned out much worse...this kind of thing does happen...just usually not this extreme. I naturally feel responsible...but I also feel there was nothing more that I could have done to prevent this from happening.
Sure...if you read my previous post on the process of ordering the Quell...I was trying to chase a better deal and save money. However...I saw absolutely no indication that spending more and buying from another reseller would be worth it and result in a different outcome. Can anyone blame me for wanting the funds go as far as possible? For me...money like this is rare...impossible to get a hold of...and living in poverty has forced me to be frugal.
I also needed so many other things that couldn't see the logic in spending more...and presumably getting the exact same product. To be fair...every other reseller at that time had red flags that immediately warned me away from buying from them in the first place. So...I really and truly went with the only option that did not seem like a scam from the very start.
This wasn't my only mistake though...I also purchased replacement electrodes...ONE DAY...before the device arrived. They were shipped the same day of purchase...and even though I contacted the seller and the shipping service right away...they said there is no possible way to send them back...and get a full refund.
This means...that I will soon have three months of electrodes and no device to use them with. Since they were purchased through a different seller who will most likely honor the 'brand new' claim... there will be no rebate without return. I am totally ashamed at this complete waste of money and cried for two days. I can hardly believe my bad luck...and how I somehow managed to fuck up the timing by ONE DAY. I have lost money on the electrodes...and the only thing that can be done about that now...is to sell them myself within Canada...and try and recover some of the lost money that way. Because of this...out of over $420 spent on the Quell and the electrodes together...I will only get roughly half of that back with the un-re-sold electrodes. My face is burning with shame and humiliation in admitting that.
Because of this incident...I no longer have enough money to purchase another Quell device from another seller. I thought the main goals had been taken care of...so I went ahead with buying other medical needs. I had no idea that I would be scammed...and even with the partial return...there just isn't enough money to go and buy another one.
After careful consideration...I no longer see the point in fighting to get the Quell. It will not last forever and cannot be easily replaced. It will undergo constant day and night use...and things do wear out. What will happen when it breaks...or needs to be repaired? I cannot simply use the warranty...or order a new one after all that wear and tear without all of the worry and hassle that comes with trusting resellers and shipping across the border.
I still desperately want to purchase this elusive device one day...but can only see this being possible when it becomes more easily available from within Canada. I don't want to live in fear of the band breaking...the snaps losing connectivity or worrying about another filthy scammer each time that I need spare parts...new electrodes or another charger.
One thing this experience has taught me...is that buying these supplies from all different sellers...at all different prices and at greater expense...isn't going to be sustainable or reliable in the future. It would be worse to get the starter pack...experience a world of difference and then be unable to easily order replacement parts at a moments notice from within my own country.
I don't want to give up on the idea forever...because I am still fully committed to my decision to go this route...but right now it's just too fucking hard to imagine weaving my life around something that cannot be maintained. There are so many stores in Canada that could easily stock the device...the electrodes and even spare parts like the charger and the band...and I could have them shipped here in a week or less. That's the kind of guarantee that I will need going forward the next time around...if there will even be another time around.
After all of that finally sunk in...my first thoughts were...I can't possibly blog about this...it's just too fucking embarrassing! I will lose all respect...credibility and I will never live this down! The blockchain is forever...and I wrote about how happy and excited that I was...how do I move forward after that? Then something inside me sorta snapped and I found myself wanting...even needing to get all of this written out....seen and heard and understood.
I had originally planned on doing an unboxing post...first week and first month updates and a detailed product review of the Quell. I was going to post data from the app that comes with the device and track my progress...write research articles about the sleep pain cycle and nerve simulation in general...and use my data in relation to living with CRPS to help others with this condition. And...worst of all...I actually fooled myself into thinking that I might be on my way to recovering enough to find my way back to work and school...and also towards becoming healthy enough to start dating again. I'll be 30 in a few years and my life continues to pass me by...I don't want to be stuck in this rut anymore...and I can't even claw my way out.
