The Dowling family is very resiliant, but with our latest medical expenses and loss of income, they are going to lose our home.
Vicki has suffered with debiliating alcoholism and related physical and mental illness since 2008. In February 2008 she finally left the family and lived in flop houses (houses with other alcoholics) for the next 4 years or so.
In 2011, she finally hit bottom and spent 28 days in the hospital (20 in ICU) and another 35 days in a nursing home, afterwhich she finally came home.
In 2011 she was hospitalized another 6 times, 2012 another 8 times, and 2013 another 10 times, all for illnesses related to her failling liver. After waiting over 12 months, and after suffering a severely broken ankle, she finally was able to qualify for the transplant list at the University of Kentucky. Another 12 months later, she also qualified for the transplant list at the University of Cincinnati.
Her many illnesses were all Liver related, as her Alcoholic Chirrosis continued to take its toll. She also suffered from ever worsening hepatic encephalopathy (where toxins that the liver was not able to clean, went to her brain, and caused among other things, siezures, memory loss, falling) and other blood related diseases due to her livers inability to support white and red blood cell functioning.
For the 3 years from her hospitalization, and prior to the transplant, they were forced to pay for help to come in and take care of her. This has completely depleated our savings - including bank accounts, 401k, equity in home etc. This money ran out prior to her transplant, but fortunatley she was in the hospital.
After her transplant, Pat had to stay home to take care of her, as she requires a very detailed medicine regimen. She needs to take her anti-rejection drugs at precise times in order to keep her new liver from failing. In addition, Vicki has now been diagnosed with Korsakoff's syndrome, which means that she has permanent brain damage resulting from her liver and related issues.
The Dowling's have 9 children, whom have continued to thrive, despite these medical issues. 4 are now out of college, but 2 are still in college, 1 in high school and 2 in grade school. Although they have had to keep kids out of school because they are not able to pay tuition. Most of the children are doing quite well, although the youngest requires therapy to resolve his feelings of abandonment. Both younger boys also require special assistance at school, do to some falling behind during the ordeal.
Pat has not been able to work, but his employer has supported him with wages to some extent. The Dowling's have lost 40% of their income just this year, due to the economic environment, and now with the income loss, not only are they not able to hire anyone to help with Vicki, but they are also not able to make payments on the house. Currently filing for hardship with mortgage bankers, but with the loss of income, it does not look good.
They continue to thrive as a family, with everyone supporting each other. Our eldest has come home from South Carolina to help out, as has our third oldest. As stated earlier, we have had to postpone some education, but they are trying to ensure that this doesnt happen again this fall.
Pat has started a web site to document our struggles and to try and provide information that can help others. It website is called The Choices we Make. He has also set up a twitter and Facebook account to help spread the word. Although most of this blog is designed to provide free information to others who might be interested, the plan is also provide a series of childrens books on Alcoholism, Liver Disease, Abandonment and Liver Transplant.
The Dowling's are aksing for this money in order to help support the family over the next couple of months, until hopefully they can regain some Income, and to help defray the costs of writing, illustrating, copy proofing and publishing the books.
It is difficult for them to ask for help, as they have been a proud family in the past. Members of their parrish have helped with some meals in the past, but since they are going to lose their home, they really dont have any other choice.
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