We’ve endured several life impacting events in such a short period of time that I’m not sure how we’ve even made it this far. It has left me/us mentally and emotional exhausted as well as financially drained.
Deaths in the Family
It all started in August 2017 when my wife’s aunts passed away within two months of each other. My wife is the daughter of a very close French immigrant family. She, her brother and her parents are all who live in the United States. When my mother-in-law’s sisters both took ill back in France it was very difficult for the family to be there for them being thousands of miles apart. We were all devastated when we lost them both so quickly. I did all I could to support my wife and mother-in-law through their grieving. Their deaths hit my wife pretty hard, and she began to reevaluate what was most important in life…family.
Retiring and Starting New
She had been a client adviser in the premium auto sales industry for 22 years. It was difficult for her in a male dominated industry. Women had to fight twice as hard to prove that they knew anything useful about cars. She worked hard to become one of the most prolific client advisers on the East coast, won several sales awards and gained corporate wide recognition for her excellent customer service record. However, the long hours and 100% commission (making pennies to the dollar) only left her with no family life and no retirement savings. She was looking for a change.
A long-time family friend of ours had been a realtor for over 40 years and had asked several times if she had ever considered Real Estate. I know she had always been fascinated by the Real Estate industry but had grown too comfortable with premium auto sales to make a change. But when a series of bad, sexist managers continued to chip away at her love for the brand, and then the death of her aunts, she saw it was time to leave the premium auto sales industry and redefine herself in Real Estate. A place where she could create a better work/life balance.
So, in September our plan was to take a well-deserved vacation, she’d retire and then begin Real Estate with a fresh start . Mother nature had other plans. We were in the Turks and Caicos Islands when it was struck by Hurricane Irma. We did all we could to leave but the airport was closed down before we could get to our flight. Living through the force of a category 5 hurricane was mentally, emotional and physically wearing on us. We were on the island for a week after the storm struggling through the aftermath. This was not the peaceful relaxing time to celebrate life’s transition we were looking for. This experience only strengthens my wife’s resolve for a change in her life. Life’s just too short!
Diagnosed with Uterine Cancer
That December we’re getting ready for the holidays, and our bright future ahead. My wife’s preparing to take her realtor’s license exams when she gets a call saying that the tests done after a routine GYN visit found some “abnormal” cells. Turns out she was diagnosed with Stage I uterine cancer and a partial hysterectomy was necessary.
Early January, on the day of her partial hysterectomy, the surgeon discovered that the cancer had spread out of the uterus and into the surrounding area. A full hysterectomy was needed in order to get everything out followed by chemotherapy. Okay, we can deal with this but not even a week after, my daughter was admitted to a partial inpatient mental health program that works with adolescents with depression, self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
Daughter Admitted for Depression and Self-Harm
My daughter is a beautiful 17-year-old junior in high school who has been in therapy dealing with depression. Her depression was only the tip of the ice berg as we found out that she had been self-harming for the past two years coping with anxiety and depression. Her journey has been a challenge for her and everyone supporting her. After a couple of hard months in recovery, she has now moved in with my wife and me and is making progress towards a healthier future.
Son with Crohn’s Gets Shingles
A week after my daughter was admitted, my 14-year-old son who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 9, broke out with Shingles. Turns out the medication he takes to help fight off the effects of Crohn’s can weaken his immune system leaving him vulnerable to infection, and that’s what happened. He was quarantined for a week in the hospital; the same hospital my wife was at two weeks prior. I stayed with him every day and every night seeing to his care, while also coming home to care for my wife’s needs and then picking up my daughter from the program in the afternoon to take her to her mother’s house. That was the most stressful week of my life.
Going Through Chemo
My wife started her chemotherapy in February which is an infused cocktail of two drugs (Carboplatin and Taxol) done every three weeks. After the first two infusions we’re finding that it’s taking her at least a week to recover from each session. If you’ve had or read about chemo, all I can say is that it can knock you on your butt! It’s been scary trying to prepare for the unknown. Unsure of what to expect and then dealing with the many side effects of chemo; like her having to say goodbye to her hair. But I know one of the hardest things she’s having to deal with is not contributing. My wife is a really hard worker and not used to not being able to support the family.
Why the Ask
I’m trying to do all I can to balance my time and resources to see that everyone is getting the help they need, but the medical bills are piling up on what we already have and driving us deeper into debt. We’ve already taken a second mortgage on our home and my wife’s trying to be as productive as she can, when she can, but in real estate sales it can take some time before a deal can be brokered. We had money set aside to cushion the lack of income, but the many unfortunate surprises we have had to endure in a very short period of time has quickly stolen away our savings and the second mortgage.
We are not accustomed to asking but anything that you can do would go a long way to help relieve the financial strain.
- Karen Lyons
- Karen Herbert
- Tracey Kahl
- Karen Lyons
- Chet Lott
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