Hi kind reader,
I never thought I would find myself doing what I’m doing now. But, I’m writing to ask for money. If you have $5 to spare, I’ll appreciate it. If you’re wealthy, please donate to help me out during this complex time in my life.
I’ll start back in early 2015. I had a job at a local university that made decent money and had good benefits. I actually truly enjoyed my job, and working with students and professors. My husband also had a job with a local non-profit agency. Sadly, the agency went through a downsizing period, and my husband and several other employee lost their jobs.
We live in West Virginia and jobs are not always easy to find. My husband started to apply locally, but then, as the weeks went by, he extended his search to further away.
In the meantime, we are functioning on my paychecks and his unemployment. We also had a first grader during this time period. And my two kitties. And my daugther’s kitty.
My husband began going on interviews…Ohio, Pennsylvania (was 80% sure we were going to end up moving there, but that did not work out), and Maryland.
He also started teaching part time at a community college for a few hours a week to help supplement our funds.
One day, while I was at work, my mom came by to visit. It was early May. She had bad news. I remember we went out to her car and talked and she finally told me the bad news. She had cancer.
My mom was still working full-time and a mere 3 years away from retirement. But, now she had lung cancer. She initially had surgery to remove a portion of her left lobe. And then chemotherapy treatments began. I was fortunate enough to work about 3-4 miles from the hospital where she received treatment. My grandma would drive her down, so I would run over during my lunch time and visit with them when it worked out.
Now for some good news…my husband got a job. Now for the bad news…it was about 2 hours away from where we were living, and even that much further away from my mom.
I should also mention that my mom was my only parent. She and I were close. My dad was not in the picture. He popped in once upon a time, and proved why my mom did not settle down with him. He just turned out not to be a good person.
Now, my husband started his job in July of 2015. And this move meant me having to leave my job behind that I did love. But, he made more than I did, and it was the best thing for our little family.
I did not get to see my mom as often. I was busy packing a house up as my husband was working at the community college part time, and driving to the new job 2 hours, working, and then driving back home. I kind of felt like a single mom for a while. I did drop off, pick up, and it was just me and the girl in the evenings. He left early and came home late. But, he was doing it for us.
We get our house on the market. Husband finds a house for us to rent that will accept cats. Rent was more than we were expecting, but the neighborhood is relatively nice. The school system here is better than where we were located.
We move into the rental at the beginning of August. Our house sits without offers. We dropped the price. It still sat.
I cashed out the vacation time I had accrued. I didn’t have a job I was going to immediately. We are struggling to pay rent and a mortgage. I finally cave and contact one of those “we buy houses” groups. They are able to offer help….by taking over the mortgage. It was out of my hands, but at least we did not go into complete foreclosure. But, after a decade of repairs and upgrades, we made $0 on our home.
There was the promise of a job for me coming up in a couple months. I was fortunate that I had connections and one of my old coworkers/friends knew of a greenhouse position opening. I was excited and this was kind of like a dream come true.
Our daughter started in a new school, and adapted really well. My husband’s job was stressful but at least he had one. We didn’t have to worry about the mortgage anymore.
The job that was mentioned to me turned out to be not coming to fruition. I started looking elsewhere because we couldn’t afford for me to stay home.
My mom in the meantime, completes chemotherapy. It went well. She has a scan and it’s clear! We were so happy.
I went on an interview, and the next week, I was offered the greenhouse job, and the lab job on the same day. I politely declined the lab job. Sometimes, I think maybe I should have just taken it.
The greenhouse job just didn’t work out. It’s a long story, but they wanted me to manage a greenhouse for their company, but did not give me the tools to do so. I had to pretty much start from scratch. I managed to grow plants without heat or lights installed. I am still not sure how I got it to work out as well as I did. Lucky we had extra sunny days even though they were shorter? Anyhow, I was not happy with my situation at the greenhouse, but was not ready to give up. This could work out. The company got a new CEO and things started to look up.
My mom had another scan. Cancerous spots were seen. She had to start radiation treatment. If we could all go back, I think she would have just said no thanks. The radiation treatment began I think January 2016. She told them she was having issues with her hands and nerves. Treatment continued on schedule.
