Liz was my life, my hope, my dream...my purpose. I devoted every possible minute to her because she was worth it. She had suffered through so much and she deserved to have one part of her life that couldn't be taken from her by the disease. I tried to be that for her. I can't see beyond tomorrow anymore.
This time away from work and now the tragedy has left me struggling to pay the bills and the costs of her funeral. I will have to return to work soon after her Celebration of Life, but it will take time to build my income again.
Any help with this would be appreciated.
Liz had Cystic Fibrosis. She was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 3 months old. For years they kept giving her an expiry date. When she outlived the last one, they stopped telling her when she would die.
The Cystic Fibrosis affects her digestive system more than her lungs. She was diagnosed with CFR (Cystic Fibrosis Related) diabetes at 14 years old. The Cystic Fibrosis made it difficult for Liz to participate in most things, so she missed out on quite a bit growing up.
I met Liz in 2008. We quickly became friends and as time went on, we became best friends. She wasn't as sick at the time. She could go out, dance, and mostly live normally. From time to time she would be hospitalized for this infection or that, but it wasn't the majority of her life. I would often visit her at the hospital to lift her spirits with my silliness. I've always believed you never know what the next moment will bring so make the best of this one. We got together as boyfriend and girlfriend in 2009.
In 2012 we were engaged. The plan was to be married in 2013 but because of other health issues with my children we decided it was best to postpone the wedding.
Over the next year Liz’s health began to deteriorate. By 2014 she was seeing the hospital more and more. I spent 7 weeks one time sleeping on 3 waiting room chairs shoved together so that I could be there for her. The medication and her conditions make it difficult for her to understand all the medical stuff, so I advocate for her. I field all the questions, provide her list of medications and history, explain the symptoms and help her decide on treatments. It's not something I could do from a distance.
As the hospital time ramped up, my ability to do my job deteriorated. I was spending more and more time running her (and my son) to their appointments, being in the hospital with her, and taking care of all of her responsibilities, like paying bills, cleaning, and picking up groceries.
In the last few years there have been some pretty heavy changes. Liz now has a jejunostomy tube for nocturnal feeds so that she gets nutrition. She has gastroparesis ( a paralyzed stomach) which is a part of her CF. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, and diabetic retinopathy. Eventually, her left eye had a retinal detachment and she was given a prosthetic eye. With the vision problems she is considered legally blind or "low vision".
Her quality of life took a serious dive. She often can't get out of bed or just transfers herself from the bed to her chair where she sleeps to avoid the nausea. This has been the worst for her. Every plan gets cancelled or put off for another time. Friends slowly disappeared as she spent less and less time being able to see people. It got pretty lonely and added to her depression and anxiety, which just complicated her other health issues.
But this year seemed different. I had connected with some new ventures that looked really promising. I was starting to make money again and catch up on some bills. It wasn't that she was getting better, it was that I was able to create a system that sort of worked. Another 6 months to a year and I might have been able to change our situation and create an emergency fund for times like this. Time wasn't on our side.
On June 14, Liz was admitted to the Health Sciences Centre with double pneumonia. It has been a very stressful road filled with very little sleep, as I advocate for Liz’s care. I spend most of my days and nights in the hospital with Liz. And while I have been able to do work from the hospital, I cannot be consistent in my schedule.
Monday July 24th came and I couldn't work. No sleep. Too many doctors. Too many questions to answer.
So today is Tuesday July 26th and I am at my wits end. I've no income to speak of because I haven't been working and no way to make money quickly. Bills I was planning to catch up on are further behind and I'm creating debt trying to stay alive in the hospital. It’s expensive to be here. Hydro, rent, food, phones, internet, gas, car payments, insurance, all are piling up.
That's why I'm here. I'm hoping that you can help me to get through the next couple of months while we figure this all out. I've never been good at asking for help but some friends insisted pretty hardily and they're right. My pride isn't worth the suffering not asking for help could cause.
I'd also like too wholeheartedly and with great humility, thank you for any contribution you can make to help us get past this.
You can follow along with our story on my facebook .
- Kelly Goodman
- John & Shawn Armitage
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