Header for Ability Mission

Government Disability Grant For Multiply Disabled Father To Live Autonomously

by William Cook
(Edgewater, Florida, USA)

I am a 59-year-old father of two daughters 25 and 27. I also have a grandson and granddaughter. We are very close. I come from a very large family of eight.

I supported, and still do to an extent, the lives of my children and I need now to take some time and effort in applying time to my life.

I would like more quality at this stage of my life. I am willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish this, whatever it takes.

I have prayed whole-heartedly and feel my prayers were answered being guided to this web site.

I am not asking for a hand out but a hand up. I respectfully ask for the guidance in this endeavor.

I consider myself an intelligent individual seeking to build on my strengths. I've taken on several occupations in my time. Now I need to look at other avenues for financial as well as emotional balance.

Disability Issues

Disability issues started to evolve many years ago when I was just 20.

Throughout my teenage years I did mostly construction and housing maintenance.

I grew up in an average family that had financial woes and I was not able to attend college.

My father was a titan of a person who took very seriously raising our family, making sure our needs were met. He worked three jobs at times.

My mom raised us kids (so many of us) and she never showed selfish behavior; she was all about us.

At 20 years old, I seriously injured my lower back. At the time there was no relief or knowledge of spinal injury.

Over the next 20 years, I spent two to three times a year in bed for one to two weeks at a time.

I worked hard these years injuring the spine even more. I my late 30s I had a vehicle accident that hospitalized me.

Two spinal surgeries later, construction work was now out of the question. I had to make a career change.

Social Security denied me over and over. I finally was able obtain a grant and return to school where I entered the culinary field. I graduated a certified chef with a degree in the food industry.

The year following was the worst ever. I remember it well. I worked for a company managing the kitchen at Florida state prison feeding inmates.

I received a call in my office that my doctor needed to see me. That night, he told me I had Stage 3 Esophageal cancer.

It hit me hard. My wife had died of breast cancer a year prior… first her, now me.

I decided at that moment I was going to fight this as Trisha did. I was determined to survive to take care of the children like she asked me to.

Two years of chemo and radiation shrunk the tumor away. Six months later it returned. I was scheduled for surgery immediately.

A procedure called an Ivor Lewis was performed. Since the radiation melted the stomach and esophagus to the chest wall, I basically needed to be cut in half, from left breast around to the spinal cord.

The esophagus was removed, along with 50 percent of the stomach. I was then reconstructed reattaching the stomach to the throat.

The surgery entailed cutting my throat lengthwise, crisscross cutting in the abdomen around the side through the intercostal space and spreading the ribs in order to enter the chest cavity.

I spent 22 hours in surgery, 17 days in a coma and 33 days in hospital.

I'm being detailed here for a better understanding for anyone that reads this just how in-depth this was and how this brought me to my knees.

There were several major nerves cut: intercostal, Vagus and T2 through T9. The first two are responsible for the motility of the digestive track.

From August 2003 to now (11 years), I've spent every single day in the most agonizing pain you can imagine.

I have to eat five to seven small meals a day for proper nutrition and to maintain my weight. I have lost 100 pounds in this time.

Even a cookie sends me into an agonizing place. I have had so much abdominal pain that I have literally passed out.

Up until three months ago, when a new drug finally came out, there was no known medication for the kind of pain relief I needed, except the narcotics I had been on for 11 years.

I have been on the new drug for seven days now and have been able to reduce the pain medications 75%. It's a true miracle.

I suspect now that there will be further study for even more as the medical field in the area of gastroenterology evolves.

What I am known to have now is Gastroparesis (slow emptying and lack of motility of the digestive system).

Although I still have medical issues, my physical ability does not allow me to return to any field of work that I know.

I have survived on Social Security for the past 11 years and my financial situation is grave. So this puts me at a cross road of what to do.

As prices on the essentials rise I am barely surviving and I need to return to school for another field but I have no way of doing this. Without education on top of the disability I am at a loss.

Financial Hardship

Since the recent removal of the J tube (feeding pump), I no longer need any equipment.

My situation financially is grave. I am seriously in debt, most of which is medical copayments but it is thousands.

I can barely afford my electricity, water and rent.

I am behind on payments for my van, which I took off the road to continue some kind of payment. The money I spent on insurance for it was just what the payment is. I hope to pay the last $3000 off then reinsure it.

I have Internet and a low cost phone but do not have the expense of TV. I do without it.

I have a friend and taxis to take me to the doctors twice a month, shopping for groceries and other things or places I need to go.

I have my daughters that help but they also have their own lives and children to care for; they must work.

By faith these needs become met, until I get the situation of my auto taken care of.

I have no savings to fall back on.

Medications total $150 a month. Doctors' co-pays are $80.

I have had to rely on the Social Security for all this. I want to work but at what?

I need $350 a month for essentials. Last week I had an unexpected outpatient treatment. Thank GOD for Medicare, the total was $3500.

