On December 30, 2018 I made the decision to begin documenting my journey and initiate a GoFundMe campaign, www.gofundme.com/baildeweyout.
Please – if you are reading this blog – I implore you to donate. Donate whatever you’re able to – $1, $5, $10, and if you’re unable to donate – please share my story on social media. #BailDeweyOut
I thought that my emotional bottom happened earlier this month, on December 14th. I was scheduled for an appointment with a pain management psychologist that morning… I expected there to be some discussion of how this past year had gone and my background, then switch to how she may be able to help me better cope/manage my chronic pain. See… I was just wrapping up tapering off all pain medications (primarily hydrocodone) – that I had been prescribed for years. I took these pain meds in order to function. What I walked into was a full-on psych eval – lasting nearly 90 minutes – with 5 different assessments being administered. It was the very first time I was not inhibited; I was 100% honest. I did not fear any reprisal from an employer. “Emotionally drained” doesn’t even begin to express how I felt once the session concluded. Major depressive disorder, derealization/depersonalization disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. To compliment my previous diagnoses: obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), excoriation disorder, dysthymia, and alcoholism (in remission 8+ years).
I was wrong. My true emotional bottom happened today. Sunday, December 30, 2018 will forever be etched in my memory.
4:00 am and I was wide awake. Damn internal clock! After decades of rising early, I cannot seem to change my circadian rhythm. Awoke severely congested; self-diagnosed as a full-blown cold.
7:00 am and my emotional bottom was about to hit. The doorbell rings. It’s a guy I’ve never seen before. Long-sleeve gray t-shirt with denim jeans, work boots. He had a white tow truck pulled into our driveway and had already hooked up my 2014 Hyundai Tucson. It was being repossessed. Thankfully, this guy was gracious enough to let me remove the contents from my car. Johnathyn helped.
7:15 am and my emotional bottom is in full swing. See… I changed to present tense in my writing because I’m still living in my emotional bottom.
7:45 am and Maru and I are engrossed in conversation, sitting in our living room. We’re brainstorming, how can we possibly bring in more funds so that we do not lose more; so we do not lose our furbabies; our home; we don’t let down our roommates (also in recovery); our pride; our sanity.
This journey, my plunge into this dark abyss began in the fall of 2017 (although, when I look back, this turning point had been building for decades). I was having difficulty working – extreme fatigue, chronic back, overall muscle, and joint pain, tremors so severe it interfered with my typing and talking, intermittently experiencing drop foot, debilitating muscle spasms, horrific brain fog where I would lose my track of thought, difficulty understanding complex concepts, unable to find my words, frequent gastrointestinal distress, incontinence, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on...
At the time, I was working as a director, with a great company - Aasonn. It was an HR-software consulting (and at one point, an HR outsourcing) organization. I loved my career! (Admittedly, throughout most of my career, I was a verifiable workaholic.)
I started by taking FMLA intermittently, then began a long-term medical leave in November 2017. As part of my leave, I applied for short-term disability. After much back and forth, the insurance carrier, Guardian, approved my disability through mid-April. At that point, I was to transition to long-term disability. However, Guardian denied my claim, despite zero changes to my health status. I also applied for Social Security Disability; it was denied. (A common story I hear from others is that most (if not all) claims are initially denied). A local attorney is reviewing my case and will be letting me know soon whether she will represent me for my SSD claim.
I was shocked that both of my claims were denied. Even the US Department of Education approved nearly $80k in student loan forgiveness due to my health.
Even more health challenges plagued us this year… Maru had two surgeries earlier this year – one on her right shoulder to “raise the roof” for her muscle to move and the other to remove an ovarian cyst (size of a football; they “partially” drained it – enough liquid to fill a 2-liter pop bottle) with a complete hysterectomy. The time off without pay; the reduction in pay while Maru was on short-term disability; and my lack of income necessitated us draining our savings, maxing out our credit cards, and cashing in every penny we had tucked away for retirement within our 401k’s.
Throughout the year, I continued attending appointments with a variety of specialists (rheumatologist, geneticist, internal medicine, neurologist, etc) with the University of Iowa in Iowa City. I was given new diagnoses, such as a genetic disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), vitamin B6 toxicity, essential tremors, a leaking mitral valve. Another diagnosis that we are working to rule out, which three specialists that I’ve seen believe I have, is medication-induced Cushing’s Syndrome. I made the trek to Iowa City again last Friday to have my adrenal gland function tested. I’m hoping to have the results this week after the holiday. Doctors are also wanting to rule out Mast Cell Activation Syndrome... I have an appointment with a MCAS specialist at the University of Iowa in March.
Because of these health challenges, we are behind on every single utility, mortgage payments, and owe hospitals/clinics/doctors nearly $30,000.
On the About section of my website, you will find my ICD-10 diagnoses listing as part of this plea for financial help. Not going to lie, it is lengthy and somewhat depressing. I also posted my currently prescribed medication list on the About section of this site. I will always be open and transparent; I welcome any and all questions related to my health.
Please – if you are still reading this – I implore you to donate. Donate whatever you’re able to – $1, $5, $10, and if you’re unable to donate – please share my story.
Please help this go viral #BailDeweyOut