My mom went from a very independent person, to completely dependent by later in the summer. It was small at first…her hands had issues doing a pony tail, or picking up certain kitchen tools. Then as time went by she had issues holding drinks, writing, and she had to give up driving. The radiation was killing the cancer, but it was also killing my mom’s nerves. Everything that touched her hands and up her arms was painful. Everything was frustrating.
My aunt flew in to help her out for a bit, and my grandmother helped her when she was able, but she was starting to have her own health problems. By late December 2016, it was decided she would come and live with us. My grandma couldn’t keep staying with her, and my aunt had to go back home and have her own surgeries.
The summer of 2016 we had moved into a new house. It is a fixer upper. I got my daughter’s room completely done before mom came to stay with us. So everything else was on hold for work, her medical care, and just doing the day to day thing (dinner, homework, etc). Sadly, maybe the stress of moving again was too much for my old girl kitties. They got ill a few months apart, and we had to put them to sleep. One likely had liver cancer, and the other had an organ shutting down.
When she moved in with us, I noticed she started to have balance issues. I was leaving late to work to make sure she had what she needed, and drinks made, and food that was easy to access with her hands, medicine out and taken before taking off…and then I was coming home at lunch because I was worried about her. I would check on her, usually get her another round of meds, and then if I was ableist, I would leave early. I once ran out to the store and left her home with her granddaughter. I came home to my mom sitting on the stairs. I knew something had happened. She had fallen, and my child had helped her up. Luckily she is a tall, strong little girl. Fast forward maybe a couple weeks of this, and then it happened. I was helping her to go to the bathroom because her one leg was giving out from time to time now. She was done and on her way back to the dining room. I came in and had her hold onto my shoulders. But, it wasn’t enough. Both her legs gave out, her weight fell on me, and we both fell down. The radiation had completely destroyed my mom.
We called her doctor and he wasn’t even seeing patients that day, but asked her to come in that afternoon. He ends up sending her to emergency room and she’s in the hospital for two weeks. During that time frame, I’m told my mom’s cancer is still there. I didn’t know it them, but it was likely in her spine/spinal fluid. Mom opted out of having the spinal tap done because it would have to be done several times and she was just tired of it all. She went into a rehabilitation facility, but that proved too difficult for her. Her legs were not going to be getting better. She was not going to be getting better.
During this time frame, I ended up taking off work. I opted for the FMLA since I could leave temporarily, but unpaid. I used what little vacation time I had at the hospital with mom. At first, they approved it. Then, it came back denied. I was just a tad short of having worked there a year, which is the minimum needed to approve FMLA time.
I’m unpaid, my mom is sick and getting sicker, and my option became signing paperwork that would move her to hospice. I was so delusional and hopeful still that she would get to come home. I was told they would get her pain under control and see how she was doing in a few days, and we could discharge her with pain medications and she could stay at home. But, she never left hospice with us.
She went from talking, being rather upbeat considering, to not being able to speak within a week. And her not being able to communicate and knowing she was still in there was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. I would go home to shower, see my child and husband, or they would come down to visit, but otherwise, I was by my mom’s side. If you’re reading this, I hope you have not gone through the pain of watching your loved one fade and die.
She passed away on a Saturday morning, March 18, 2017. The time leading up to her death was heart wrenching. The time after, was just devastating to me. And to her mom, my grandma. They were very close as well. She had to watch her baby die…the thing no parent should have to suffer through.
I was fortunate in that she did leave me a life insurance policy. I was able to pay for her funeral services and not stress about returning to work. And I did not. The job was not treating me well and I figured I could find a better one later on.
Me, being my mom’s only child, became the executor of her estate. That kept me rather busy considering my mom’s home was 2.5 hours away from where we now lived, and in order to sell it, I had to get a lot of furniture, personal items, and junk she had acquired over 17 years.
I had to pay for brand new HVAC, Her unit had finally gone bad, and the place isn’t worth much if you can’t heat or cool it. There went nearly $5,000.
I had a lot of trips over the summer/fall. My grandma would drive down and meet me there. We would work on the place a little at a time, but it was overwhelming and sad. We made a dent in the place, but my aunt managed to come back out after surgeries and she stayed there and helped a lot. I mean, a ton. She was somehow able to do what my grandma and I couldn’t seem to do. I honestly have boxes here still that I need to go through. I have done a bit here and there. But, it takes a toll on me…and it’s been well over two years now.
