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Grant Money For Diabetes Disabled Woman Amputee To Get Accessible Shower

by Tracy Fallon
(Seymour, CT, USA)

I'm a 52-year-old woman who has several medical issues. But I am a survivor! I'm married to a wonderful man.

I have a daughter and two granddaughters. I am blessed to have the most supportive family and the best friends.

I am an outgoing individual. I love the beach, fishing and dancing. I was an avid quilter and enjoyed sewing.

My mom has just moved back from Texas to be closer to my sister and me. I lost my dad back in 2000. My brother and his family live in California and my sister and I live in Connecticut.

Although most of my adult life my family has been scattered across the United States, we are very close. Nothing would keep us apart!

My friends are just like family to me. My best friend is more of a sister than just a friend. We've known each other for 28+ years. I know if she needs me... and she knows if I need her!

Disability Issues

My issues began when I was four years old. I developed diabetes, which meant I was insulin dependent.

I found out shortly after taking these injections that I was allergic to pork and beef insulin, but I had no other choice.

I was in good control of my disease till I found out that I was pregnant at 19 years of age.

My daughter and I lived at Yale New Haven Hospital till she was born (about four months). When Danielle entered this world she was smiling!

Again I was doing well with my disease, and my daughter was growing and had no signs of diabetes.

When I was about 35, my kidneys were being compromised. I was put on dialysis, three times a week, four to five hours a day. During this time my mother and sister were tested to see if they were a match for a kidney. My sister was a match!!!

We were told to go to the hospital on January 16, 1997. I was getting the gift of life! A year later I received a pancreas, on February 25, 1998.

Things were going great! There were a few minor hiccups along the way: foot surgery and toe amputations, as well as gall bladder and hernia operations.

I was born with a heart murmur, which developed into a leaky valve. That developed into a double bypass and a mitral valve replacement.

Then I had an ankle fusion, which failed miserably. So I elected to have my left foot amputated, so I could get out of the wheelchair I had been in for the last few years.

I thought I was done, but I found out that I had breast cancer, so I elected to have a double bilateral mastectomy. We tried to do the reconstruction but I developed blood clots and an infection. So that was all put on hold.

Financial Hardship

I was granted Social Security Disability back in 1990 due to the diabetes. I chose to return to work in 1998, which meant I gave up the Disability.

You see Social Security would only cover the steroids I had to take for the transplants for a year back then. So I went back to work for the insurance.

After working for a few years I was having medical issues, so I left the work force and reinstituted my Disability status.

After a 10-year marriage failed, I divorced my second husband in late 2001. I had to move out of my apartment that I lived in for 12 years.

I couldn't keep up with my car payments, but with the help of my mother, I was able to keep my vehicle.

I had to figure out how I was going to pay for all my other medications. I made too much money to qualify for State assistance.

But I went back to work on a part-time basis, which let me qualify for the "Working Disabled" through the State. I worked up until I was having issues with my feet.

I got a motorized wheelchair through my Disability and a shower bench after my amputations.

Income Efforts

I fought Social Security for five years and then finally got a lawyer to fight for me. I won my case in 1990. Thank God for TEAM and their programs back then. That's how I got my lawyer!

Since then I've remarried and my husband and I are back in my original apartment, and we are helping to raise my oldest granddaughter.

We've had our share of tight times financially. My husband had been laid off over the winters. His job is delivering stone and no one builds in the snow. Every winter, times are tight, but we get by.

Recently my husband's Jeep died and my vehicle is used for medical appointments I have, so we had to get another vehicle for him.

One day I let my husband take my Jeep to work. I got a call at 7:10 am one morning. It was my husband. He had just been in an accident and my vehicle was totaled. Thank God for my mother again. She helped with that.

I've never really asked for any help regarding our living situation, but I could sure use some help now.

Specific Needs

My wheelchair barely fits in our bathroom. It would be great if I could put a pocket door in instead of the regular door, so I could shut the door when I need to use the bathroom.

It would also be great if I could actually have a shower stall instead of a bathtub. This way I could transfer from my chair to the shower bench and have grab bars too!

A welcome small change would be a ramp that if I had to take my motorized wheelchair outside, I could. But that's not a necessity.

I really need the bathroom remodeled. That would be a gift to me, being able to shut the door and have privacy in the bathroom.

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