I am beyond grateful for help purchasing the CBD oil...but simply drugging my nerves with a painkiller isn't going to be a single long term solution. What I really needed...was a more multifaceted approach...and something else to work in synergy to block out the pain signals from misfiring and causing the suffering to begin with. The minimum expectation that anyone should have in regards to the Quell is a few notches down on the pain scale....my maximum expectation was 50% relief. But those few notches...when blended together with other treatments can still make a world of difference. Being in less pain and experiencing reduced inflammation was supposed to help me get moving again...so that I could exercise and build up bone and muscle strength.
With no known cure for my condition...and no help from government healthcare...I have been forced to come up with my own treatment plan. Treating the root cause instead of just the symptoms is the best and only way for me to slow down the widespread effects of this terrible disease...that is slowly killing me. Combining the natural world of medicine with alternative crowded funded technology is my last hope at beating this thing.
My body is still deteriorating...and I need to get moving again...but low dose CBD oil alone isn't getting me mobile fast enough. I could buy more and raise the dose...but there isn't enough money left over for that either. I am at the end of my rope...and have no idea where to turn next to build up my strength and rebuild my life. I thought my life was improving...but have once again been kicked down and out...with very little hope for my future.
On top of this...I finally left the house after weeks and got verbally attacked and harassed by my neighbor. She accused me of stealing one of her parcels...and of causing a whole bunch of other problems since I moved in. She put the fear in me...that none of my important parcels arriving with pills and supplements will be safe from her wrath.
Based on what she said...and how she said it...I really wouldn't put it past her to try and take one or more of them as some sick form of 'retribution'. It was suggested over on PAL...that I call the post office and tell them to hold the boxes...but there is a good reason they are coming to my door. I can't walk to the post office...don't have anyone to drive me...and I certainly can't carry them back with me.
At this point...I don't understand what the hell is going on...or why that stupid bitch is bothering me. I was scammed...and made a mistake. I don't need the added stress of worrying about losing the rest of what I managed to acquire with the remaining donations. Why is this happening now? Don't I deserve some kind of break? It feels like I am not supposed to have anything to get well again.
I barely leave the house to begin with...unless related to seeing my doctor...going to the hospital for tests...and buying milk and cat food. My doctor is very cold and robotic...and often makes me cry. Something about her abrupt attitude triggers that reaction in me...and she acts like it's taboo to become the least bit emotional when talking about my symptoms.
But at least she ordered new tests...and finally seems halfway interested in finding out what is causing the daggers and fire in my stomach...and extreme nausea. I still cannot function during the day...cannot sleep at night...and cannot think straight...or do much of anything but stay in bed...but she did agree the problem with my stomach pain has gone on for too long and has reached a breaking point. I was prescribed something that will hopefully help me to avoid an invasive procedure within the next two weeks.
The guy who ripped me off does not know me personally...I was not directly or intentionally targeted. But he is still a piece of shit for shattering my hopes into a million pieces. On the other hand...in a really twisted kind of way this event can maybe be seen as a blessing in disguise.
As of yesterday...I had no other means to buy the prescription. It could very well end up saving my life. Without this treatment...I run the risk of a rupture...hospitalization and more than likely sepsis. If accepting the refund as something that is maybe meant to be...and this helps me to move forward...ill take it. I will spend the money on something far more urgent and hopefully you will all forgive me for taking that detour.
Although none of this was technically my fault...I still have to accept it...and take responsibility for the fact that through my own choices and actions...even inadvertently...I still made it happen. Forgiving myself is probably not on the horizon...and neither will the fact that on some level...I will probably regret how this post turned into the single most dramatic and degrading one...that I have ever written.
It's crude and offensive...but also hundred from percent raw and from the heart...even one filled with anger and pain and confusion. It also took me days with crying and fighting the urge to just give up. Someday...I will find the courage to write another post with pictures to prove where the other half of the donations went. Right now it just seems pathetic...and I don't have the strength to put on a brave face. But...I owe everyone that helped me out...that much at least.