About the time I am finalizing her estate and thinking about going back to work before too much longer, my grandma falls ill. It was right after Christmas and she is taken to the hospital for atrial fibrillation. Her heart was weak and not beating in sync, and she was dehydrated and disoriented. I went over 3 hours to see her that evening. Then, returned later that week. Then again, after picking my aunt up at the airport. She had been to visit during the holidays and not a month later, she was coming back. I had to give her the horrible news that while I as driving to the airport and she was landing, my grandma, her mother, had a stroke. It was a huge one. She lost the entire left side of her body. She no longer could talk or do much of anything. It seemed about the time her heart was nearly in sync, then this. My grandma was also a pretty independent lady who had lived by herself since the early 80’s in the same 4 bedroom old house that she had raised 4 children in with her husband. To see her in this condition was heart wrenching. My aunt and I stayed with her that night. We had our last girls sleepover. It had been a couple days since I’d been home. We had discussed rehabilitation/nursing homes, etc with staff and doctors and my aunt told me to go on home, visit my family, get some clean clothes, etc. On my trip home, my grandma died. Late January 2018, we buried my grandmother on a mountain top in a private family cemetery. I saw family I had not seen in years. I also missed my mom terribly. It felt like she should have been there.
Because of a family dispute with the sons, and my aunt living out west, I became the executor of this estate as well. My grandma had a small life insurance policy that didn’t quite cover funeral expenses. She had pre-paid for her funeral, but that doesn’t mean much for inflation it seems. My aunt went home shortly after the funeral. She did help get bills situated and let me know what I needed to pay. I had her checkbook and what money she had remaining. We fortunately had good neighbors that helped me and my aunt keep an eye on the house. I lived around 3 hours away and couldn’t be there all the time. I made it up there a few times to clean out personal items. Once again, this is something that goes slow. We put her house on the market. It sold about a month later. My aunt and I agreed we thought the realtor listed it for too little. But, it was selling and that a plus. But, we had to clear out the house. My aunt, having had hip surgery very recently, flew back in, and she was awaiting ankle surgery (broken rod/ankle needed rebuilt), and me….we were doing a lot of work for two ladies. This is back when my feet began hurting badly. It felt as if I had ran for miles, but I had maybe only walked a few at most, and that was around the house, up and down, etc.
We managed the estate sale, and got things cleared out for the new owners. Tears were shed and we took what was left to either donation or my house. The closing was right after. And that gave us a bit more money. Which was nice since I had still not returned to work.
With my aunt returning in early October 2018, my feet had gotten bad enough she begged me to go get them checked out. I had kept putting it off because I no longer had insurance. No job, and my husband’s insurance was unaffordable for the family plan. I went to a MedExpress, had x-rays, examination, and it was determined it was likely tendinitis or maybe some early arthritis.
Fast forward a week or so and I started having more pain and sensitivity in my left pinky toe. And then in the toes beside it. And then, I kind of quit looking at the job sites. I didn’t know how to even think of working with my feet how they were. Everything I kept looking up said it was peripheral neuropathy, but I dismissed it because I didn’t have any reason to have neuropathy. But, another week or two goes by, and I can’t deny that this is getting worse. My feet felt horrible. I looked up all reasons for peripheral neuropathy. My glucose and A1C test that I had done at a discount just a month or two before was 82 and I think 5.6, respectively. I didn’t have diabetes, no symptoms of it, and wasn’t even in pre-diabetes range. So I turned to other potential issues.
And where I had no insurance, I decided to go to a hospital about 1.5 hours away to do some discount bloodwork. I still ended up spending roughly $130 of my money. The only thing I found out was that my eosinophils (white blood cell type) were high, and that was likely because I had my asthma flaring up or sinus issues. My B vitamins were fine. My D vitamins were in range…not as high as they would like, but still not near the bottom either. I can’t remember everything I had tested last year, but they were all good.
