This morning I received an email from a reader. I was really torn with how to respond, but with Nilaja's help, I think I'm ready to respond. Here's what they wrote (I hope this is OK, name withheld):
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I've been reading for a while. I know you are not working and short on money and with the recent hospital stay I'm sure your worried about getting those bills in the mail. I was wondering if you would consider accepting donations from readers. You could put a donation box on the website and if people want to help with bills or send you gifts they can do it in a safe way. What do you think?
Well, my first reaction was thank you, but I can't. I've always had a hard time accepting help in any form and even though my income is small and fixed, I'll figure out a way to manage. But the truth is, I am hardly managing right now. In my entire adult life, I have never had this much worry over bills and with my disease still being so out of control, I'm not sure when things will change. My "I hope to be working by" date continues to be pushed back (it's not August anymore). I'm currently praying that the hospital bills come after the wedding so that the stress won't disrupt my day. (I am also trying to figure out how to pay for all the new prescriptions, equipment, and supplies that the doctors/specialists think I need.)
I am truly and completely humbled and grateful that anyone, even a stranger who knows me only through the words that I post here, would want to offer help. I wish I had more to offer in return, more to give you as a thank you. Just know that I feel blessed at even the thought and any donations will help relieve the burden and stress that paying for my care has caused. Thank you thank you thank you.