I just had to have my dentures relined. That was $650. I am supposed to have screws put in the jaw because of not being able to chew. That's $8000 I cannot afford, so there goes an improvement to my digestion.

A hacker got into my computer last month. Thank GOD for my brother; he had it fixed $250. If I did not have this I wouldn't be doing this story.

I'm a mess financially. I am very business-orientated, but I have no money to start one.

Credit is out of the question with my credit score of 360.

But as I said previously I will do whatever it takes and I do not expect a hand out, just a hand up.

Income Efforts

I have looked into working at home and I have only run into where you have to buy kits or manuals, or how-to guides.

It seems you need to buy something first to start it. As the saying goes you need to spend it to make it.

I do not have the physical ability to work a full-scale restaurant.

In the past 11 years I have sold all my building tools. I had what it took to build a house but I had to survive.

The two professions I know best are housing and food. But I can learn almost anything.

I have a very strong belief and faith system. A few churches in the area have helped with food and even sometimes money, but they can only do so much. They need to help others in worse shape than I am.

I have even gone to banks asking for help. When First Union was around they gave me $100 to get Christmas gifts for my two girls.

I receive Social Security disability to meet my basics, albeit barely. GOD said, "I will provide your needs," so he does.

I have some close friends/acquaintances but not to ask for money. I just can't. I am shaking doing this.

Family has done what they can, and still help at times where they can. They have families also to care for.

I make $64 over the federal poverty level to get food stamps and do not qualify for anything over the SSDI.

Specific Needs

When I first read this question I thought, what am I looking for?? My answer to myself was I do not know!

I have thought deeply on this subject especially over this past year and I guess this web site caught me off guard. So, now I'm thinking again…

I watched my sister once who was in commercial real estate. She was as broke as me but had no medical problems.

I went to the state where she lived to help her resurrect her business and it worked.

I came home and received a call from her a few months later. She had said she made a huge amount of money on a deal she put together.

I found out shortly after about the cancer. I called her for help and she stated she was not into helping family with money.

I then found out from my mom that my sister was headed for Cancun. Then I found out she had spent all the money and was broke once again.

If I were granted a sum of money I would look at business. If I were offered a business opportunity I would throw myself into it.

If I were offered schooling I would put that above anything, I would look at how I could make my future better.

Whatever was placed in front of me I would look at how I could make it work for me and my future financially as well as emotionally. I would certainly NOT go on a vacation.

Business Idea

This I really have not thought of because over the past 11 years I saw no way out of this, but off the cuff, I see potential in developing an improved cigarette substitute.

Comments for Government Disability Grant For Multiply Disabled Father To Live Autonomously

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 07, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
God Blesses All His Children
by: Anonymous

My heart really goes out to you. I can see you're a very strong man and you have let God lead you. That's the only way to make it. Keep up the faith and I know God will send you help. May blessings be many and soon.

Mar 21, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
My situation
by: Theresa

By the way I am not broke again… I have money to live on and some investments and am working on my real estate deals as we speak. I am reading your story. You didn’t put my real estate business back together Bill I did. I also helped you build a very lucrative maintenance business when you were in Colorado.

Bill I have put out sooooo much money on the family... thousands and thousands and ended up at 51 with nothing. I can’t do that again and I won’t. Maybe you should not have bought the Harley….

Your sister

Mar 05, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
In reply to Ken
by: Bill Cook

Ken,

Thank you so much on the food for thought. Some things I will look into; others I have already. I have applied for Pell and other grants and I'm awaiting their reply.

Things I will look into are: the possibility of working in a managerial position at a cafe or small restaurant. I have been head Chef in several. I opened a diner in Lake City, Florida, and it is still inoperation after many years.

Most of my construction contacts are lost. That was long ago and when I had the onset of cancer, I seemed to leave all that behind me in my search for medical help. In the last 11 years, I've taken a new direction.

Recently I have been approved for admittance this Thursday to the Mayo Clinic for evaluation. I'm praying for something to lessen the effects that Gastroparesis has on me. This will enable me to go after some roads you have just suggested.

Thank you again, Ken and to the people who run this site. It is a blessing. Even to just tell someone my story and have a suggestion reply was uplifting.

I am going to remain diligently expressive to this site. GOD knows there is a light. He's guiding me to it and I want others to see the ending with a new beginning to my story.

Bill

Mar 05, 2013
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
On the Edge in Florida
by: Ken

Hi William,

I myself am a Red Seal Chef, but can't stand on my legs long enough to work. Peripheral neuropathy sucks. You may still have something, with your knowledge in construction and the kitchen. Perhaps you could work as a commercial kitchen designer. You would have to hire subcontractors to do the work and just have a space to work from at the site of the restaurant. If you have any old contacts, it may be a start. Also, check into a school loan to get your BA to prove to any pre-existing business you have the talent and qualifications. Food for thought. Talk to a counselor about it.

Good Luck,
Ken

Click here to add your own comments

Return to US Florida.