Disability Grant Money To Help Cancer Disabled Woman Relieve Medical Debt
by Sharon Uhland
(Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, USA)
I am a 56-year-old- female living in my own home alone.
I have two grown children with families of their own. I also have five beautiful granddaughters that I hold so near and dear to my heart.
I love listening to music, camping, fishing and hanging out with my family and friends.
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My journey and my battle with cancer and disability began in 2006. I began having female problems in January 2006.
My gynecologist performed a procedure that resulted in the diagnosis of severe dysplasia Level 4, which she reported was pre-cancer.
My doctor then suggested I do a cone biopsy of the cervix to see how far the cancer had spread. After this procedure she changed her diagnosis to dysplasia Level 1.
My doctor then suggested that I needed a hysterectomy. After the cone biopsy was performed I was told to wait six weeks to heal before I had the hysterectomy.
My hysterectomy was performed in April 2006. I thought everything was going to be okay, but my problems didn't end there.
I had cervical cancer that didn't get diagnosed by my gynecologist. As a result of this mistake, my health slowly but drastically changed for the worse.
I began getting sores in my mouth in 2009 and it happened on several occasions.
I would see my primary doctor for this condition and she would diagnose the condition as viral and prescribe an antibiotic.
The medicine helped but the sores continued to reappear.
I started having pain in my lower back, but I paid no attention to it, because I had hurt my back and tailbone when I was 13 years old and suffered from pain off and on for years.
The pain worsened and I wasn't able to control it with over-the-counter medication. Still I ignored the pain.
In January 2010 while at work I noticed my left leg was swollen and was twice the size as the left leg.
I immediately went to the doctor. She requested an ultra-sound thinking I had a possible blood clot.
The technician was unable to locate a clot, so a CAT scan was ordered. As a result of the scan it was determined I had a tumor mass on my lower back.
My doctor referred me to a cancer specialist in Denver, Colorado which is a three-hour drive round trip.
A biopsy was performed and it was diagnosed as retroperitoneal sarcoma. This doctor explained to me that sarcoma meant the cancer came from a different place in my body.
After testing it was determined I didn't have cancer anywhere else. After discussing the hysterectomy with him, the doctor then diagnosed that cervical cancer was the starting place.
He explained to me that after my hysterectomy, I had cancer cells in my body that moved and found another place to thrive.
The tumor was growing, which was causing the pain in my lower back. It was moving toward my left kidney all without my knowledge.
The tumor metastasized to my left kidney and ovary, and started moving to the left leg. At this point pain was getting unbearable.
When it reached the left leg it wrapped around the main vein to my heart and nerves, which was what caused the swelling in my leg.
My specialist suggested surgery immediately. He advised me that I would lose my left kidney and ovary.
I was so devastated and couldn't make the decisions I needed to make, so my sons stepped in and made decisions for me. My surgery was scheduled a week later.
As I was being prepped for surgery, my surgeon came in and told me that we had to cancel the surgery because the damage that was in my leg needed to be looked at more carefully by a radiologist before performing the surgery.
He said I was going to need cadaver veins and they weren't prepared for this type of surgery. A cardiovascular doctor was called in to help perform the surgery.
My surgery lasted eight hours. Instead of cadaver veins I had artificial veins replacing the damaged ones.
After waking up from surgery I discovered my left leg was not working. In order to save my life there was massive nerve damage done to my leg.
My cardiovascular doctor told me I was lucky they didn't take my leg and I would eventually lose it.
I still have the leg but it doesn't work. I have nerve damage and left foot drop which gets worse day by day.
I have no feeling to the touch in my leg or foot, but the leg, foot and toes are extremely sensitive. I have excruciating pain mainly in the foot and toes.
I had a nerve conduction test done and it showed nerve damage that couldn't be repaired.
I rely on a walker and a wheelchair to get around. Special braces have been made in order for me to walk; however, I am only able to wear the brace for about an hour because of the severe pain in my leg and foot.
I am very wobbly and I have fallen several times and now am on a lifeline.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatments caused more damage. My colon and intestines have been severely damaged. I am in the hospital a lot for bowel obstructions.
I woke up from one surgery performed with a colonoscopy, which cannot be reversed.
After another surgery, I woke up with a 6" wide and 6" deep wound in my stomach and I had to wear a Wound VAC.
I don't wear the Wound VAC anymore but I still have the opening in my stomach. The bowel obstructions are excruciating and I have never felt pain like this.
My latest tests show no signs of cancer but I still need to be monitored regularly, with tests and checkups for years according to my oncologist. My chances of the cancer returning are high from the report of my oncologist.
All the surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation have depleted my body. I get very tired just from minimal physical activity. I love being around my family but I have to cut it short because I get so tired.
I have a hard time going anywhere because of the difficulty with my leg, and the colostomy.Financial Hardship
I am currently receiving disability, but it is a very minimal amount and does not cover all the expenses I am responsible for.
I cashed in my retirement plan and have been living off that from month to month. I also had Aflac cancer insurance. All these funds have depleted and I fear that I will have to sell my house in order to survive. I have lived in my house for 35 years.
I am on narcotics to control the pain in my leg and foot, and medications because of depression, medications for anxiety, medications for nerve pain.
I have totally wiped out all my savings to try and live a normal life.
I have a walker that I depend on and a wheelchair, along with special braces made for my leg.Income Efforts
I tried to return to work several times in 2010 but every time I tried I would be back in the hospital. My boss was very generous and kept me on payroll for 13 months so I was able to keep my insurance.
The last time I tried to return to work was December 2010 and my body just couldn't keep up. It was extremely hard to get around by myself with a walker, so I turned my resignation in on December 31, 2011.
I have signed up for two different courses to obtain a work-at-home job, but all I have done is create more debt that I cannot pay. I am still taking the courses.
I have tried to return to work but no one wants to hire me because I am unable to stand or walk around very well.Specific Needs
I would like a grant to help me with the work-at-home courses I have signed up for, and help with my mortgage, medical bills and relief from debt.
I would definitely appreciate any advice you can give to help me with my situation.
Any help would really help, including any work-at-home programs available to disabled people
Cancer and disability have taken over my life and I don't know where to go for help, or where I will go if I lose my home.