Nutrition, Housing, and Healing for Dylan

Update 17 November 2023: Wow, there are a lot of four-figure bills rolling in for moving-related expenses, and I don’t even have an estimate yet from a crew to actually move things to their next destination, whether that’s recycling, storing, or having with me. Thanks for all of the help, and please keep sharing about this! I especially could use help from folks who are active on IG and TikTok — I’m such a words person that I have no active account on either. Someday, I swear, I’ll try more image based media!

Update 30 September 2023: The big bills are starting to roll in — $5k for legal representation in the divorce, and I’m accruing lots of hours of work with folks bringing items to me to sort through. It’s not an awesome time to have to move house, to say the least. The generosity from y’all supporting is a great comfort to me, and please remember that you can also contribute via sharing the pitch!

I’m Sarah Dylan Breuer. I’ll be changing this text to a better-written and fuller explanation of my circumstances and needs, but some friends are wanting to help immediately, and I want to take advantage of their generous offer!

My brother died, and the physical strain of handling that was enormous. My spouse left without warning, plunging me instantly into poverty, and then filed legal motions to force the sale of out house even before the divorce is final, plunging me into serious housing security.

And then this summer, I broke my ankle (a trimalleolar fracture), dislocated it, and severed a ligament. Six weeks after the emergency surgery for that, surgical complications arose, nearly requiring the amputation of my foot.

I was already dealing with serious and rapid loss of hand functioning, as well as numerous other issues, arising from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) — an incurable, degenerative, genetic disability. EDS has required me to have a total of six knee surgeries, one back surgery, two shoulder surgeries, three hemorrhoid surgeries, and now two ankle surgeries.

The surgeons operated again. My foot is safe, for now, and is healing, albeit very slowly. I’m under very serious medical restrictions on what I can safely do to stay alive and keep my limbs.

I am unable to prevent the loss of my home, and the only place I was able to find to love that would have me is on the second floor of a 19th-century house with absolutely no accommodations for disabled people, such as grab bars. It’s not at all clear when I’ll be able to navigate those stairs safely, and I can only hope that I’m not found in contempt of court for failing to vacate my house.

I’m in real trouble, my friends. Poor nutrition following my surgery this summer was a contributing factor to the surgical complications that nearly required the amputation of my foot. I’ve had three surgeries this summer alone, and I desperately need full-body rehab to restore some of the muscle that’s atrophied. I’ve lost over 100 lbs unintentionally, and much of that was muscle. The strain on my hands from having to support my full body weight for every transfer to or from a wheelchair has been so great that, for example, I can no longer eat with ordinary utensils.

In short, I need help.

Because I am not being given enough time by the divorce court for me to find an affordable and accessible place to live, let alone to recover enough strength for me to do tasks such as pick up a heavy book (I have many!) and set it in a box, I must pay people to do that — to pick things up and show them to me — for everything in a house packed with stuff from over twenty years of home ownership.

Because allowing any object at all to touch my heel — which is the site of the deep tissue damage from a pressure sore that might take several more months to heal — could result in my needing a third emergency ankle surgery (which could be an amputation), I have to hire enough people to help me sort through everything in the house — including the basement, where I can’t safely go.

Because I could only afford a single-room occupancy in a shared apartment, I will have to downsize drastically. I don’t want to have to sell my guitars, my grandmother’s piano, other musical instruments, art, and pieces of antique furniture that are family heirlooms. I’ll need money for a storage unit that can accommodate such things.

To avoid being handed a court order to vacate my house when I did not have anywhere at all to go, I needed to rent a place to live by tapping out messages on my phone in the hospital emergency room.

The absolute cheapest place I found that would have me — and that’s what I had to take — had a lease starting on 9/1/23, and required an immediate payment of $4400 for first months’ and last months’ rent, security deposit, and broker’s fee. Rent is $1k/mo, leaving me $401/mo for utilities, Internet, medical, and all other expenses.

And I’m having to buy so much adaptive and mobility gear! Adaptive utensils mean I can now eat solid food out of take-out containers, but they cost a silly amount of money. Every adaptive gizmo seems to cost a ridiculous amount of money (e.g., the phone mount for my wheelchair was nearly $80), but I simply can’t function without increasing numbers of them.

For food, I have SNAP, and have switched from granola and protein bars to meal replacement drinks. I order take-out when I can (and my deep thanks to the Boston Cyclists Union for a GrubHub gift card, which provided me with three delicious, nutritious meals), but worries about money make me hesitant to do so often.

So I need money. Money to improve the quality of my nutrition dramatically. Money for organizers and movers. Money for a personal care attendant, until social services to provide one kicks in. And money to cover my already astronomical medical expenses, including treatment of my PTSD, which is very triggered by my housing insecurity and need for constant vigilance to protect my injured ankle for months.

My parents are already helping as much as they can. My grandparents are dead, and brothers died childless. What family I have is all geographically distant, and I simply must stay in or near Boston, where doctors to treat complications from my rare genetic disorder are numerous, and social services are solid.

I spent my entire career authorizing use of nearly all of my published work for free, asking only for proper citation of sources. When I did get a salary from my work, it was never more than $36k/year (in a gig which lasted just a little over two years), so I never saved much. It was and is my conviction that as human beings, we are meant for communities in which we give freely to care for one another, and so, to paraphrase Jewish and Christian scripture, I cast my cares on the water and scattered the seeds of my work profligately, figuring that living frugally and being generous would be OK, and I would find what I needed when needs arose in the future.

Now, I need your help, friends. I’m starting with a goal of $5000 — $4400 to cover this months’ housing expenses, plus $600 to help me let myself get healthy, prepared meals that don’t require more of my hands than they can do. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a meal service that takes SNAP benefits as payment, so the meals are expensive, and must be paid for out-of-pocket.

I’m sorry to say that the goal for this fundraiser will need to be raised as more expenses roll in, so please understand that I’m not moving goalposts — the game of life just keeps moving the goalposts on me, and I am struggling the hardest I ever have to keep up.

If you can help financially yourself, I am grateful for your help! Whether you can give financially or not, though, you can be a huge help to me by passing word of this fundraiser to others, when it feels right — even others who can’t give financially might know someone who knows someone who can, and I think I need all of the generous someones I can summon in this profoundly difficult and, to be honest, heartbreakingly sad time for me.

Y’all can help me keep body and soul together, keep body parts attached, stay housed, become more mobile, and recover my strength while uplifting my soul, which is bearing much at the moment.

Thank you for helping.

Donations (64)

  • William Caldwell
    • $100 
    • 9 d
  • Mary Slenski
    • $100 
    • 13 d
  • Lisa Fox
    • $100 
    • 14 d
  • Dana Allen Walsh
    • $50 
    • 17 d
  • Danny Trapp
    • $50 
    • 17 d


Sarah Dylan Breuer
Boston, MA

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