LEWISVILLE — Despite appearances, 38-year-old Sherilyn Hurdle is not nine months' pregnant.
"I've had 30,000 pregnancy tests, because they thought at first I was when I come in because of the nausea and vomiting," Hurdle said, patting her rounded belly.
What is expanding her waistline is a massive cyst on her left ovary. According to medical documents, it measures 6 x 7 inches.
Since October, it has swelled from the size of golf ball to the size of a basketball.
Every day, the condition causes Hurdle pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. She's been advised to get surgery, but says she can't.
"No insurance... no money," she said. "I don’t qualify [for an Affordable Care Act insurance subsidy]; they said I'd still have to make a premium of $258 a month, which — if I could work — I would do that."
Hurdle said the pain and discomfort is so great, she currently cannot work. Since her condition is reversible, she says she has been told she doesn’t qualify for disability.
She also does not qualify for Medicaid, though she says she has filled out applications.
Medicaid in Texas is not solely limited to those who qualify due to low income. Medicaid in Texas is generally limited to children, pregnant women, seniors over 65 and people with disabilities.
Hurdle isn't in any of those groups.
She also had a tubal ligation to prevent pregnancies, which further limits her options in Texas.
And because she lives in Denton County, Hurdle does not have access to a public hospital, like Parkland in Dallas.
So far, Hurdle's medical care has come mostly through the emergency room. She was admitted overnight to a hospital two weeks ago, but has yet to receive the bills.
Private hospitals are under no obligation to provide medical care beyond the emergency room.
Most hospitals do have a charity budget. Hurdle said neither of the two hospitals she has been to in Denton County has offered charity care.
"I don't think it's fair,” she said. "It seems like there's those of us out there that fall through the cracks."
Hurdle has two sons she would dearly love to see grow up. Instead, what's growing inside her gut is fear.
"They're my life, and I can't imagine them being in this world without me," she said. "I need help."
Doctors don't know if the cyst might be cancerous. So far, Hurdle said her blood work is normal. Should the cyst rupture and Sherilyn need emergency surgery, a hospital would be obligated to provide life-saving care.
If she makes it to the hospital in time.
Hurdle wonders why it must come to a life-and-death situation in order to receive help.