Beyond physical surgical recovery

One step forward ...
Here we are just over a month into our campaign some of our overwhelming debt started to catch up and a bit of progress on my daughter getting some support of her own; a first meeting and a written package to be completed by her doctor and her.  Once completed and returned it could be six months for a decision.  We need to survive until then.  Sarah's Social Worker is wonderful and goes with Sarah to every appointment allowing Sarah to build some feeling of independence.  Mental illness like my daughter's or physical illness and recovery like my own should not have or create ancillary costs that can leave people fighting off total ruin.  Please take a few moments to read our whole story; if you are able to help us I can only offer my deepest, most sincere gratitude.  Thank you for reading.

Fallen behind and can't catch up.

Weve exhausted every option out there to find the extra money we don't have to get caught up, but the only ones left would either put us in a bigger hole or cost the house.

Unless a miracle happens, we will be forced out of our home.

Please help by being a part of the miracle we need.

Eight months and one week post spinal cord surgery.  I have made huge strides in my recovery and will continue as best I can locally.  I have found me again as a big part of me was buried amid the pain and illness.  However, illness has many costs and causes many costs; I am now trying to find my way out from under this dark cloud and hoping I don’t have to give up my home to achieve that.  My story and my daughter’s story are below; I have never felt more vulnerable than I do having to look for help but it is the only option I have left.


This was to be my year . . . finally!

2017 began with much hope and promise but the stark realities in the wake of the four years preceding it and actually getting to this point in the year threaten to bury that hope and optimism.  I will not lose my health gains to anything.

Since 2013, I have been in a full on battle with my own body; one that saw continually increasing pain, decreased function and decreased mobility.  I became homebound.  My outings included doctors, therapy, tests, followed by days of recovery.  In an entire year; I rarely got out to see family even.  I simply existed on the sidelines of life watching it go by.   In terms of medical care and investigation, no stone was left unturned.  I presented a challenge because I had pre-existing Arthritis and Fibromyalgia making changes to my health harder to notice until they were drastic.  I had one bad experience, the first Neurosurgeon I saw opted to do nothing which left me back at square one, waiting for a second opinion which delayed real progress.  I did, however, incur added costs related to my increasing losses of function and mobility.

I was ultimately diagnosed with C5 Spinal Cord Compression and was scheduled Cervical Spinal Cord surgery which included Discectomies at the C4/5 and C5/6 level, a C5 Corepectomy , a partial Discectomy at C 6/7 and donor bone put in to fill the space from C 4-6 plus a manmade material to replace the partial disc  that was removed.  It was a 7 hour surgery followed by a week in hospital then 7 weeks in the Rehab Hospital.  I now stand straight, walk short distance unaided and longer distance with trekking poles or my rollator depending on the situation but I am able to move on my own and do everyday things for myself like bathing and dressing and so many other simple things I will never ever take for granted again.

I live in a small house just shy of 1000 sq. ft. with my 22 year old daughter who suffers from a range of mental illnesses, our dog and a cat.  My daughter is an amazing young woman but at the mercy of crippling panic attacks, severe social anxiety and severe anxiety and depression.  Throughout my illness she fought to put her demons on the back burner to care for me.  No easy task and as she said daily “I am not a nurse mom, I never wanted to be a nurse mom” but she did what she could to help me through to my surgery.  My illness took a huge toll on her; all of which came crashing in on her once she knew I was safely in the Rehab Hospital and improving post-operatively.   She has no income or benefits; a fact that adds further to her feelings of inadequacy in being able to help support us.  Applying for assistance also required leaving her safe haven to meet with strangers.  She finally ventured out with her Social Worker this fall only to be told that she cannot apply for basic benefits until March of 2018 when she will have been out of school 5 years; this because she lives with me.  Disability support will be the next application but is not an easy process and requires getting the local hospital to release her youth files to her new doctor so forms may be completed; they will not complete them even though they were the diagnosing doctors.

I have been on Disability since 1998 due to Fibromyalgia, Arthritis and permanent nerve damage post lumber spine surgery that was deemed to have failed because it did not restore function.  In spite of that, I managed to sustain us and had great support from my parents.

I no longer have that support and my daughter has not been covered under my benefits since she turned 18 and has not been able to attend school.  Had she been able to continue in school all coverage would have remained in place; being ill and unable to attend school simply got a rubber stamp of ‘not in school’ therefore no coverage. 

Physically, I am continuing to regain strength, function and stamina and fully be ‘mom’ again.  Financially, I am scared.  I now have my daughter’s full living expenses, medical, and dental to cover out of pocket; add my portion of my several prescriptions; my share of dental costs which will not be occurring currently; plus catch up on expenses that ran up during my illness and are now looming large for payment.   I can cover my mortgage and basic household operating costs however, the added bills over my years getting to here are burying me and some are going to be ongoing for a bit yet.  Do I choose food or bills?

My daughter’s mental health has suffered additionally with the concern and fear over my health and prognosis and now over our survival.  This little house is not much but for her it is her ‘shell’; I need to keep her safe and secure for her health to have the chance to heal.   I need to be able to maintain consistency; I fear a terrible setback if we have to move.

It is way outside my comfort zone to have shared all of this and to admit I need help.  I have always been the person offering help; even when I needed help, I stayed silent.  I cannot stay silent any longer and still do what is best for my daughter and keep us in our home.

I want to thank you for reading this summary of some of my challenges.  If you are able to help me and my daughter in any way, your generosity will be appreciated more deeply than words could ever convey.
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Kimberley Trafford 
Oshawa, ON
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