Thursday, July 10, 2008


It’s been a bad month. I haven’t posted to the blog and some of you have gotten in touch with me when you noticed. It’s just been a bad month.

It took a couple of weeks to shake the virus, fever, and fatigue from the beginning of June, but it’s gone and physically I’m okay.

My new treatment comes with rash and itch, particularly on my arms, but sometimes also on my neck, thighs, shins, and feet as well. The rash looks a bit like the goose bumps you get when you’re cold, not red until I scratch myself raw. The itch appears to be independent and comes and goes from somewhere underneath my skin. I try to keep my hands away, but once I start scratching, it feels like I’ll have to rip my skin off to get at it. Sometimes I wake at night and find myself scratching; it’s a bit easier to control when I’m awake since I always have lotions, gels, powders, and creams nearby. The topical stuff works for awhile.

But that’s just the physical. I have much bigger, more humiliating problems that make me want to hide and stay away from everyone. Cancer and the economy have taken their toll on me. I’m facing a devastating financial meltdown that has me terrified, extremely stressed, and yes, depressed.

I spoke with a financial counselor yesterday. He pointed out the obvious, what I’ve been avoiding for months. My income simply doesn’t cover my expenses, let alone pay back the greater and greater debt I’ve incurred attempting to keep afloat. He advised me to contact a bankruptcy lawyer familiar with the regulations in my state in order to explore my options. I will do that. However, in my readings about bankruptcy and discussion with the counselor, I’m concerned that following that route will introduce as many or more problems as it promises to solve. Without going into long, drawn-out detail, my income, though insufficient to cover my basic expenses, may be more than the law allows for me to qualify for bankruptcy relief.

I feel terrible. I feel like a failure. Feeling like a failure is counter-productive, at best.

This is a very difficult post for me to write and make public. People I’ve confided my situation to keep reminding me I’m a survivor; they say I’ll get through this. That may be, but for now I feel like I’m being flushed down a drain. I have more energy than I’ve had for most of the past year, but now I need to use that energy to figure out whether and where and how to move before I lose my house outright. It’s particularly difficult to go through this crisis without a partner.


Toni M. Feltman said...

First word of advice... wear gloves or socks on your hands when you go to bed. That is what we did with Will when he was small and had eczema so bad.

Next, you are a survivor and you are doing the best that you can right now. Use whatever help you need to get you past the financial burden. I have walked in those shoes before and I know that there can be an end. If you cannot file for bankruptcy there has to be another way. Try another financial advisor. I will try to get a name or two for you when Phil gets back from vacation.

Ceil said...

Thanks Toni. Good idea about gloves.

As for the financial stuff: I've read a lot about it and I'm getting a clearer picture of what's ahead. It sure looks like I'm going to have to move, though I really don't know where since the area I'm in is prohibitively expensive.

Tamar E. Granor said...

First, don't feel like a failure. I've read that rather a significant portion of US bankruptcies are caused by health crises. If you hadn't got sick, I'm pretty confident you wouldn't be in this position. It's _not_ your fault.

Second, before you have to give up your house (unless that's something you want to do), check the social service agencies. You're in this position because of a crisis and there are probably organizations that can help you get out of this position.

Ceil said...

Thanks Tamar. Feelings about money run so deep and are tied to all sorts of inappropriate things, like love and self-worth. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Just makes it a bit harder to get things done.

I've looked into disability and ironically, I make too much money to qualify. There may be other outlets. Not sure how to find them....

Dan Freeman said...

Ask your Doctor. They deal with people facing this all the time. I'm betting she may either know where to point you, or they may even have someone on staff.

You're not the first person to face this. There is no shame in it, and don't stand stupidly behind pride (even though I know that's your first instinct).

You'll survive.

Rick Schummer said...

In addition to what the other said (all true and excellent advice) lots o' prayers are constantly coming to help from afar.

Ceil said...

Thanks Dan and Rick.

Although I realize that having a partner comes with its own set of difficulties, it's very hard to travel this route without another person to share in research, decisions, financial burdens,consequences. I very much appreciate the reminder that my remote friends are always with me!

Anonymous said...

As the others have said, we're here to support you any way we can. Are you still getting work from Abraham? I'm looking for work myself right now, so I'm afraid I can't send anyone else your way.

I also second Dan's suggestion to ask your doctor for the same reasons he stated.

--Barbara Peisch

Ceil said...

Thanks for Abraham, Barbara! He's a really nice guy. I'm doing something for him now but it's very small. Nothing ongoing or long-term. The first project was about thirty hours and this is less than ten: a report with a screen for selectable options.

SusieQ said...

Laurie's book has a lot of info regarding how to get help from different agencies - towards the back.

Thinking of you.

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