I spent almost two years going through cancer treatments, hospitalizations for months on end, and even a period of time on hospice. Most of what I went through wasn’t because of cancer, it was the treatment that almost killed me. The social worker at the hospital filed for disability for me when I had been there for four months; I wasn’t given a choice.
Reasons for Disability:
The reason I was put on disability is because I was dying, not from cancer but from radiation ruining my small intestine in various places. It’s a long story but I wasn’t even allowed to eat for months. I’m 5’11 and weighed 89 pounds. It was about as close as a person can get to death without dying. At one point I was given three days to live. The reason I’m currently receiving disability is because I have diarrhea between 20 and 30 times per day, vomit continuously, and am in a perpetual state of dehydration. It’s like living with dysentery or having the flu everyday of your life. My muscles spasm because I cannot absorb magnesium or potassium like a normal person, and what I do absorb from prescriptions is quickly washed out from going to the bathroom constantly. I also deal with severe fatigue from being dehydrated, headaches, and severe pain right after I eat anything. It may sound weird but I’m still happy to be alive. I do have good days where I get to go to a football game, or plant flowers, or even just sit on the deck in the sunshine. I don’t take anything for granted now. The problem is, I hate feeling like a burden. I’ve always worked, provided for my family myself, and that’s all changed.
One Thousand Dollars:
One thousand dollars per month doesn’t go very far these days. My medical supplies alone take a little over half of that. If I didn’t have such a great family, honestly I don’t know what I would do. I do as much work as I can from home but even that’s difficult. I feel like I’m in the bathroom every two minutes or in the hospital getting IV hydration. When that happens it takes between 8 and 10 hours because magnesium if given too quickly can burn your veins. When all of this happened I was working in sales, very successfully and had a home based business making goats milk soap. I would love to do either of those things again but am not sure how I could. I sincerely doubt an employer would consider me an asset if I spent two-thirds of the day in the ladies room. Before this happened, I would have laughed at the idea of trying to live on one thousand dollars per month. Now I have to figure out how to do it.
My Plan to Take Back Control:
I’ve always been a very independent and hard working person. I have to take back control of my life in every way; including my health and finances. The cancer was not necessarily something I could control; I had HNPCC (hereditary non polyposis colon cancer), but I can be as healthy as possible. My financial situation also has to change. I would like an intestinal transplant, but cancer patients aren’t allowed to have transplants of any kind. Since I won’t be able to return to work in this condition, I’ve decided to be as self sufficient as possible by building a cabin, growing and producing much of my own food, using solar and wind power, having a well dug, and starting a home based business that doesn’t require full time attention. I can’t wait until the day I can cancel my disability. Just thinking about it makes me smile. There’s such a stigma attached to people who receive disability payments. I know there are people who scam the government, but there are also people who have been hurt by medical mistakes, war, or incurable disease.
Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would want to have disability or try to scam the government if they aren’t truly disabled. One thousand dollars is impossible to live on. I would much rather be working. I miss the money, my friends, the success, and my independence. The best way to describe living on disability is that it absolutely sucks in every imaginable way. That being said, yes I am grateful that I receive any help but I’m going to do everything possible to make it on my own.