I finally pay out of pocket to see my doctor with my lab results, which is stressful to me because I don’t have much money coming in at all. I was receiving a monthly check from the guy that bought my mom’s property. He and my mom had worked together for a long time, and I knew him and trusted him, so I did the financing for him. We went to a lawyer and had papers and things outlined, and he is making monthly payments.
Anyhow, I see my doctor, and she sent me to test a mineral I had missed testing and if it’s not that, we needed to consider an autoimmune disease perhaps. I had those tested….negative. She also went ahead and had my A1C and glucose done again since it had been 3-4 months since I had it done. Those once again came back around 82 and this time my A1C was 5.4.
They sent me for a nerve test, but I couldn’t get in until January 2019. I didn’t know what all was going to go on with testing, and my child and I needed insurance, so I hopped on the ACA website and found some overpriced, mediocre insurance. I was paying over $500/month for “bronze” insurance. I had the nerve test and that neurologist suggested that I had tarsal tunnel syndrome. I was happy. I had a diagnosis. It was something that could be fixed and I saw an ending to this misery.
I was sent to a podiatrist next. He treated me for the tarsal tunnel and suggested different shoes (turns out I’m a pronator), stretches, and a cycle of prednisone (steroids). After a couple weeks, I could finally tolerate walking a bit more. For most of December and January, I did not walk unless I had to. I had my child and husband pretty much waiting on me, and I was icing my feet several times a day.
I went back, it was determined I would keep up the stretches as I had been, but we will do a longer series with the prednisone. Okay. Let me tell you, I was so excited during the last week of the 3 weeks I was on the steroids. I was having less pain, less sensitivity. The last two days I’m on steroids, I’m telling people how much better my feet feel and excited to return to normal. Nope. By 24 hours later they were hurting and within another day, we were almost back where we started.
I return to the podiatrist. He keeps asking me am I sure no one in my family has any autoimmune disease. I said not that I’m aware of, but I’m not terribly close to my father’s side. He then decides we will try physical therapy. I told him I don’t know if I can stand doing it. He does agree to put me back on prednisone but only a shorter stint this time.
I go to physical therapy appointments a couple times a week at $35/each for weeks and weeks. Finally, I have my last one and no change. I have not made improvements. They said I didn’t really have any mechanical issues to begin with…my strength and range of motions were fine. They even contacted the podiatrist and wondered if I should just be sent to neurologist (the answer should have been yes). We did it because we know that insurance isn’t going to pay for any scans or further treatment until I complete this.
I return to the podiatrist after the physical therapy. He had looked over my information from therapy. He even cracked some kind of joke about how my feet felt (I compared it to something….who knows, maybe it was acid being splashed on them). He then gives me a speech about it likely being pre-diabetes neuropathy. I said, but my numbers don’t reflect pre-diabetes at all. He said it has been shown the neuropathy can show up years before. He puts me on neurontin and says see you next month.
No, I never went back. Since I was depleting what money I had in the bank with insurance, appointments, car payment, I couldn’t afford to waste money seeing him again. I went back to my regular doctor and explained everything that had happened over the last few months. She agreed to test me for celiac, did another glucose and A1C to see if any change, and I forget what other test. Negative for celiac. A1C and glucose was fine, and the other test was perfectly in range.
I’m frustrated, hurting daily, and becoming broke.
She ended up referring me to a neurologist. Finally. But, I did not get an appointment until July 31. The wait was just killing me. I called to see if there were any cancellations. It turns out the doctor I was scheduled to see was leaving the practice soon after my appointment. I think that’s great..maybe I can get in somewhere else sooner. Nope. I was looking at August at another hospital which was 2 hours away. I ended up seeing the PA at that July 31 appointment. I felt that the appointment went well. And he whole heartedly agreed that we should redo the nerve conduction test/EMG.
A couple weeks into August, I get the test done again. This test was different. It was more in depth, took longer, and they tested much further up on my legs and even my low back. It was determined that I had neuropathy and I had no signs of tarsal tunnel syndrome specifically….which I had already figured out by the time I was wasting money going to physical therapy.
I don’t have my follow up appointment with the doctor for a couple more weeks. I can’t stand on my feet for more than 5 minutes without them hurting. I live in an opiate-addition filled state and they aren’t so much prescribing pain meds unless you’re dying anymore. I take Tylenol and neurontin daily. And my tons of vitamins and supplements.
