Autoimmune Disease Disabled Teacher Seeks Grant Money And Financial Help
(Vineland, NJ, USA)
I am a 54-year-old teacher, with nearly three decades of classroom experience as a Physical Science/Chemistry teacher.
I have only twin sons, and my then-husband of 10 years walked away and abandoned me and my children when they were three months old.
This forced me into the role of a single parent, which I never dreamed would happen to me, as my ex and I had been together for so long. It has been a rough ride, but the three of us made it.
Along the way, I married my current husband, who has an alcoholic son a decade older than my sons. Sadly, my husband commits most of his affection, time and financial resources to his own son, and gives me what HE feels I "need" to run my home.
This has caused me a great deal of financial difficulty, since my total bills often exceed $4000 a month, including only food, no medicines or copays, and he frequently gives me less than half of what I need.
This has forced me to use my credit cards, since my husband insists he has no money to give me, and I am now drowning in credit card debt.
My sons, 21-year-old fraternal twins, are making their transitions, and it is very sad that due to my illnesses that have rendered me disabled I have not been of much help to them.
My younger son graduated college a semester early with honors, and when he could not find a job he enlisted in the Army. After graduating boot camp in Ft Jackson, SC, he is now stationed in Monterey, Ca. He now manages his own finances.
Remaining is my older son, a Chemistry major and crackerjack musician, whose car died in October 2011, and I had to scrounge up the funds to set him up in another car.
My "husband," ever the understanding type, did nothing to help my son and me in our time of severe need.
My son also got stuck with a student loan to live on campus last year that demands I pay $80 per month interest until his grace period ends.
He has one more year going part-time, since he will have two majors and a minor. My son works part-time, and is a great son.
My parents are all passed, my brother is not well (age 52) and I only have three Aunts and two uncles left (ages 88-99). My in-laws are also in frail health, and I have but a handful of friends and cousins I can call upon.
My husband uses his spare time for his own interests, including watching movies, gym nights at least three times weekly, family functions, playing cards, going to the casinos and spending time taking his son out shopping and for meals. He will take time to help me if I insist, and he cannot find any other way out. Call it "husband in name only."
I have had odd health problems all of my life. I sleepwalked and passed out as a teen; tests showed normal brain function. I was chronically anemic. I had horrendous periods, and cramps that ruined half of every month.
In my 20s I was diagnosed with endometriosis, the anemia linked to the excess bleeding. I had laser surgeries to burn the endometriosis, and at age 33 had my twins.
Then, diarrhea accompanied periods. In 1993 my Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My Dad died in 1995, and by then the diarrhea made me pale as a ghost and so weak I could hardly stand.
In 1996 a biopsy of my duodenum showed I had celiac disease, with very severe IBS-D. Just before my Mom died in 1997, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Then, I went for iron IVs for treatment of my anemia, hematocrit 9.6.
In 1998, my Mom's doctors from Jefferson in Philadelphia said she was BRCA positive, and my doctor removed my ovaries, burned out my uterine lining (I had endometrial hyperplasia) because a hysterectomy would have taken four days in the hospital, which I didn't have time off for or care for my children, then age 7.
The stress of my job peaked in 2004-2005, when I was assaulted twice in one school year by students. I now have anxiety disorder, and I will avoid going anyplace I am uncomfortable, or where there are a lot of people. I despise large crowds, even going to malls. I always am afraid I will have a diarrhea accident, and will not get to a bathroom.
I am very depressed over how my life simply sucks, and how my husband's evil son has destroyed any hope I ever had for a happy marriage.
I have been under a psychologist's care consistently since 2005. In 2007, as a "floating" Chemistry teacher at Winslow Township HS, Atco, NJ I was exposed to cesspool gases when my workstation was placed over a floor chemical drain that was dirty and nonfunctional.
I was deprived of my rights to Workers Comp, to ADA accommodations, and to a prejudice free, harassment free work environment. I will always have the asthma that resulted, and take three meds a day.
