My mom, Sharon Elrod, had already been dealing with a plethora of other ailments, including lupus which was diagnosed in 1999, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as dealing with a nasty bout of shingles and breaking her foot putting her in the hospital for a couple of months. Caring for her has been the family’s number one priority. She was told, right before Thanksgiving, that she had an invasive squamous cell carcinoma on her left cheek and she would need surgery. One surgery turned into two, and then two turned into three. We have been told that her cancer is gone, but her healing is still in early stages. She can’t have her lupus treatments during this time and so her lupus flares put her in quite a large amount of pain in the struggle for her body to heal.
We were somewhat prepared to take care of mom because of all the last year had brought us. However, we were completely blind-sighted by what happened on the night of December 12th. My step-dad, Jerry Elrod, experienced a seizure shorty after going to bed. He had another in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and another at the hospital, which made him stop breathing. After an induced coma for two days and some scans were done, he was told that he had a mass in his brain. We now know that mass to be a stage four glioblastoma. Because of his seizures, he is not allowed to drive, and he lost his new job because of it.
Our family all lives together in one house: my mom, step-dad, brother and his family (wife and 2 kids, one of them is 9 and the other is almost 2 years old,) and me. We, jokingly, call it a “hippie commune.” We rotate cooking, cleaning, laundry days, etc. We have also been juggling driving both parents to their separate cancer treatments and appointments and watching my nephew, which has been a challenge. So far, we have worked out the logistics okay, calling on other family and friends to help us out, but together, we cannot lift the financial burden placed upon us now.
Jerry had to sign up for insurance so that he wouldn’t have to pay outrageous Cobra insurance fees, but without a job, paying for it is in question. My mom’s disability and Medicaid barely covered her medical costs and living expenses when Jerry was working. My brother, Sean Walker, who works in construction, has ruptured a tendon in his hand and cannot work until he has surgery or physical therapy to fix it. My sis-n-law, Mackenzie Walker, watches the toddler all day to avoid daycare costs. I work, but debt from college and my divorce has left me with no discretionary income to be of any financial help.
We just recently made a budget for my parents, which include the house, utilities, medical costs, etc., excluding groceries (because we kids are currently covering that.) They are about a thousand dollars short per month. Our biggest wish is that we could get the remainder of the home loan paid off, but any additional would be a tremendous help since we have not yet received any bills for Jerry’s chemo and radiation, which we expect to be massive costs as well. We still have to cover his monthly insurance costs, as well. They still owe $41,000 on the house. They were hoping to have it paid off within five years or so, when Jerry was working. We are asking for $80,000 to pay off the house, cover Jerry’s regular treatments and monthly insurance, and cover any future medical emergencies that we can, including potential brain surgery for Jerry. Please help us out. Anything you can do to help our little “hippie commune” would be greatly appreciated.
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