Let’s start at the beginning.
My mom and I have been together my entire life. All of her decisions and choices for the past thirty years have been focused only on how it would improve my life. She raised me with her mom, my grandma, and we were close until my grandma got too ill to work and had to quit her job and we took care of her.
My grandma passing away in 2011 was very hard on my mom. Two years later, my grandpa passed away. It was another hard hit for my mom and our small family got smaller.
Four years ago, my mom got the gastric sleeve surgery to lose weight. She’d been struggling with weight issues and depression for as long as I was alive and this was finally the first thing she’d ever done for herself. She lost over a hundred pounds and felt great. She went off of all medication except vitamins, had endless energy, was happy until late December 2016.
Since then, she’s had a headache for every day. Her body has attacked her. She’s been diagnosed with meniscus tears, tears in her shoulder, bone spurs in her shoulder and her lower back, ruined discs in her spine. She’s had countless MRIs. Finding nothing specific, it was diagnosed as fibromyalgia.
For two years, she’s had to live every day in 8/10 pain, trying to limit her medication intake while still managing to work. Three times a week, she experiences muscle cramps in her legs so severe that she screams at the top of her lungs. Home remedies and pharmaceutical medication doesn’t stop it, even when she tries to drug herself up enough to try to sleep through the night.
I lost my job and she urged me to return to school, that she could handle the bills with her paychecks. She soon joined me in taking classes a semester later and we’re both in pre-nursing, her old grades from university still on record, her GPA 4.0 and covered by a Pell Grant. It’s been one of the few things that distracts her from the pain.
Three months ago, she couldn’t move. Her shoulder had locked up, her back was worse than ever. She had to go on short term disability to find answers or relief. It’s been three months with long waits between appointments and limited answers. She’s had six MRIs. There was a brief suggestion to repair the tears in her shoulder and the bone spur for $1200. We’ve never had that kind of money to spare, using our savings instead to carry through the months she’s been out.
My mom decided to try a pain clinic in order to manage her pain to return to work. Unfortunately, the medication they’ve put her on have been all sedating. In the midst of this, she’s finally gone for help for her mental health but the medicine is also sedating. She’s gone from no medication to four different sedating medicine that her doctors tell her to just “let your body get used to it.” She’s trying to do physical therapy in the meantime but she’s been so sedate and different and unable to drive.
My mom has jumped through hoops, tried to keep extending her short term disability at work, and we’ve been sinking quickly, as disability is only 60% of her regular pay. She can only remain on short term disability for so long but we were hoping she would be able to be more stable on the medication and stronger on physical therapy and she’s optimistic about returning to work mid-December or early January at the latest.
She just wants the pain to go down to a four or five so she can work again, she’s worked since she was 15 and this is really difficult for her.
We’ve never been even “comfortable” with our finances but we’ve ways made it work and have had each other. We don’t go out to eat or eat fast food (she can’t since her surgery anyway), we’ve seen maybe two movies this year but they’re just so expensive so we stay at home. We don’t celebrate our birthdays or Christmas because we can’t afford to get presents. We’re wearing clothes that are years old – we don’t live extravagantly by any means.
To see her in this amount of frustration and pain is hard and I do what I can to make life around the house easier for her. I’m taking five courses a semester to try to get into the nursing program quicker but the prerequisites are specific and I can’t take the science courses faster than one semester at a time.
We’ve had arguments about me returning to work but she says I’ve spent enough time in my life helping with my grandma, my grandpa, and now her and she wants me to stay in college full time so I’ll never be in her position and that we’ll be fine financially when she returns to work. We have nothing of value to sell, I’ve looked everywhere for jewelry or old electronics or old coins and there is nothing.
Our money has ran down to the bare minimum. This is the month that we can’t make our mortgage. The disability payments cover our utilities but the biggest bill is our mortgage and it isn’t considered late until the 15th.
The mortgage is just under $1200 and it’s all we need to get us through until she’s getting paychecks again.
Anything more would go directly to the next month’s mortgage so that maybe we could have a head start.
Pictured is the only vacation we took three years ago since I was 15. We drove to Monterey, slept in the car, and it was still the happiest thing we’ve done together.
Here’s my PayPal.me account and thank you for reading all of this.