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Crohns And CFS Disabled Grandma Needs Grant Money To Move To Virginia

by Debra Rief
(Grand Island, NE, USA)

I am a 48-year-old Crohn's and chronic fatigue syndrome disabled grandma that has been divorced for years.

I have four wonderful children that live on their own and three beautiful grandchildren.

One of my sons is in the National Guard and has been for 10 years. He served 18 months in Iraq on a truck. My other son just joined.

I'm proud of my kids.

Eight years after I graduated from high school, I went back to college, with my four children by my side. I had the youngest at the beginning of the second year of college.

I divorced my husband of 10 years. He told me that I couldn't go to college. I wasn't going to let that hold me back. I wanted more out of life.

I transferred to a four-year college to finish my degree in Special Education Secondary Teacher.

After college, I got my first job as a specialist, working with adult personality disorders. I enjoyed the experience.

I moved on to my first teaching job, working with junior high special education students. I also worked at a high-risk school with self-contained students with behavioral disorders.

I moved on to working with inmates as a GED teacher. I love to teach. The inmate populations I worked with were in jail, the daily reporting program and the work release.

Plus, I became a foster parent. My children were wonderful. They helped however they could and we made a life for ourselves. We had a beautiful house and a dependable nice car.

One afternoon at work, I doubled over with pain. We thought I was having an appendicitis. They took me to the hospital and the pain was extreme.

In the emergency room, they informed me that they would have to do testing. They kept me for five days, doing many tests.

The doctors came in with the news… I had moderate/severe Crohn's disease.

I had been a picture of health before this. My brothers even bragged that I was so healthy and I didn't even get women problems. Aren't they so nice? It was true, though. Smile.

I never heard of Crohn's before, so I told the doctors to give me my medicine, so I could get better and go back to work.

That's when they informed me that, that's not how it works. It was a lifetime disease and I had it.

WOW! I was in shock.

See, my family has a long line of workaholics. We grew up in the country and started young.
If you weren't dying, then you were working.

I finally came to grips with it when I decided it was God's way to slow me down. I was living in a bigger city and it was fast paced, and I loved raising my kids and doing my jobs well.

I got out of the hospital, and after a month of being in bed, I went back to work. I still did the foster care too.

I ended up back in the hospital.

The doctors told me to quit working. I did.

I ended up back in the hospital.

I was still doing foster care and they told me that was a job and I must quit it too. It was hard, but I did.

I had to sell the house, getting less then I paid five years earlier. I went from teachers pay to disability. That was a big adjustment.

That was 10 years ago and I still struggle with slowing down.

During those 10 years, I got chronic fatigue syndrome. People don't really understand what it is.

Here's how I explain it to them.

Think of a person that gets an adrenaline rush and is able to lift a car. Well, this is the exact opposite. It's as if someone attached a powerful vacuum to you and sucked out all your energy.

I have never been to so many specialists and so many doctors in my life.

The rest of what has happened since Crohn's is:

- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Three episodes of pneumonia in one year
- Fibromyalgia
- Nodules on the inside of my throat
- Sleep disorder
- Thoracic ascending aortic aneurysm

I would like to add that my family is a pretty healthy family. I am the only one with so many disabilities and diseases. I believe I am the happiest, though.

I take many drugs and give myself shots. I take it all in stride though. I am a happy person, with a positive outlook. I would say what gets to me the most is the chronic fatigue. I have to rest a lot.

Stress is a HUGE factor in this. It is my worst enemy.

I am the one in my family that everyone came to, including my children. Of course, they are the ones that are supposed to come to me. Smile.

Now, however, it is too stressful and I keep trying to get less stress.

Most of them live here in Nebraska. I have lived here in Nebraska all my life.

I have now decided that I want to get away from it all. My dad lives in Virginia and I love the ocean.

I have made a decision to move there. We both like our privacy, so there will be less stress.

It will probably take me a good week once I'm there to recoup from the whole process, maybe longer.

I do need the help and would appreciate it greatly.

I have been having a terrible time trying to find help. I have been through the search engines and all they have to offer.

I have called places, including the 211 number, and am still working on different avenues.

My problem is the whole moving process.

With all my diseases, including the chronic fatigue, I am not able to do all of it and afford it.

I live on disability, and moving is a big expense. So I need help with loading and unloading, here in Grand Island, Nebraska and then in Virginia. I want to move there September 2012.

Also, I need help with the expense of moving. I will need money for a moving truck and trailer, the gas to get there, one night in a hotel and a first month's deposit.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope that you find it in your heart to help me in some way.

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