Thursday, September 16, 2010

Faith (Sense of the City: In Search of a Job)

I'll admit it, my column has become a bit self-referential and depressing at times. I've been so wrapped up in my own troubles that I stopped observing the community around me. I started focusing on my own problems and eventually became blinded to anything else. It happens to everyone, the only cure--a little perspective.

My perspective came in the form of a long email a woman sent to me after a particularly selfish column. She asked me not to share her name because she is a privet person. So I will call her Elaine.

"It is Sunday morning and I just read your article and my heart goes out to you, for it is hard times for a lot of people," Elaine said in her email.

She went on to tell me to stay positive and that I will get through these difficulties in life. Her concern touched me, especially when I read on.

"I wish I could work. I am in a fight . . . I battle cancer," she said.

In early 2009 Elaine had knee surgery. Afterward she felt sick. Nothing came up on any tests, so doctors misdiagnosed her illness. It wasn't until November doctors found the Melanoma. She had part of her leg removed and is now fighting the after effects. Elaine is 45.

Her physical energy is low. Sometimes she can't even get out of her chair.

"My good days, I can get up for 15-20 mints and clean the house," Elaine said.

At the time of her knee surgery, Elaine worked as a administrative assistant with a nursing background. She loved her job and worked through the pain and the sickness.

"I went to work throwing up. If I threw up--I threw up," she said.

Eventually her job let her go. Elaine was out an income provided by her job. But most impertinently she was out of what she loved to do.

Before leaving, she set up programs to help her co-workers.

"When I left I was like: 'Man, I hope those programs still go through'," Elaine said.

Her lack on income is affecting her life as well. Elaine was on unemployment, but that has run out. She is now fighting through the paperwork for long-term disability to help pay for her mounting doctor bills.

The other day, I called Elaine to see how she was doing. She was laughing and up-beat. I asked her how she could stay so happy.

"Faith, that's the only thing that's pulling me through . . . with out it I'd have been dead already," she answered.

She went on to say: "My mom--she's my pillar of strength."

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