A Humbling Decision
By ShoreBookworm on August 16, 2011
Featured Member Post
After much hand wringing and angst and worry about the propriety, I have added a PayPal widget to my blog.
Of course, I do nothing without a considerable amount of…um…consideration. I think of things from a myriad of different angles and scenarios, most of which would never occur in a million years. Hey, it is important to know the population of wolverines in New Jersey (zero), because wolverines are very dangerous.
Anyway, by way of background, my wonderful children threw a surprise party for me for my 50th birthday in September 2004. In a speech that day, my oldest son said he was proud of me because I had faced a great deal of adversity but had triumphed to lead a successful and happy life.
I lost an eye at the age of four in an accident outside our apartment building. I had a difficult childhood and then grew up and entered a difficult marriage. I was widowed at 39, left to raise four children aged 6 to 16. I worked three jobs to support them. Although I have been blessed with amazing friends, I received no help from my family whatsoever. They hightailed it after the funeral, never to so much as offer us a cup of tea or ask how we were making out. Enough adversity, right? I certainly thought so.
That accolade from my son is one of the most cherished moments of my life. The irony is within a year I would be in a hospital, paralyzed and diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, which had caused significant spinal cord damage. I had developed TM because, they told me now, I had multiple sclerosis. On my 50th birthday, while my son sang my praises for being independent and successful despite numerous challenges, I had no idea my prior ‘adversities’ would seem like minor bumps in the road compared to what I was facing.
Before, no matter what obstacle was in front of me, I figured out how to deal with it. Now I had a disease that did not give me that option. Or any other option.
I have been laid off now for over a year and a half. I keep getting sicker all the time, weak, numb, less cognizant. It takes me almost two full hours to organize my clothes, take a shower and get dressed. I can no longer walk without some assistance device, a walker or, more and more often, a wheelchair. It is occurring to me on a frequent basis that I am unlikely to ever re-enter the work force, despite the fact that I have a powerful work ethic and a strong desire to work again.
My income has been slashed to one quarter of what it was. But my bills were not reduced. I cannot pay my mortgage. It is literally touch and go getting the utilities paid every month. There is no extra money for wheelchair lifts or a home health aide, which I desperately need. Medicine and health care are astronomical. After a fall in 2008, when I broke my shoulder, things got even worse. Although I have excellent insurance, I still have enormous tabs at the orthopedist, the physical therapist and the oncologist (where I get my monthly MS treatment). I chip away at them every month but it is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.
So now I know (along with so many others): THIS is adversity.
And this is why, after thought and prayer and encouragement from kind friends, I have relented and added a PayPal button.
It may never even get a single donation. And that would be ok. But it also could make a difference in important ways.
So thank you in advance for understanding. I am not looking for a hand out, this has been a painful decision that took much prayer. And that is what I can give back to all of you, everyone who reads this blog, everyone who has to deal with a chronic illness and its devastation, everyone who takes care of someone with a chronic illness. You are all, always, in my prayers.
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