Monday, November 01, 2010

Choices Are Sometimes Illusions

Yesterday, last night actually, Kristin and I set down and did the task we've been dreading since her lay-off from Bush Animal Hospital. We added up all our monthly expenses, not including food and gas, then subtracted the amount each of us earns monthly (her on unemployment and me on disability) and... Well, I'm sure you math whizzes out there can already tell by the fact that we subtracted our income from our expenses that the expenses far outweigh our "income". In fact, after remembering one more bill today, we are $200 over "budget" every month. Again, this does not account for the costs of food and gas. Nor does it account for the thousands we owe to hospitals and surgeons, or for any unexpected expenses.

Today we got another bill from the IRS for another $400 or so. I'm hoping it's an error on their part. But we may not be able to prove our previous payment because, in my frequent and increasing ineptitude, I've lost the stub for the money order we paid the previous bill with.

"I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don't mean that your help didn't mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles." Phillipians 4:11-14 (The Message)

We've cut back on everything but necessities and what we consider to be "life-lines". Things like the internet that we use to look for jobs, file applications, and just keep in touch with the outside world.

I don't know how we can do it. I don't know how we'll make it another month. God blessed us in September and October with gifts around $400 each which allowed us to make all the major bills. (Sorry Peace Health. You're just going to be out of luck for a while. You'll probably just add it all to the collection accounts you already have allotted for us.) Somehow, so far, God has provided.

There's a part of me that, as a Christian, just says to keep praying and God will provide. But there's also a very large part of me (And those who know me, know that I'm a very large guy so a very large part of me would be very large.) that believes I should be doing everything I can to resolve this issue. As I see it, there are essentially only three solutions that Kristin and I have any control over.

  1. Kristin finds a full-time job. She's looking constantly. She's applied for hundreds of jobs, has a great work history but has only received one "call back" on an application. If she works part-time, she'll be making less than she makes now on unemployment.
  2. I can find a part-time job. To be honest, I'm not sure I can work one. But disability says I can make up to $700 a month without it effecting my disability. A low paying part-time job could pay that much. But if I went over it'd cause us a lot of problems. Plus, I need time off for chemo and never know how I'm going to feel each day. Can't spend time on my feet. I'm just pretty much useless. At least that's how I feel these days. Which leads me to the third option.
  3. We can stop my health insurance. My health insurance costs $410 a month through COBRA and there are no other insurance options I qualify for. (Please DO NOT send me info on low-income plans. We've tried, even after Kristin's lay-off, and the most help we've been offered is $16 a month in food stamps.) It would force an end to my treatment and chemo, and end to any doctor or oncologist visits and I would have to go "cold turkey" on ALL my medications, including those for pain, depression and anxiety. But, honestly and openly, this looks to be our best choice with the quickest turn-around to our financial situation. $410 a month in savings would not only allow us to pay our bills, but would even allow us to go to a movie once in a while or out to dinner without relying on charity. Frankly, I'm a little tired of being a "charitable cause" and just want to be able to feel proud of myself one more time.

So, those are the decisions in front of us. I'm sure you all know that Kristin is firmly against the idea of dropping my insurance. Of losing me sooner and putting up with my prescription withdrawals.

Pray for us. Pray that God will give us a clear answer. We've got enough confusion.

Please know that I am, no matter what, thankful to God for the time He's given me, the joy He's lead me through and the wonderful, amazing, people He's put in my life... Especially my wife, my parents and Belle. (What? Belle's just a little person with fur and a bigger tongue than you'd expect.)

funny dog pictures-Puggerpillar
The above is NOT Belle. But it's cute.


Ivy said...

I just finished reading Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick. My goodness is this exactly what that book is about. Standing on your faith through the valley. Trust God for big things.

We're praying for you, believing God is sending big things your way!

Ronnie said...

Just wanted you to know I'm still here. I read all of your posts, I'm pulling for you, crying with you, frustrated about your situation, wishing there was something I could do, knowing there isn't.

Your story is compelling, your honesty is brave, your emotions are raw and real. Keep writing, I'll keep reading.... we're all out here reading... and dying a little each day with you. God bless you.