I am still not finished catching up on all this stuff! We were having a family lunch thing celebrating my husband's Nana turning 85 when I got the messages to get my arse online ASAP! I was totally unable to comprehend what was going on for the half hour or so after that. I was just completely confuzzled and so overwhelmed that I burst into tears in front of the whole family.
Without writing another novel, the last few years have been a real struggle. My family and I don't get along at all and my health has been terrible since I got pregnant in 2008. It's just been crap.
Every single thing you have each done for me... Just knowing you guys are out there gives me extraordinary hope. I have felt very very alone for a long time. It's a constant battle for me to accept that I am liked/wanted/cared for. It's not what I am used to at all.
The money you have donated will not be squandered. Last year we got to absolute breaking point in needing to find a large amount of money within a few months. We decided to hand all our finances over to a budgeting service that structures our money so we can't access it easily or waste it. They pay out a weekly living allowance and then either transfer money for specific bills to us or have taken over the direct debits on our behalf. We just could not afford to go into insane debt relying on credit cards so we cut them up when we signed up with them.
Facing the possibility of yet more surgery after barely scraping out the other side of the last one was severely stressful and daunting. We only just made it last year. We don't waste money at all, every cent is accounted for. I have felt extreme guilt lately as I feel like I'm not earning my share of the income and I was raised to understand that once I left school, I earnt my own money to support myself. I work no more than 15 hrs a week now. I am being sent for fitness for work assessments all the time to have a third party determine whether or not I should even be working now. I am scheduled for yet another one in a few weeks and I really do wonder if I may have to retire.
This week's neurosurgeon appointment is pivotal to us understanding the scale of the degradation of my spine and the treatment required to "fix" it, and to understand whether that means I'll be skiing black runs again one day, or if I will spend the rest of my life hanging around at home. The generous donations you have given will be put in our savings account to be used toward health costs. You guys will quite possibly own a prosthetic disc that might end up in my lumbar spine... I joked to my husband that maybe I should see if they could engrave it with "The Reefuge" if and when it goes in. Otherwise maybe I ought to tattoo The Reefuge logo on my body at the end of this (and it's not such a stretch.. I love tattoos!!!)
is right about the ridiculous amount of money we have to spend on health. My medication(s) is hitting about $150 per month and I am not allowed to stop taking them, I'm supposed to go to Physio weekly or fortnightly and that's about $50 out of pocket per session. I'm actually meant to go to hydro therapy but we just couldn't afford it last year so I never started. I see a psychiatrist to stop me losing my shit at $170 for 30 minutes (he is worth every dollar)- that can be anywhere from fortnightly to every 6 weeks depending on my mental health. I have the pleasure of visiting a number of GPs who don't bulk bill, and specialists either starting with "neuro" or ending with "ologist" and those are anywhere from $150-$300 per visit. I saw one last week and have one this week. The surgery last year was about $5000 on top of every other medical cost through the year. There are times where we have to make major sacrifices with our money, buying less, eating less meat, we rarely go out, we don't have holidays. I got all my hair cut off before Chistmas which saves a lot. With these extra appointments now popping up after we thought we had made it to easy street... It's just been a rude shock and there is no good time. Aside from all of that, we still have a little person to care for who needs new shoes for school sport and would like to have experiences that we grew up with that we so often now tell her we just can't afford. Through the absolute grace of God, she knows I am not well, but we've been able to shelter her from most of it so she is just aware that I have a sore back and can't pick her up now, and that sometimes I get sad. She is coming through all of this with fairly minimal negative impact. We have massive support at her school and my mother in law has been helpful in spending time with her so she is able to have special care and see "normal" outside our house. I had to be way too open with my employer, but they know all they need to know and I am able to make the most of the time I am at work to get important work stuff done.
You guys are enabling me to have some peace of mind, knowing that I don't have to raid the very small amount of money in our savings. We won't be sitting at absolute zero in the bank after paying the next term of school fees. It means I don't have to stop going to Physio or stretch out my medication to force it to last longer. One of the main things, my aquarium doesn't have to suffer so I can go to appointments. The last thing I would ever want to do is be responsible for my fish or coral suffering. That's not at all what I want, it would be deeply upsetting to me.
I ended up writing a novel anyway... I just want you all to know that I am grateful to the end of the world. If you ever need anything, you tell me. All I have ever wanted to do is help people. To be allowed to love people and care for them. My Dad taught me that.