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My name is Conor Delaney, a 31 y/o in home caretaker for my dying brother and disabled mother. And I'm trying to keep me and my mom, Theresa Delaney, in the home she feels comfortable and safe in for 39 years After more than a dozen years of therapy, she was diagnosed with early age Bipolar, PTSD and Dissociative disorders. She has had for over 20 yrs fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel. She battles the demon almost everyday of her life, she has had a hard life and always turned to GOD for strength because of abuse and poverty as a child, her first suicide attempt was at age 15.
My older brother, Sean Delaney, is a cancer survivor of a highly fatal cancer, but it has come back. Once he passes, which could be any month now, we will lose all his income and won't be able to survive. I'm going to get a second job, but that won't be enough. So our plan is to fix up the house a bit and get it ready for renters, either in the garage or by renting out several bedrooms.
Theresa and her husband, John, bought this house knowing it needed some fixing up. Soon after moving in my older brother age 7 years was diagnosed with grade IV Cystic Astrocytoma. 2% of getting it, 0% of surviving. For six months my mom almost lived at Cedar Sinai Medical Hospital. She waited during the five brain operations, chemotherapy and radiation that hit Sean's pituitary gland instead of tumour. She was there for the Autologous bone marrow transplant. The doctors do not know why he survived. Because the radition hit is pituitary gland he still looks 11 years but is now 36 years old.
My brother survived, though disabled, with a third of his brain missing, no ability to have a plate in his head, and unable to walk. Life went on, Theresa and John doing well with taking him to doctors and raising me, who due to undiagnosed bipolar, had a rough childhood. As a typist and operator, she developed carpal tunnel syndrome and had to go to on disability, then she was diagnosed with depression, which turned into a diagnosis for bipolar, then PTSD and disassociative disorder, both which went undiagnosed since childhood. These together give her an extremely high level of anxiety. On top of that, she was undiagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disease that causes constant pain, which magnified every joint problem. This gives her severe pain in the legs, back, and arms, making it hard for her to walk more than a little bit, confining her to wheelchair and sometimes her bed. Later came COPD, and sarcoidosis, making it hard for her to do anything for a long period of time.
He now has a Glioblastoma 7 cm in his temporal lobe. It is inoperable. His right arm is paralyzed and his legs stopped working shortly after. The doctors say he can die any day, week or a few more months, needless to say my mother is a wreck. She goes to bed about 5 or 6 pm so that she can be up with him when he gets lonely at night.
Theresa is a strong brave woman who has fought all her life, first against abuse and poverty in her childhood. Briefly a single mom before she was married, she's spent a lot of her life working herself nearly to death. Theresa worked a job, went to hundreds of doctor's appointments, and advocated for my brother to make sure insurance paid for the years of surgery, chemo, and radiation. She homeschooled me when I was having trouble with bullies and was bullied out of school for a short time.
After all this, she found her husband, John, dead in his sleep six years ago. We survived just barely on my two jobs and the income from taking care of Sean. Now his cancer has come back, complete with bleeding in the brain, and the doctors refuse to operate. It has come back as a 7cm glioblastoma in the left temporal lobe, swelling to press more and more against the important parts of his brain.
With all this, Theresa has to deal with the upcoming losing our house to a very large mortgage and her medical insurance going up. With only the two of us, we'll have extra space to rent out, but the house has several important projects that need to be done first.
She has tried dozens of different medication for her bipolar. The medications don't completely cure the problems, she gets side effects or just grows tolerant to them. Her psychatrist increased her Valium but it only helps a little.
Because of fibromylgia, an avid gardener has been reduced to having water her potted plants. Her enjoyments are us boys, studying her Bible, watching the wild birds and two wild rabbits in the back yard( this helps her relax and could lose this) and listening to music of all kinds.... her favorites are Aerosmith and Foo Fighters.
Many times life is an emotional desert for her.there are many bad stories to tell but because of the bipolar she has managed to alienate all but two friends, Carol and Phyllis, they are great comfort to her. Most of her family is either dead or alienated with their own disabilities.
She loves this house. She feels safe here
Theresa has gone through a terribly rough life, and all I want for her is to be able to live it out in the place that makes her happy, where I can help her.
To fix up the house and hopefully convert the garage into an apartment, allowing us to rent it, or the extra bedrooms in the house, out. We have some money to start, but with two car payments and a mortgage, we can't afford to take out a home loan or will make enough to pay it back. With boarders and me getting a second job to replace being a caretaker for Sean, we will be able to make it.
Having an addon will make it so Theresa doesn't have to deal with anyone else, she has enough problems with anxiety, that having multiple boarders in the house would make it hard on her.
The addon itself will cost 70k at least. But all we have to save up with is my two jobs and their social security.
$5200: Electric Breaker Box. The current one is 30 years old and needs to be replaced.
1200: Tile bathroom so the shower can be used. And the electricity is unsafe for the bathroom.
?: This patio sunroom. It is 30 years old, the electricity is dangerous, the ceiling leaks, the walls are breaking down, and we found rats in it. It needs to be at least demolished safely, and possibly covered with a new roof to make an outdoor patio.
?: This patio cover. 30 years old, the wood is as soft as cheese, and rotten. It absolutely needs to be replaced.
60-70k: The garage is out. We can't do it in Thousand Oaks. So instead we are going to turn the room my brother is in into a 500ft studio apartment, which will cover his mortgage. That means we need to pay for a bathroom line put in, a new slab, and new walls.
Plan B: Plan B is for me and Theresa to vacate the largest bedrooms, add a bathroom, and rent out to two boarders. That would be much harder on my mom due to people walking through the house all the time, but it would be something we could do. If we have to rent, though, we have to buy new screen doors, new stove, new fridge. My brother's wheel chair has done a lot of damage to the hallway. The contractor did mostly shody work that needs to be fixed, some electrical, plumbing issues and things he just flat out lied about. But there is a lot that needs to be fixed there as well.
We will be using our own money to start, and but I don't make enough, and won't make enough, to make the house viable in time. We need to start immediately, so it can be done by the time my brother passes.
My mother has already given up so much of her life and things, her doll collection and furniture. She is bound to her wheelchair, can only do cursory house work and walk short distances. I just want to her to be able to live out the last of her life without hardship.
https://imgur.com/a/MF9GY A gallery of our house projects.
- Matthew Carter
- Hasan Mahmood
Newbury Park, CA