From Ellen, Our Daughter

It’s me again. Many of you know me through my dad and by way of the Writers’ Police Academy. Most of you, however, know me from the tragic events of my life.

As many of you are aware, I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer and underwent surgeries and received extremely aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. By the grace of God, I made it through, but not without severe repercussion. Still, I truly believe all the prayers helped me through my journey.

Throughout the process medical bills soared into the millions. Each of your generous and kind donations were the means that helped my family survive. Eventually, an end of the cancer was in sight. Then all of the side effects of the chemo and radiation started.

But I was alive, and I had an army fighting with me and I was going to deal with it. Then it happened, I received the call that our house was on fire. That feeling was actually worse than hearing the “C” word. Because, not only was this new devastation was something I’d have to endure, but now my family members were suffering. We’d lost everything—our fur babies, clothing, memories, and suddenly we were homeless. All we had were the clothes on our backs.

We lived in a hotel for four months. Tyler slept on a pullout couch in hotel room while finishing his junior year of high school. We made it, though, and again, we pulled through as a family. We sucked up all the pain, leaned on each other, and came out the other side. I applied for disability but was denied. The same for other assistance.

After those four long months we finally secured a house. It was a house that needed a lot of backbreaking work before it was a livable structure, but it was a house and not a hotel room.

We worked on the house for months. John, my husband who worked 12-hour shifts, left the hotel for work each morning at 4:30 a.m. When his day was done, he came to get me and we worked on the house until 10 p.m.

In the meantime, neuropathy in my feet and legs had become unbearable, to the point where I couldn’t walk at times. We still moved forward. Unfortunately, the little money we had for repairs ran out long before the work was done.

The day finally came where we had to move out of the hotel and into the house. There were no floors or walls in a couple of the rooms, and when I say no floors, I mean that the ground below was visible. There was no working tub, and the list goes on. But we made it and have since installed both floors and walls, thankfully.

We consider ourselves blessed to have a roof over our heads, but we’re living without heat. There is no heating system in the house. We have a couple of electric space heaters, but it’s cold. We made do without air conditioning last summer in southern N.C. But the wintertime cold causes my neuropathy act up so very bad. The pain is excruciating.

Recently, I saw my endocrinologist who informed me that a thyroid nodule they’d wanted to remove before my cancer diagnosis had grown substantially since I stopped chemo. It had wrapped around my esophagus and windpipe. Surgery was scheduled for the 24th of November. During this time my husband was laid off from his job at a company who makes parts for GM. Therefore, when the workers of GM went on strike there was no demand for car parts. His unemployment caused us to go further into debt that we were already drowning in.

As my luck would have it, soon after John was laid off my car broke down while on the way to a medical appointment. My used car wouldn’t budge and I’d only had it barely a year. The transmission was shot. It’s now parked in our yard.

I decided that, after shedding many tears, I would use Tyler’s car, a car with 253,000 miles on it, to get me back and forth to medical appointments. My doctor’s office and other appointments are an hour’s drive one way to my Dr appointments. It wasn’t pretty but it did the job, until a week before my surgery date.

On November 16, Tyler, my son, was involved in a pretty serious car crash. The subsequent phone call was the call that brought me to my knees. It was the call no parent ever wants to receive. Cancer, fire, surgery, chemo, radiation, losing my doggies, none of that held a candle to the thought Tyler may be hurt.

Thankfully, Tyler and his friend walked away with a few bumps and bruises, but they were safe. His car was not. It’s totaled.

Currently, we are living day to day. We may have dinner tonight or we may not. The lights and water may be on tomorrow, or not. It’s shameful to have to admit these things. I feel like a failure as a parent. I’m tired, I’m embarrassed, and I’m an emotional wreck.

I sit here today with a cut across my throat from surgery, worrying about if I will be able to see the doctor for my post op visit because we don’t have the co-pay. John has finally gone back to work but has to take off to get me to see the doctor. I hate to reach out to all of you again, but I need help, please.

I hope y’all can find it in your heart to help us. Thank you.

With love,


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4 replies
  1. Steve Brown
    Steve Brown says:

    Sorry for the troubles Ellen. You know I applied for SS disability when I was diagnosed with leukemia. They turned me down. I should have fought but didn’t enough about the system. I applied again after the bone marrow transplant. They turned me down again, saying, “Sorry, we made a mistake. You were disabled but you’re not disabled now.” REALLY?” Go figure. They suck.

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