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The anonymous post that brought tears to my eyes

A member wrote her story to me today. A story that raises questions galore.
Are we here in this alone?
Are we cursed to deal with all the agony that comes with fibromyalgia all through our lifetime?
Is there any meaning to the vow, "In sickness and in health"?
Are the lawyers who we pay so much just around to make a buck while being insensitive to the core?
Why do some doctors break the little trust fibromyalgia patients have in them?

It's a long road ahead


I urge you to please read this member's account and share it with the world. And please help her with your feedback so that she can think right and take some informed decisions regarding divorce, disability benefits, lawyers and doctors. PLEASE, that's the lease we can do to help her.

Quoting her:

"I have a question that I would like to ask you to consider posting as anonymous and get feedback if possible?
You may word it however you like. I am just looking for opinions from members/ other people with FM.

I am going to give you quite a bit of background/ information first, and if you think it's okay to post, you may share as much or as little as you see fit.

I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease in late fall of 2006. I have four permanently ruptured/ bulging/ herniated disks. In the summer of 2007, I had a "routine gallbladder surgery"  that went terribly wrong, and resulted in me being in the hospital (part of the time in ICU) with Sepsis (sp?)  I was in the hospital for over  two weeks. I never fully recovered and then started having more and more health/pain issues. I was seeing a pain specialist and going to PT. Long story short, I was never physically able to work again after that surgery.

In June, 2009, less than a MONTH after my final long-term disability insurance quit paying out... my (then) husband decided he was finished with being a husband and full time dad... And he left me with a four year old.
Later that year, I was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, with FM, CFS, CM, IBS, Kidney Disease, arthritis, Pernicious Anemia, and still had complications from the surgery, DDD, plus a few others.

My now-ex Husband divorced me (it was finalized in Feb. 2011, after we had been together 15 years.) and was paying Alimony and Child Support as we had both agreed to and it was so ordered by the judge. This amount ALMOST covered the BARE NECESSITIES; rent, utilities, etc. (I drive a car that is 21 years old... paid for, but not necessarily the most reliable... we don't have cable, internet, go out to eat, get haircuts or manicures, or even buy NEW clothes. I shop at thrift shops/ 2nd-Hand stores for my child... my family helps.) My family has also started giving me gifts for birthdays and Christmas that I cannot return, because they know I'll return it and pay a bill with the money!

Because I had applied (First started in January 2009) for Social Security Disability, and had enough work credits and multiple "Automatic Qualifying Diseases" I am therefore required to give my ex and his attorney copies of all my correspondence with SSD. (Keep them informed and up to date as to the status of my claim.)

My ex was a builder (single family permanent structures) and when the market fell out he finally was laid off in August 2012. So he took me back to court and got a "Temporary Order" ("Just until he could get another job!") paying 70% LESS per month on child support. (My Alimony is non-modifiable except for death or re-marriage)
When the judge made this temporary order, he decided that since my SSD Benefits had NOT been approved, I therefore was "Able to work" and calculated child support with my ex husband's temporary salary and with me having "the ability to work 40 hrs. A week at minimum wage."
After a year was up, the temporary order would be dropped, and the original Divorce Decree reinstated... Unless he took me back to court. Which he is now doing.
He and his attorney have decided that since Social Security has denied me three times, then there is "NOTHING WRONG WITH ME, and I should get a job!" It is not only frustrating but hurtful that they know the truth, yet twist it to use to their advantage.

HOWEVER, as spiteful as that is, coming from my ex/his family/ his attorney, I almost understand... They'll  do any and everything not to pay.

Here's the part that REALLY  bothers me:
MY LAWYER, and the JUDGE at Mediation last week BOTH looked straight at me - sitting on the edge of my chair in OBVIOUS pain, shaking uncontrollably, and knowing that the meeting had gone well over TWICE the scheduled time (so my meds were due, and no longer working from that morning)
And BOTH OF THEM AGREED:
 "Social Security doesn't make mistakes. Therefore, you absolutely DO NOT have any medical disability that keeps you from working. YOU NEED TO GET OFF YOUR LAZY, SELF-PITYING ASS AND GET A JOB!!!" My lawyer actually SAID that to my face, and the mediator/ judge/ her PERSONAL Friend AGREED!

