As a small child I would daydream of someone like Opera finding out about my story. They were laverish daydreams, full of details. I would imagine that someone would just come over, and make everything possible. It was always a person that simply wanted to help make it easier for me to have surgery. By the end of my daydream, I was always perfectly straight and had, had surgery and everything was just perfectly normal. Well as you probably can guess that never happened.
Finding the means to pay for my surgery took a long time, and a world of patience. At the time my mother worked from home babysitting two small babies, Diego and Nicole, which meant that she neither had insurance, nor the financial capacity to pay for her own insurance. So for me this meant that we had to either find health insurance that was willing to pay for a preexisting condition, or find a lot of money, relatively soon. Well as you probably can guess that did happened.
We spoke to the financial counselors at Nemours Clinic, and they suggested that we apply for Florida KidCare, a health insurance for children under 18. So that is exactly what we did. After several months, of filling out paperwork and resending paperwork and filling out more paperwork, I finally received the approval to have my surgery done the coming year. At that point, I couldn’t be happier. It was as if I just passed the eternal bureaucratic highway, and I was now looking at the other side, an oh how nice it was!
As much as I wish I could say that was it, and BAM I had surgery, it wasn’t. Florida KidCare only approved 90% of the surgery, and did not approve the MRI, which I needed to get done in order to properly have the surgery, and it didn’t approve the Doctor’s visits. Some how we were back to square one, back to trying to figure out how to find roughly $20,000, to pay for the remaining 10% of the surgery plus everything else I had to go through. I needed a pot of gold, and I needed it fast.
Borrowed from MX Sweep
While the search for options was happening, time passed, and it had been a year since I started seeing Dr. Mark Sinclair. A year of worrying whether or not I would actually have surgery, a year of watching my curvature increase without any possibility of stopping its growth, a year of paperwork and of illusions and disillusions.
And ironically, the pot of gold was right in front of us the entire time; part of my father’s inheritance, when he passed away was an apartment building in Jersey City, NJ. My family owned half of it, and my aunt Leticia owned the other half. This building was, in many ways our lifeline. A set monthly income, for minimal work, and selling it would be the solution to my problem, but it meant we would loose this monthly income. The difficulty came with convincing my stingy aunt Leticia to sell, or to buy our portion. This part of the story, I don’t know too well, because at that age I was never told that we wanted to sell the building to cover my expenses, but that was the simple truth. I don’t know how long it took Leticia to give in, but I do know she finally gave in, and then after the deal was done, she regretted it. I often wonder how she lives with herself. If any of my nieces or nephews needed a life or death surgery, I wouldn’t think twice about selling my entire life for their wellbeing. But it was done, and even after she regretted it, I would have the surgery done, it was scheduled January 12, and what a relief it was.
The journey to find a pot of gold was tedious, and emotional. It’s not so often you feel so close to something as simple as life, and yet so far away from it. Money was my barrier to life. If I didn’t find the money, I could have lost my life. It’s a difficult thing to consume at a young age, and it’s even more difficult to watch the struggle my mother and brother went through to make it happen. They were fighting for my life with each paper they filled out, and with each day that passed.
The Fighters For My Life: My Mama and My Brother
- Thirteen Years Ago… (thecurvyspine.wordpress.com)