I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1991. Then in January 2008, my neurologist diagnosed me with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and said I was dying. I will be 42 this October 7th and I currently reside in Phoenix, Arizona, which is the reason I am creating this letter.
Due to my neurological disability, I am overly sensitive to hot and cold conditions. Therefore, being in Maricopa County and the extreme desert climate, I remain indoors for the majority of the year, except for doctor’s appointments. My disease is unique in many ways from day to day, but extreme temperatures are always a severe threat to anything I do or anywhere I go.
I have seen many beautiful and tremendous images of the Hawaiian Islands. I have also heard intriguing stories of wonderful moments shared there, but I was not aware of the consistent range of perfectly warm temperatures in that part of the Pacific. It stays relatively warm during the evening time, and the daytime is comfortable and breezy in a way that I wouldn’t have to avoid going outside.
It sounds like the ideal area for someone like me to start enjoying the outdoors again, at least until they find a cure. I was told about a possible cure based on protein experiments in mice and the tests were done in Honolulu. I can’t tell you how spectacular it would be to be able to walk again.
When I think about walking again, I think about dancing. For over 10 years, I was a professional dance instructor until my disease rendered me disabled. I felt not only as a dance teacher, but a teacher of life. I instilled confidence into all ages of people, which spilled over into their everyday lives.
I was so overjoyed to transform someone into a graceful, balanced, and value-oriented individual. It was as if I didn’t work a day in my life. I had so much passion for my profession, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet and train people from all different walks of life. When I was no longer able to teach dance, it was such a blow to my existence, I tried to take my own life the day after I stopped teaching in 2001.
I have full intention of living on the Island of Oahu sometime in the near future, preferably early March 2010, after my current lease is up. Instead of spending my life indoors months on end, I would much rather give myself an opportunity to have some sort of normality and stability.
The thought of being able to go outside for more than a minute makes me feel like I would be trying to take a small piece of my life back. I have considered going to Flagstaff, Arizona, but then there is extreme cold. I wish I wasn’t in such a position to have to be so picky, but I can no longer tell my body what to do. It has full control over me now.
My favorite activity when I was able to walk was camping. I have a storage bin full of camping equipment I would upkeep on a weekly basis. If I can no longer experience my deepest desire, dancing, I sincerely would be giddy for the opportunity to spend time camping on the most exotic islands in the world. Arizona is a gorgeous place to be, but in a wheelchair or glued to the couch, it’s only gorgeous through a window.
For years now, I have earned $850 a month in Social Security benefits. In January, it shot up to $902, a decent increase. Regardless, it is still not nearly enough to help afford relocation costs. Due to my ailment, I have to travel with certain medical equipment: a portable commode, shower chair, wheelchair and such.
I have applied for HUD, Nursing Homes Without Walls, Hawaii AHCCCS, Medquest, Department of Human Services, and so on, but I truly could use some financial assistance for security deposits and various moving expenses. I have never moved off the Mainland before, so I am not sure of the approximate $ amount.
For someone of very limited income, I’m sure it is thousands more than I could come up with all at once. I would greatly appreciate and always be thankful for a grant enabling me to reside in a location ideal for me to obtain a much better quality of life.