Even though I have OBVIOUS physical disabilities, and boxes full of diagnoses and doctors bills proving them wrong, they say, The Government is not wrong, so YOU must be!
How should I deal with this? I'm paying my lawyer $300 an hour (in installments, of course, as my income from my ex isn't even enough to FILE Income Tax Returns!) to represent ME, and she is CLEARLY not supporting me. It's not as if I am asking for anything more than BASIC necessities. Right now I have to go to three food banks each month, and I am almost $10,000 behind on my rent. I pay a little every month, and God Bless him, my landlord is very understanding. All of the utility companies work with me on due dates and minimum payments, and my family doctor confers with my other doctors and writes my prescriptions every month, and only makes me come in for "Follow-up Visits" every third month to help with my medical bills, as I have no insurance, but my ex pays "Too Much" for me to be on Medicaid, Housing Assistance,  and food stamps. ($10,000 a year is TOO MUCH.)

Now my attorney is trying to FORCE me to go get a job... Which I've already tried. With the Fibro and Pernicious Anemia, my short-term memory is shot.  All of my work experience (1994 - 2007) is in Office Management; Bookkeeping, payables and receivables, etc. No employer can afford even a small mistake.
I cannot KEEP even a simple job. I never know if I will be physically unable to get out of bed and walk unassisted. I already have to walk with a cane or use a wheelchair on bad days (flares plus weakness, disk trouble in my back and arthritis) SO, with ALL THAT HISTORY, here's my question:
*How can I help my lawyer fully grasp the concept without dropping me as a client? (Like the TWO SSDisability lawyers I had did!)
How can I get her to understand without coming across too aggressively? (She is constantly yelling at me, belittling me, scolding me like I'm a child, not a 35-year old MOTHER!)

My ex husband is going to fight me about alimony until I die or remarry, whichever comes first...  and he'll fight for at least 9 more years about child support for our daughter... now NINE year old.
He is lazy, selfish, and a LOT spoiled by his wealthy parents. They agreed to pay part of his child support every month so he won't have to get a second job. They believe that since I don't have one at all (besides doing EVERYTHING for our child!) that he should only have to work one job. And that I should not be entitled to any of "HIS or THEIR Money." And I cannot figure out WHY he cannot afford his support payments... The total is right at 1/4 of his monthly TAKE-HOME salary anyway. His daughter and I get 1/4, he keeps 3/4 just to support himself. His mother buys or pays for everything for our daughter when she is with him / them. Our child has clothes, toys, books, and stuffed animals that MUST STAY at her grandparents' house. If she happens to accidentally wear a shirt home that is for wearing at their house, she has to "Turn It In" the next time she sees them. It just all seems unfair to me...

And add to that frustration, my lawyer is trying to force me to get a job.
I have no idea how to make her understand it is NOT feasible, nor reasonable!"

4 comments:

  1. First, you need to get a new lawyer. NO ONE should talk to you like that. I would have EXPLODED on both the lawyer and the judge. You need to file a complaint with the local Bar (unsure of where you live, but you can google it or call your local legal aid and they can refer you to where to call) about the way your lawyer treated you, and you need to possibly get a patient advocate (the are free) through either a medical facility and/or a local agency, maybe one of the food pantries can refer you. You have been through so much and I for one, must say, you are STRONG. Maybe not physically, but you are a gem for going through what you have and not committing homicide (just joking, but in all seriousness, you have dealt with so much, and staying strong for your daughter is wonderful). I would suggest that if possible, research some where that you can file a complaint against the judge. Unsure of how to do that, but that may help. As far as your ex goes, I don't really think there is anything you can do but to say f*** it and not worry about what is going on with him, as long as you get the money the court says you are owed. If he wants to be a dead beat, let him do it and don't let him know that it bothers you, as that just fuels the fire. You are a wonderful person, and it means so much to me that you could share your story. I just will keep you in my prayers, and pray that you get relief and that things start looking up for you. Much love from a Fibro Fighter.

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  2. I would drop her! She dosen't have the right to talk to you like that.

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  3. Appalling, absolutely appalling. Time for a new lawyer, this poor woman is essentially paying $300/hr to be verbally abused. There are SS advocates available to help with the process and history indicates that most Fibro claims are won at the hearing level before an Administrative Law Judge. Good luck to this woman, my heart truly goes out to her.

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  4. Good day! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same topics? Thanks a ton!

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