My WC case is stalled in Cumberland County's Court system since March 2008, and my lawyer has not done anything in months to settle this. I even contacted the Trial Judge supervisor, Hon. Renee Ricarelli, and that didn't even get his butt in gear. I lost my job because of my filing the claim.
My final job was a long drive, a long walk to a lavatory, and I tried my damndest to make it work. I was sold out, along with 30 co-workers, so our Union President could be a Vice-Principal; the day I was laid off I was diagnosed with an ulcer, GERD, and diverticulitis.
I applied for SSDI, and TPAF (NJ Teachers Pension). I am considered "fully disabled" by SSD effective December 2010. As of TPAF, I am in midst of ALJ hearing, to finish 6/27.
My thyroid, the size of a fist, was removed September 22, 2011. The day I came home from the hospital, my husband left me alone to go to his high school reunion -- and it was MY 54th BIRTHDAY.
In April, I had diarrhea so bad I began to bleed. After 14.5 yrs. I had a period, and it persisted until the hysterectomy was done. My Doctor diagnosed me with a huge fibroid, and noncancerous polyps in my uterus.
My laser hysterectomy was 6/14/2012, at Kennedy Hospital in Stratford, NJ. This "same-day" surgery landed me in ICU when someone thought I was not oxygenating properly and thought I might have a blood clot.
I am now in a great deal of pain, can barely walk and have diarrhea whenever I eat or when my husband is around. MY MEDICINES, COPAYS, SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS and SUPPLEMENTS run on average $500-$700/month.
HOME: too many stairs. I want my laundry station in a more accessible area. My bed makes me overheated as I sleep, and I HATE it. My husband does not do his share of work around the house, leaving it for me or for my sons. If it isn't done, he bitches and nags, and calls me a "lazy bitch," threatens to leave me.
TRANSPORT: I cannot drive for more than about 30 minutes without getting cramps and diarrhea, which forces me to ask someone to take me places that are farther away, as most IMEs are. There ARE no more vacations for me. I cannot carry large loads, or do too many stairs/walking, as it causes me to get cramps and have incontinence diarrhea accidents. I will never have a normal life again.
I worked full time until I filed for disability retirement, 6/30/10.
I had UI until it ran out.
I have had SSI since March 30, 2011, and it was effective December 1, 2010.
There are no jobs for a Chemistry teacher with my credentials within a two-hour radius, which I would not be able to drive, anyway.
Donations? Are you KIDDING?
I need financial assistance, as my copays are quite large for my meds and medical care. I wish I could order them several months at a time. My doctor copays are $800 up front, and then $25 for specialists and $15 for my GP.
My husband grudgingly got me insurance through his employer, but will not insure my son, which costs me $1500 a year. I would like to get my rightfully earned TPAF disability pension, which I applied for in September 2010, and the attached medical benefits.
As the benefits were fraudulently withheld from me by TPAF, supported in their efforts by IMEs who are incompetent doctors, I would like interest on the retro payment I am due and owed. This money will be immediately used to pay off the massive credit card debt I owe.
I would also like to get my attorney Richard C. Belli, Esq.'s butt in gear and get my Workers Comp case against Winslow Twp. Public Schools settled to pay off my remaining debts, and stash $$$ out of my husband's reach for a rainy day.
The settlement would be awarded for the permanent damage to my lungs, the illegal denial of WC treatment, forcing me to use my sick days illegally instead of awarding WC days, discriminatory, racially-motivated and harassing behavior due to my illness, refusal to make accommodations due to the ADA and set my class up in another appropriate room, illegal termination of employment and theft of my personal possessions from my teaching station AND interest.
I also want guidance in setting up a joint contributory account where we will each contribute equally, and pay the bills without HIM just "giving" what he wants, spending over half of his income as he pleases, and sticking me with the rest of the balances of the bills. I want what I am owed, and I want to be able to access the medicines and doctors to keep me as well as possible.