When You Live Longer

Editor's Note: This article contains sensitive content related to alcoholism, which may be distressing for some readers.

It is a blessing to live longer. But man, is it hard. Inflation has made it literally impossible to live on your own. My rent is half of my SSDI alone. 

How do they expect cancer patients to survive and be able to pay for utilities, medical bills, food, and toiletries? Set a budget for $2000 a month, including mortgage/rent, and see if you can make it work.

Balancing health and family

Now that my daughter is old enough to worry about me constantly. Since she left for college, she's been homesick, but I know what it really is: worry. 

I don't want her worry to affect her education. Therefore, I've remained within driving distance of her school, but there is no way I'll be able to stay for long.

I have had five strokes in the course of my illness, along with other hospitalizations. There is no way to work a full-time job. I want to work so badly, but even now, I'm in low-income housing. 

I'm so tired and have no family here to help. The friends I once had here have slowly disappeared, busy with life.

My journey to independence

When I first got sick, my community rallied around me, as did my hometown. They threw fundraisers to help with medical bills. I could survive on my SSDI if it weren't for those medical bills. 

Before moving to where I am now, I was living with an ex. His consistent intoxication was the primary factor that led to our breakup, but we were able to maintain a friendship afterward. 

Within two months of living together, he wanted us to be a "family." After I already set boundaries with him, I started just renting a room. 

When I made it clear that nothing would happen between us, his drinking started to scare me. I thought it best to get out of this situation. 

Embracing change and finding strength

I opened a storage unit when moving in and didn't get rid of everything. I did get rid of my living room and kitchen furniture, but I still had kitchen utensils and bedroom furniture for two bedrooms at his place. 

I slowly began subtly moving things into the unit from my daughter's room. Once she was off to college, I began to move my most important memories there.

Luckily, I picked a climate-controlled unit. Once I was approved for some low-income housing nearby, I left as soon as I possibly could. So now, I'm living in a nice place without the stress of arguments.

Being a single mom getting cancer at 33 and still living 11 years is a blessing. God gave me that, but He also reminds us we will have trouble in this world. I don't worry because he tells us not to.

He has given me way more than I can handle, so that's why I have to turn things over to Him sometimes. Isn't that the point? Depend on him and spread his word.

I know some may not agree with me, but I don't regret the days I've been sick. Getting sick saved me from the person I was becoming. So, I know this too shall pass. 

I've learned lessons the hard way, and now I know what I want to do in this life. Making others happy is more of a gift to ourselves.

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