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Chronic Pain Disabled Single Mom Of Three Seeks Grant Money To Rebuild Life

by Stacey Martin
(Abington, MA, USA)

I am a 39-year-old single mother of three great boys. My children are the key to my motivation every day.

Through the years we have had many trials and tribulations. I was unfortunately a victim of domestic violence with the father of my two oldest boys.

Through the help of South Shore Women's Resource Center, I was able to break out of that relationship when my middle son was just an infant.

I then became engaged to a wonderful man who was willing to take on the role as a father to my boys. My boys fell in love with him and I became pregnant with my third child.

Unfortunately, he passed away from a tragic accident at the age of 28 when I was six months pregnant.

I was fortunate to have his family and such a great support system from my family and friends to carry me through the grieving process.

I have remained single and am able to focus on my children and doing everything I can to ensure they grow to be contributions to society.

I officially became disabled in December of 2010. My symptoms started back in 2009 with severe chronic back and leg pain.

I started seeing specialist at Spaulding and Mass General Hospital approximately ten months into trying to manage the pain myself, but due to my career as a color/hair stylist it was affecting my ability to perform my job.

After approximately a year of testing I was given a punch hole biopsy on my leg and was given a diagnosis of severe nerve damage in both legs.

Strangely, they were able to link the cause to when I was a child and my father treated my growing pains with the solvent dimethyl sulfoxide, known popularly as DMSO.

It is used by veterinarians and not to be used by humans. He used it on my legs for years to ease the pain in my legs.

The unfortunate result is that this solvent is known to cause long-term nerve damage in humans. There is no cure for this type of damage.

As for my back pain, I have several herniated disks and degenerative disk disease. I have been treated consistently over the years by a chiropractor.

As a result of the many different medications I have been on, I have also developed narcolepsy and sleep apnea.

Due to my disabilities I lost my home to a foreclosure in 2008 because I could no longer perform my job. I had been a stylist for more than 18 years and loved my job!

I had to move to a three-bedroom apartment where I reside now. My disability payments just cover my rent and my utilities are all overdue. My hardship and need of a CPAP machine is the only reason I am able to keep the electricity on.

I am in arrears of over $2,700 due to my finances. Because of the arrears I am expected to pay the monthly rent of $1,150 plus an additional $300 towards the arrears each month.

I am currently being threatened with eviction. I have been on a Section 8 voucher list for over four years with what seems to be no hope soon.

I could no longer afford to insure my vehicle so it sat for more than six months and as a result ended up having to be junked for a simple $300.

So, I am left with no means of transportation. With three children it is extremely difficult to get them to needed appointments as well as myself.

My source of income right now is SSDI. I get $1022 and $252 per month.

My youngest son receives survivor benefits so is not eligible to receive benefits under my disability. My oldest is now over the age of 18 so no longer is eligible either.

I receive $300 per month in Food Stamps which unfortunately last me approximately 10 days with three boys. The remainder of the month is a struggle.

I have to say that my goal is to be able to start with a clean slate financially. I have no credit card debt just strictly everyday living expenses that have become overwhelming.

I would like nothing more than to become current with my arrears in rent and be able to obtain a vehicle that would enable me to ease myself back into doing what I love for work.

It has been a extreme lifestyle change for my boys and me, going from being independent and owning my own home to being unemployed and dealing with our living situation.

It has definitely impacted our mental well-being. My goal of owning my own salon just five years ago seemed realistic but that reality took a wrong turn.

The New England Pain Associates helped me achieve a pain management system for me that has enabled me to be function on a daily basis despite my physical ailments. The number one thing standing in my way is finances.

I have always had a goal of owning my own salon. Just two years ago, I had a very large clientele. With 18 plus years of corrective color and color/cutting experience, I know that I could produce a salon that would prosper.

I was fortunate to have worked for a high-end salon that I managed as well. I was not only their top stylist but was trained on the business end as well.

I believe I have what it takes to open a salon and make it thrive. If I were to have enough space available for just two other stylists, I could cover my expenses by earning commissions or by renting space.

I also did very well with sales in retail. With the markup being double on retail I would profit greatly in that department also.

My children are now at an age where I could devote the time and attention I would need to dedicate myself to fulfilling my goal/dream. But due to financial obstacles I am not able to pursue my dream.

I want my boys to be once again proud of me and to see that obstacles are bound to come into play in life but that they can also be overcome and not to let pride stand in the way of asking for help when needed.

With help and determination I hope I am able to succeed with my dream!

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