Disability Grants To Help Stroke Disabled Elizabeth Build Home Crafting Business
by Elizabeth Ingram
(Spring, Texas, USA)
My name is Elizabeth Ingram. I am a 56-year-old grandmother of one, mom to three, and wife of 35 years to my best friend. We have lived near Tomball Texas for the past 30 years.
I have spent the last 35 plus years being a stay-at-home mom, crafter, community volunteer and part time substitute teacher.
My children are 34, 23 and a now 25 year old we took in and unofficially adopted when she was 17 and homeless.
My son, an aerospace engineer, lives in Philly with his wife and daughter.
My girls are both teachers. One teaches 10th grade pre-AP English; the other teaches middle-school French.
My Husband, at 67, should have retired years ago, but because of my medical bills and disabilities has not been able to.
I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 15, and was diagnosed with the additional complication of Type 2 as well, 15 years ago, while undergoing treatment for Stage 2 breast cancer.
Since then, my health has declined all the while, we kept active in our kid's lives and schools, our community, our church and both Girl Scouts and Boy scouts.
Later, I made it through Stage 2 bone cancer while also having a large part of my foot amputated due to a diabetic complication. Plus, I had two bouts of kidney stones.
Then, four years ago, while 1000 miles away from home, on the first vacation Keith and I had had together since our honeymoon, I developed a huge stag-horned kidney stone, which punctured my kidney causing a massive infection.
Before the end of the summer, I had spent more than 16 weeks in the hospital. I had had 10 operations, but the infection got worse and turned into a massive MRSA infection that caused my kidney to literally rupture. (Yeah, ouch!)
I spent the next year taking antibiotic intravenously at home five hours a day.
Things were good for a while. We got all three kids through college and two married. I subbed and I started studying to get certified to teach Kindergarten.
Then last year on August 19th, the day before I was to see my granddaughter for the first time, I suffered a massive stroke.
I could not talk, walk or use my left arm at all. My memory and brain function were sketchy at best. The left side of my mouth would not work.
I could not dress myself, feed myself, drive or do any of the basic things a five-year-old knows how to do.
I started intense physical therapy to try and relearn everything I had lost,
So my husband took over the role of family, house and my caretaker, something he was not really prepared to do.
I had always been the caretaker, cook and household manager of the family. But he excelled in it. He even learned how to cook, to navigate the grocery store and shop at Walmart.
In October of 2014 I suffered a second stroke.
The clot from the first stroke broke apart and traveled to the other side of my brain where it lodged again, causing a set of secondary problems.
I could not talk without sounding like I was three margaritas over my limit. I don't drink.
I lost all fine motor skills in both hands and all sense of touch in one hand yeah, that was and still is weird
, my eyesight was also greatly affected and my sense of balance was shot.
Everything I loved and cherished had been taken away from me. I could no longer, play tennis, quilt or sew, do cross-stitch, drive, read, cook or teach, or even hold my granddaughter.
I became intensely depressed and suicidal. I sought help from my priest and a therapist who specialized in stroke and head wound victims.
So, after nine months of intense physical, occupational, emotional, adaptive and speech therapy, I finally made it through the five stages of grieving for my life that I had had and would never have again.
I started to reinvent myself, trying to make the best of what I had left.
I still had very poor fine motor skills. I could not button buttons, tie my shoes, zip zippers, open a door knob or type with both hands, but at least I could put my underwear on myself.
My memory was so so, but getting better.
With the help of friends I prepared myself and my home for the new me.
I simplified my wardrobe.
I found a church group that was ecstatic to receive my lifetime stash of more than 2500 pieces of fabric, three book shelves of cross stitch books and patterns.
All of my Girl Scout reference materials and a truckload of teaching materials were donated to the local Girl Scout service unit.
Everything I gave away was a constant painful reminder of what I could never do again.
While looking for a creative outlet and something to help with my depression, I rediscovered paper crafting and coloring. These were a tremendous help and I became an advocate of coloring therapy.
One year after the stroke I am still dealing with diabetic issues. I still have very poor fine motor skills. My left hand still does not cooperate and has limited sense of touch; my eyesight is frustratingly bad and uncorrectable.
I continue working on memory, fine motor skills, strength, speech and balance issues. I physically cannot smile and I still drool when I eat or drink. But for the most part I am happy inside!Financial Hardship
My husband is a great provider but between medical bills and putting three kids (one not our own) through college, we have no savings or retirement left.
Keith should have retired years ago, but has been unable to.
We had planned for me to teach full-time once the kids started college, but all of my medical issues prohibited that. And now with my disabilities, it just isn't a viable option.Income Efforts
I tried applying for SSD but was told since I had only worked part-time and I was basically a stay at home mom, I was not eligible for any disability benefits.
I never got to finish the certification process but then, no school district will hire a substitute much less a teacher who has had a stroke.
Even Walmart won't hire me, because I can't smile, as well as having a left hand that doesn't workSpecific Needs
1. I need help getting any disability assistance I can get.
2. I need a grant to help me get a home-based business off the ground and running:
a. funds to remake my garage into a studio/store,
b. funds to help with initial supplies and fixtures, and
c. funds to help create a portable studio to take supplies to the hospitals and various scout/crafters meetings
3. I need help to create my website.
4. My greatest need is to be able to let my husband, who has stood by me through all of this, finally retire.Business Idea
The Business Idea: Two Southern Divas
Since I really needed a home-based income option that could be accomplished regardless of my therapy schedules and disabilities, I have turned to my latest obsession: paper crafting and adult coloring (I am really quite good at both).
I would like to put together a Crafting Studio and store called Two Southern Divas, which will specialize in card crafting and adult coloring and utilize my teaching abilities.
Two Southern Divas will turn my life and sanity saving hobby into an income producing business; I will teach card making and have open craft sessions for crafters to come, craft and enjoy each other's company. The same would go for coloring,
Besides the lessons and studio environment I would also provide access to the latest in crafting products and designs.
I have done a lot of research into this and it looks very viable (there are several similar successful studios in other parts of the county).
I have already applied for all required permits and licenses, researched and contacted suppliers. What I need are funds to get started.
Also in an effort to continuing my commitment to helping out the community, and to "Pay it Forward," I would host coloring and crafting sessions at the various stroke recovery meetings in my area. (There are a number of studies out that show adult coloring to greatly help stroke victims... as it did me!) I would provide service opportunities to various groups
I am hosting a holiday card making party to make cards for the wounded soldiers and their nurses at Walter Reed Hospital in November. Crafters and teens, needing service hours, from my neighborhood, will attend it.
It is said that God will only give you as much as you can handle. Sometimes, I think, he believes I am Super Woman!