I also started doing intermittent fasting and I’ve done a 24 and 36 hour fast so far. I know it’s going to sound crazy to anyone not familiar with it, but I think I have less inflammation in my feet. Something is causing this swelling and inflammation and nerve damage. I don’t know what….and I am not even sure if the doctors will find out. But, I am trying to help it. I take care of myself as best as I can and even with my feet feeling horrible I am still cooking at home majority of the time, and if we do end up getting takeout, I try to make better choices. I am not diabetic. I’m not even pre-diabetic. I am a bit overweight, but I have delivered a baby at 30, and I’ve been pretty sedentary since last fall. I think the intermittent fasting is helping a bit with the weight.
I have stopped paying for my insurance premiums. My money was depleting, and the last few months I charged them on a credit card. And would start putting groceries on the credit card. Just anything so that I wasn’t dipping into my money that I knew I needed for my car payment, and of course, now a higher minimum payment on my credit cards, and also a loan I took out on my 401k to help us move up here. I’ll pay my car and the loan off next year. But, not if I can’t afford the payment.
I hurt all the time and I can’t imagine trying to work right now. There have been days it just hurts to drive. Then I think about walking very far….even if it is to a desk job, and I just don’t know how I can deal with the pain. There’s only so much you can hide.
I’m asking for money to help pay medical bills (my “bronze” insurance did not cover much, I know I owe for EMG test) and even to go to my next appointment. Yes, I have my husband, but because he’s paying for everything, there really isn’t anything left over. If there was anyway he could pay for it all, he would. And his job is more than full time and he’s salary. He can’t really run out and grab another job in this scenario.
I have sold some items on LetGo, EBay, and now I’m set up on Amazon and I’ve sold some items on there. But, it’s just not enough. Nothing I am doing is enough. I am seriously in a midlife crisis and more broke than I ever thought I would be. I get a $524 check for mom’s house, but that doesn’t take me very far. My loan is $170 every month, my car payment is $280, now that I kept using the credit cards, they are like $130 and $200 minimum payments now, and I can’t even help out with buying groceries like I was before. I used to help pay on internet bill/water, etc.
My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon as well. I feel like a failure as a mom because I don’t know if I can get her anything. I will, but I’ll end up charging the credit card that already has way too much on it. I feel very stuck. Before my credit goes to absolute crap, I’ll go to a temp agency and see if they could find a desk job part time or something.
I don’t know if I’ll have working feet like I used to, but I’m trying the best I can right now. Don’t ever take feet for granted. Even if you have hideous toes, if they work and don’t hurt, you love those things.
And if you’ve made it through my small novel, thanks. I guess I needed to vent.
Having to leave a job I loved, having to uproot our family and move, the stress of moving/job change, my mom’s cancer and then death, the stress of dealing with everything she owned, my grandma’s illness, oh…should I also mention my brother in law’s near death and double lung transplant in summer of 2017? No. Okay…it’s long enough.
This feels ridiculous. We are supposed to be raising funds for COTA (organ transplant association that helped with bro-in-law’s surgery), and now I’m on here asking for money for myself. 😭
If you have a spare $10, $100, $1,000….I would gladly accept it though. I’m in a pickle. A big, salty, briny pickle. And you let me know if you’d like updates from me for donating. Or a lame piece of art. I am an amateur artist. I have an entire room in this house that my husband and I agreed would be my own little studio space. But, it needs cleared out and cleaned and painted and the shelves I bought last summer put up…me, then…thinking how soon I would get it done, and then my feet. Argh.
I’m so super frustrated. And I know I could have done a better job managing my money. I wish I had never gotten insurance and just paid out of pocket and I would probably still have a little left. Between paying the premium for 7-8 months, and then the copays and trying to meet the hugest deductible on the planet, I ended up depleting money.
I’d like to buy my child’s school pictures. Like a $25 package.
It’s the little things like that…they are all stressful right now.
If you can donate, I seriously appreciate it so much. Even if I only get $1, it will be one more than I had.
I appreciate you, your time, and especially any donations.
Picture is of me and my girl being silly. 😊