Heather's Helpers

Even though this story is about me and my struggles, I have created this fund with the hope that perhaps some of our dear friends and family, if financially able, can help relieve the financial stress my wonderful family is experiencing due to my recent decline in health.  Here is my/our story:

I have been dealing with health issues for nearly seven years now. The severity has had an ebb and tide throughout those years. This past year began seeing a gradual, continual decline and then September, 2017 hit and the decline gained speed. In November, I had to reduce to only working about 15-20 hours a week. Then, in January of this year, it became painfully apparent, that I was no longer able to work, so I had to resign from my position as an activities director, for an assisted living facility.

When I was first diagnosed, back in 2011, all they were able to find was that I had an autoimmune disorder, termed "connective tissue disorder".  About a year ago, severe spinal stenosis of the lumbar region was added to the mix.  Then, after the recent severe decline, I was finally able to find a doctor who could explain the dramatic change in my health...that was when fibromyalgia was added to the list of diagnoses.  Now, even simple daily functioning around the house prove to be a challenge most days. Those who know me, know that I am a doer...I am (or was) always on the go. Now, the extreme muscle fatigue, exhaustion, chronic pain, cognitive difficulties ("brain fog"), general malaise and what is known as post-exertional malaise (as well as other symptoms, which would take much more writing to explain) have left me virtually house-bound...and bed or couch bound (even sitting up can be a challenge at times). On occasion, I can get out of the house for a doctor's appointment, or a short visit with a friend, but I pay for it...severely...later and am often wiped out, even more than usual, for many days afterwards.

Making ends meet had always been a struggle yet despite living check-to-check, we have always found a way to get by in the past. Now, the removal of my income has left a huge, gaping hole in our financial situation.  To make matters worse, my husband's (Joaquin) employer cut all over-time, which was a big hit financial for us as well.  This double decrease of income has his us hard, and while I hate the fact that she is having to do so, my sweet daughter, Hannah (who, by the grace of God, had moved back home earlier this year, and ended up staying longer than originally planned) has had to take on the shared role of financial provider in our home, along with my dear hubby, Joaquin.

My neurologist told me that due to the severity of my condition(s), he didn't think that I would every be able to hold a job again.  So, as difficult as it was to do so, I finally faced the reality in front of me, and I applied for disability, but now, it's a waiting game.  I pray that I am one of the fortunate ones who is accepted the first time around and only has to wait 3-6 months to start receiving benefits, but I hear that there is the possibility I will get denied and have to appeal and maybe even get a lawyer...I have a strong sense of hope that this will not be the case.  

If you find yourself in the position to help us gather funds, to help get us through until the day when I am approved to receive disability coverage, I...and we...will be forever grateful.  To know that my family can at least be relieved of some of the financial burden and stress, which this illness has created, would be such a blessing for me. 

Along with the financial strain are many more physical, and emotional, challenges, and Joaquin and Hannah, along with my son Ethan, are now having to pick up the slack with household responsibilities...and for them, as well as my son, Brandon, and other family and friends...perhaps the most difficult is the emotional aspect of seeing me in such a state, worrying about me, assisting me, doing all they can to help me in this transition and to help me still have joyful moments and some laughs. So please know that your prayers, love, and positive thoughts are the MOST coveted thing and we appreciate you all, so very much!

Many blessings to you all, our dear family and friends!


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Heather Hernandez 
Belgium, WI
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