Let me give you some background about me and why I am needing help.
I was in a terrible car accident in 1984 coming home from teaching my first year. I had to be cut out of the car to extract me. I had bruises and contusions all over as well as a compound fracture of the left tibia/fibula. In addition, my left clavicle was broken. The drunk driver who ran the red light and t-boned me walked away with a split lip. After three years dealing with lawyers and insurance, I settled out of court for what really was not a large sum of money. I think I could have gotten more if we had gone to court. But that is in the past. Having such a massive trauma to my body has caused me to be "eat up" with arthritis. There are days I can move and walk just fine...and then there are the days where I hurt so bad I would rather just cut my leg off. I have to walk with a cane on those days. It also affects my hands and I have to do a lot of typing for my job.
I am also a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed when I was 31 years old. I found a lump in my breast that would not go away. I was terrified when I had my first mastectomy and they asked me to stay for an ultrasound. They could not say that it was cancer but I knew that it was. I had a modified radical mastectomy within a few weeks. Twenty-eight lymph nodes were removed - none showed any cancer, praise God! However, I did about 6 months of aggressive chemo - lost all of my hair except for the few stubborn ones that would not let go. I learned to laugh during that difficult time and I had wonderful support from family, friends, and co-workers. I learned to style a wig before putting it on so that I knew it would look good from the back and I was drawing eyebrows that looked so real that everyone told me they couldn't believe that my brows were drawn on. Some other things: your skin is baby soft - no bacteria can stand the chemo coming out through your pores, mosquitoes don't bite because again the chemo thing, you don't have to shave, and it is not the time to diet - eat if you can. There were bad things that happened during chemo but I won't discuss that. The good news was that they got all of the cancer, I did not have to do radiation, and I have been cancer-free since 1992. I praise God for His mercy. I have not had a chance to have re-construction surgery and I still would like to do that. The cost of prostheses and prosthetic bras are another medical expense to deal with. My insurance will pay for two bras a year. The life span of a bra is 6-months. The insurance will pay for a new prosthesis every three years and those can be several hundred dollars.
Back to the present.
I have a mortgage and a home equity loan that I am currently trying to keep paying on. I do have quite a bit of credit card debt that I am working with a debt resolution law firm to help me pay off the debt. However, the amounts that they need each month along with the mortgage and home equity loan do not leave me with anything left over for doctor visits, medications, phone, TV, Internet, power, food, gasoline, and propane. I currently have a propane bill for over $1,000 that I cannot pay. I have never had such an expensive propane bill. I have considered bankruptcy but have not yet set down with a lawyer to discuss to possibility. My debt resolution program will not be finished for another 3.7 years.
Other expenses that consumed my emergency funds included a new roof on the house last year where my co-pay was $1,000. Then last September, my HVAC system died. It was 14 years old but it rusted out due to flooding from storm drainage. That cost another $3,750.
Part of the reason that I got into much of the credit card debt was to pay for home repairs, and those big propane bills every year that I just did not make enough money to pay from my pay check. I hoped that we would see some substantive raises and at least one catch-up raise to bring us to the median level of income that surrounding states pay. That did not happen. The few raises we did get did not even cover the cost-of-living expenses and the higher insurance premiums each year. Many years we did not get any raise at all. "You didn't go into education to make money." That is true, but I did expect to make enough money to make ends meet as the cost of living increased. I want to state that I work at a great place and we do great things for our students every day. Our school (and others) have had budget cuts every year for over 10 years. We are expected to do more with less each year.
I am currently on medication for stress. I am the one who gives to others and have done so many times - helping family and friends in emergencies, donating time and money to worthy causes. It is very hard for me to ask for financial help.
I am also very concerned for my darling Shetland Sheepdog, Cody. He will soon be 11 years old in March. He has arthritis all over his body. He has allergies, too. His medications are also expensive as are the x-rays and blood work that needs to be done to see how best to treat his on-going health issues. He is the only "child" I have - I never had the joy of having a child. He is my companion at home and he helps me with my stress just by being there and loving me.
My goal is set lower than I need because I am hoping to find a part-time job to help me pay my bills. I need some emergency funds to take care of bills coming due at the first of February. I don't need the money all at once but I really need about $1000 fairly soon.
If you are reading my story and you think that you can help, I would greatly appreciate anything you can give. I pray that your heart be blessed. Please know that I and Cody will use the money wisely to take care of the bills and medications he and I need. When I am back on my feet financially, I will again pay it forward helping those I can.