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Disability Grant Money Will Help Lupus Disabled Single Mom Save Home

by Kat Howard
(Snohomish, WA, USA)

I have had SLE (Lupus) for 25 years and have had several severe bouts with it, to the point of making final arrangements for care of my daughter and final wishes.

I've fought back and re-invented myself several times after these bouts.

While raising a daughter on my own, I put myself through college, earning the Dean's Medallion Award in Math/Science upon graduating with an AA from Fresno Community College.

From there, I went on and completed my education with a BS in Environmental Toxicology from UC Davis. I started having a fair amount of symptoms of SLE while going to college.

I started my career, finally, at 29 years of age (my daughter was now 11 years old). I got sicker and sicker while working professionally that first year and finally had health insurance and was diagnosed with SLE (Lupus), Sjogren's and Raynaud's syndrome.

I was able to work from home and earn a comfortable living... make investments, save money... while battling this very uncomfortable illness. Finally over the next six years I got too sick to work, between the meds and the pain level.

I bought a house with the money I had made from my investments in 1997. While I was recuperating, I did little projects on my new home and did some gardening, bought a puppy and rested.

After a couple of years and getting off the meds, I was able to go back to work, this time in real estate, hoping the varied hours would work out better for me this time around.

I did have several more bouts, which would knock me down for months at a time, but I was able to keep my career going.

Now, I have had to give up my real estate career. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia too about four years ago and have been battling the pain associated with that disease ever since, and the effects of the other autoimmune system illnesses.

I finally got social security disability, but have lost everything, all my investments, etc. in trying to keep up with the bills that I had no problem paying while I was able to work.

I am still single - it is quite difficult to be around someone who is in pain a good deal of the time. I just really want to be able to keep my house. I love the place. It represents peace and tranquility to my daughter and me.

Over the years I have planted trees and boxwood hedges, a flower garden with raised beds, built arbors and trellises.... it lives and breathes me.

At this point in my life, besides by lovely daughter and few friends who live nearby, it gives me joy... watching the different flowering bushes and trees bloom... being able to make bouquets from the yard.

My neighbor and I redecorated our houses and our yards together. I just don't want to lose my home.

We were very poor as a family when I grew up and never owned a home... and I'm very afraid if I lose this home I'll never be able to qualify to buy another.

I'm a little upside down in it financially due to the recent downturn in the real estate market and Wells Fargo hasn't been willing to refinance the first which is only $87,000 -- my payment on that is over $1,500/month.

What do I do? I don't want to lose my home! Sincerely, Katherine Howard.

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Mar 14, 2010
Some Ideas
by: Katina

Thank you for sharing your story. I have some ideas that may be something to think about.

Although I don't know "anything" about real-estate, I did see a fundraising idea recently on the Pepsi Refresh Idea website about a woman who lost two very ill children to cancer, and she wanted to buy a beautiful home for a respite type of center for mothers of terminally ill children, or who have lost their child.

I mention this because I read that you have a college education, and you own a home.

Here are some ideas:

1. Create a website -- Many places offer small websites for a reasonable price. Add a video about your situation, and a link to your PayPal to accept donations.

2. Add content to your web page about your illness, and a blog area for others to give their feedback, additional tips, and possible new grant links.

3. Have you thought of writing a memoir about your ordeals? I know this probably seems far-fetched, but it is easier than what you may think.

4. Have a family member buy your home. Then, rent it to you so you can pay the mortgage/rent... etc...

5. Downsize. I know this is probably not something you want to do, but it may be helpful in the long run, until things are better stabilized for you.

6. Rent out a portion of the home.

7. Create a non-profit organization to help support patients with Lupus or Fibromyalgia. The number of Americans being diagnosed with these two chronic illnesses is alarming. There is not enough information about either at this time. Where there is a need, you'll find grant money.

Talk to people in your community about helping you with creating a small business. Ask people in the community that have degrees, experiences and expertise in their field who don't need a "paying job" but may consider joining your organization as a board member.

PS. I live with chronic pain; it is not an easy life, for you or for those who live with you. I wish you the very best, and will say a prayer for you. :) That never hurts, right!

Katina (Kat)

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