Cancer Disabled Couple Seek Disability Grants Or Loans To Carry On
by Jeffery R. Cook
(Mesquite, Texas, USA)
In the year 2000, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. I had four cysts lodged together. I had to have a feeding tube, a Mediport and throat surgery all in the same day.
I was only 37 years old worked residential repairs all my life carrying cement bags around all day felt good to stay up with the younger guys spent 17 years with same company.
The wife (at that time 22 years) had just completed some college courses to go back to work after raising three boys and a girl.
Anyway, they only gave me a 30/70 chance to make it through. I came through throat surgery very weak, and took about three weeks of bed rest to get back to where we could start chemo, and radiation treatments.
I thought the hard part was over. Wrong! After two weeks of carrying a fanny pack on my side seven days on and seven days off, plus radiation every day, it really hit me.
We burnt my throat so bad we had to stop for one month to let me heal back. This went on for two years. In this time I also developed pancreatitis, thyroid problems, ulcers, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
Believe me after working for so long it drove me nuts staying home. I tried to drive on meds and got caught. Since I had previous driving violations, I lost my license.
During these two years I also had to fight in court to get the SSI that I had paid into over the years. All the bills really piled up quickly.
My wife (bless her heart) kept struggling to keep us afloat. I thought things would balance out after winning a review of my case. Wrong again.
I had a recurrence of my cancer, (I never found out where it started the first time.) In 2004, my doctor told me that we could start treatments again.
This really hit the depression bad. From 2003 to 2006 I was in and out of hospitals for cancer/depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction. I lost it and tried killing myself by taking pills. I just couldn't take any more.
In 2007, I finally got a little break. I started gaining weight back. When I started treatment I weighed 185 lbs. I dropped to 112 lbs before stopping treatment.
Losing this much weight caused problems with my legs and back and being able to concentrate. I tried going back to work. I got through two days. The heat and radiation don't get along.
My throat swells and I can't swallow anything, not even water. They hospitalized me for seven days. I know now that I won't be able to go back doing what I loved to do, working with the public.
I took about a year looking at different trades. I'm not sure what I can do. I cut three fingers off my left hand, working on lawnmower.
They also burnt over half my inter eardrum on both sides, which affects my balance, coordination. Now I have a hearing problem. I can't work in sun.
I lost most of the feeling in my left hand. I can't stand on feet more than 30 minutes. I have very little experience with computers. I can't read for more than 10 or 15 minutes.
I get migraines so bad they put me to bed. I can't even start to pick up a full bag of concrete. I have bad memory loss. My doctor tells me these side effects are the bad side of treatment.
My health has only returned back to about 30/40 percent. My doctor says, "Learn to live with it the best you can for what time is left." At this time in my life I'm lost.
If I try to go back to work full-time and can't do it, I'm screwed. They probably won't give me back my disability pay. No insurance, no help, it's a lost cause, to sum it up.
I've filed bankruptcy three times. So has my wife. To save our home, we sold everything we owned (except daily used things.) We have no savings account.
My wife's been told she has female problems and breast cancer and will need chemotherapy. The two together will be a loss of six months of lost work time no pay.
Her dad just killed himself after being told he had cancer that was detected too late to help. He took the easy way out. He died just two weeks ago.
The more I sit here and think about the past nine years of my life, it doesn't sound too bad.
I was thinking that maybe the government could help out by giving a grant or loan to start a car business. All I'd need would be three hours a day online doing auctions by selling cars.
I have a couple of friends that have raised their families doing it. Then I could possibly help my wife with her recovery too, since I've been through it once.
I do know this. If something doesn't happen soon I'm afraid we might see her dad sooner than we were supposed to.
Anyway, thank you for your time today. Guess I'll sit and wait for answer/results. Please help us in mesquite Texas.
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