One beneficial side effect is that my wrists feel a wee bit better, and I may be able to tap out a few words this month. I’m on prednisone again. How about that.
Past few months have been busy for me in the clinical realm. Never fun. Interesting sometimes, but never fun. Rheumatology. Infectious Diseases. Physical Therapy. Chiropractic adjustments. Backaches. Cavities, toothaches, and root canals. An MRI. An EMG. X-Rays. Lab work. Prenatal, and Craniofacial Therapy.
This week I reconnected with my old GI doc: I’m having a Crohn’s flareup again. First time it’s been this bad since I was diagnosed four years ago. I’ve lost near ten pounds in two weeks. Haven’t been feeling so good. Until today, that is. Until I swallowed another 40 mg of the Zone. Never thought I’d do that again. At least now I don’t fall asleep watching the evening news – not like it’s uninteresting.
I was just kidding about the prenatal thing. Guys don’t do prenatal. You knew that.
This afternoon I have my first CT scan since credits rolled on the chemo. I’ll know the results in about a week. It’s a big one. It’s been six months. I’m not nervous really; I just don’t like drinking Radiology’s version of a smoothie. Especially while my belly’s so stinking artsy. Sensitive to the core. I’d prefer Jamba. Or an Orange Julius. And four cups? Even when it’s tasty I can’t drink that much. Do I really look like I could pack that away?
I ended up backing out of a Writer’s Conference this last weekend. I was looking forward to meeting and hearing one of my heroes. And learning a thing or two about writing (and perhaps publishing something other than blogs). Walt Wangerin was at Luther College. I was supposed to be, too. But fatigue and frequent trips to the jiffy rendered me a no-show. Just couldn’t do it. Bummer.
Two weeks hence, I plan to be speaking at a youth retreat in Nodak. Then flying to Chicago for a video shoot with friends at Awana (I get to wear makeup). This would normally be far too ambitious an itinerary, especially with insides neglecting to absorb any good thing, but with corticosteroids jacking my adrenals, it’s actually starting to look like good timing. Funny.
Speaking of timing, Jen hasn’t been feeling so well lately, either. She’s got a nasty cold. And some other stuff. Tired, and a cough that just won’t go away. Now I’ve got it, too. Goes with out saying that when mom’s well, all’s well. And when she’s not well? Well…
Things are at a pretty serious standstill here regarding my employment and things of that sort. I’m still on Social Security Disability – which has been a Godsend for a season (still is, really). When it kicked into effect a year ago they wrote a check that was retroactive back to five months after I got cancer. So for twelve months it was like we were getting twice what we were actually given. Monthly, that is. Now all our reserve is dried up. That retroactive lump sum routinely covered our monthly shortfalls. We had reserve. Now all we have is shortfalls.
I get a check from Social Security. Jen gets a check from Emmaus. And our kids get a little bit from the big G as well (perhaps another kid would actually be an asset…) All told, we’re still leaning hard into whatever help we receive from those who can give it. Life’s expensive. Especially with kids, no job, and a hobby like mine.
And these days, my medical hobby’s looked more like a vocation than an in-your-spare-time thing. And for as much as there is to be made in the medical profession, the pay’s not so great from this end.
So plainly said (gulp), we could use your help.
I’ve done this so many times I think I could accurately display some reflective psychoanalysis here: It is hard for anyone, especially a young husband/father of 2 or 3, to ask other people for his daily bread. Much easier to ask God who says he’ll give before you ask. Then go work your butt off to acquiesce.
It’s much easier to ask if a) you are really, really sick and incapacitated; or b) able to contribute something to society or the church as a whole, even if not directly related to the sustenance for which you are asking, in order to more or less earn your keep.
Well, trouble is, right now I’m only sorta sick (as compared to CALGB 8811 chemotherapy: a.k.a. the last two years) and relatively unable to do the things which I feel amount to my potential contributions to the body (write, perform, travel and speak, etc…).
Point is, asking’s pretty hard. Feels a bit like begging. Feels a bit like raw humility (not the admirable kind). But both desperation and prednisone has put me out here. So here I am. Out here.
I learned today that I need another root canal. Pronto. That’ll be before our insurance calendar year turns over, and will cost approximately a thousand bucks. A legitimate billing black hole with our car insurance people revealed this month that we owe $1800 in back payments. Treatment for TMJ (my painful jaw that limits singing and other things, like chewing food – my molars don’t come together on either side) yields a hefty debt that insurance barely touches. We’ve been working on that for a year, and still owe $1500.
One of our cars is so goofed up my dad’s got it checked into a garage up in Roseau with high hopes of nursing it back to health. Wrenches at Saturn down here in the Twin Cities were scratching their heads (and charging for that) at the myriad of things gone wrong.
So all of this has kind of come now. Right before the holidays. Right before gift shopping and birthdays and Christmas concerts. Right before some gradual, hopeful, and rather monumental changes in our lives, and it’s a bit difficult. This isn’t my sad song. These are just the details. Or some of the details. There’s still more to tell, and much of it is good (I hope to write the proverbial Christmas Letter this month – big news and all), but it is befuddling. For now, I think I’ve said enough.
My apologies for not sharing brighter news. My hope is my meager attempts at humor aptly allude to our joy and held out hope that things will get better, someday. Or at the least, that we, and our faith, will be made strong.
If for nothing else, thank you for being aware of our story. My hunch is there is even more for which I could say thanks, like your prayers. But I’ll save that for another post, when I have the stamina and the words to do it well.
P.S. If you are one who is able and would like to put bread in our basket, here are three avenues. The first is simple enough: you could mail it to us at 8121 Fourth Ave. S. Bloomington, MN 55420. The second is like it: there’s a benefit fund in my name at the Citizen’s State Bank in Roseau, PO Box 160, Roseau, MN 56751. The third is a benefit fund set up at Emmaus that actually yields receipts for tax-deductible donations: In this case only make checks payable to The Jeremy Erickson Family Benefit Fund, and send to the same c/o Emmaus Lutheran Church, 8443 Second Ave. S. Bloomington, MN 55420. This last one is a channel specifically for paying medical related bills and monthly living expenses. The first two give us a little more leeway, like birthday gifts and nights out. In either case, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…