I have not posted much over the last 18 months. My life has turned upside down. I have always known life is not easy nor fair, but always tried my best. I left a cushy office job 7 years after getting a BA from college. Did well but hated working in a "cube farm". Was making good money but decided I wanted to change careers. Quit my job and went to trade school for HVAC. My family and friends thought I was crazy. Never missed a day of class even worked part-time. As most of us know, school learning and on the job learning are very different. It took many years to become competent. I worked for a nice "Mom + Pop" company for the first 5 years, learning service and install; residential and commercial. This company's business got slow and I moved on to another company primarily doing service work. Always tried to keep learning admitting to myself there is still so much to learn and become better at. I had been single until 2003, so I worked alot. Able to buy a home, save money and always pay my bills. Never had any serious illnesses nor injuries. I truly enjoyed this trade. Got married and started a family. My income was high enough my wife could stay home with the kids. Plan was she would work part-time, but this did not allow her to go to school. This was a big change in my personal and family life. Quite a learning experience that all the "Having a Baby" books and classes for having children was not the same as reality. We were expecting a boy this time (decided to have the sonograms and not wait until birth) in early January 2008. However, a few weeks earlier, two days after Christmas 2007 I had a mild left knee fracture and torn meniscus at work. Oh well, Workers Comp for a few months, BUT hey, I would be home 24/7 with our new son. By mid March 2008 I returned to work. It was the slow season. Within 2 weeks (I thought it was my April Fools Joke), two fingers on my left hand started going numb. Didn't understand why. By late April 2008 finally went to my MD. He sent me for an MRI. He thought I had a pinched nerve. 15 minutes after the MRI, the Radiologist came out and told me he phoned my MD and to go back to him immediately! I wondered WTF but the Radiologist refused to discuss anything. Within an hour I was back at my MD's office and he immediately took me back to an exam room. Told me I have a "mass" on my spinal cord in my neck. I was in shock. Referred to to a great Neurologist and Neuro sorgeon. Had 3 more MRI's over the next two months. By this time my palm was going numb and tingling pain was working up the arm to my shoulder. None of the Neurologists at two hospitals could determine what it was, BUT it was growing. The top Neurosurgeon did a laminectomy, removing a spinal section from the back of my neck on 6-30-08. They also took a biopsy for pathology to determine what it was and cut out as much as the could without risking cutting my spinal cord. 4 days later, while recovering in the hospital several MD's came to my bedside and told me I have Malignant Cancer. A very rare type that typically is a brain tumor, not in the spine. I was in shock. 3 weeks later started Radiation therapy, 30 treatments. Then 6 months of Chemo (worst thing I have ever felt in my life). From September 2008 to now I have MRI's done head-to-bottom of spine, a) to see if it shrinking or growing and b) if it has spread. These MRI's take about 3 hours and they bill my health insurance company $14,000 a pop. All this time I had to take Disability but continue paying my employer the full monthly healthcare cost for my family at about $950 a month. Our savings were draining fast. Went back to work part-time late September 2008. Chemo side-effects made my tired and sleep alot. But I was so very happy to be working. On Friday February 6, 2009 I was driving home after the long week. The company had an emergency furnace install that they sent 2 young service techs on. The only metal tool they had was a "can-opener and a pair of linesman pliers". They were stuck. They had called our office manager and the owner for help, someone just to come out and do the metal work. All the other employees turned off their Nextels. But mine was on and asked me to help. Yes I was tired and wanted to go home to my family but I agreed to go finish the metalwork so the old lady would have heat that night. The two techs met me outside as I parked my Van on the street. Told me that they have everything downstairs and JUST bring my metal tools in. We walked to the back of my van where I keep my metal tools and the WHOOPS! I slipped on the black ice falling on my right knee. The two guys tried to lift me up and I cried out in pain. One of them took me to the ER. Doped me up un morphine after taking X-rays. My knee cap was Shattered! Took me the the OR. Total reconstructive surgery: plates, pins and wires. I got a beautiful 5" long scar. So now I'm out for 6 months, first ina cast with crutches, the eventually to a soft cast with a forearm cane. Went through PT. My company grew tired of all my time off of work during the past year and-a-half. Although Workers Comp was paying my medical bills I still needed to continue paying my Group Health Premium to them and all the expenses at home. Had to SELL my HOUSE. But I refused to quit the company. So my employer told me they filled my Service Tech position and the only thing available was Lead Installer. Not good, they were forcing me out. Returned to work late August2009. Soon had a 5 ton split system to intall. Indoor unit Horizontal in a hot attic. By 3pm that day my back began to hurt. Next day could barely get out of bed. Called in sick to work. Wife forced me to go to the hospital. What a zoo with family in tow. Took X-rays and said I have a slipped disc in the lower back and 4 more discs were bad/degenerative. Back on Worker'sComp. Had two second opinions. Recommendation was not what I wanted to hear: Surgery or quit this type of work (no lifting over 25lbs). Otherwise my back condiotion will continue to worsen ( I still have pain) or I'll be "laid out on some customer's basement sooner or later. ??? What to do? Well my company fired me. I've got Comp and Unemployment. My family and friends want to to quit HVAC, but I really like working in the field, not in an office or a Supply house. During these last 19 months I developed major depression. This stinks trying all kinds of anti-depressants, dosages, and combinations.
I never got Life Insurance when I had a chance. Now with Cancer noone will touch me. My life expectancy is 2-5 years (after researching 40-50 medical web sites). Over one year has passed. Bottom line- I have terminal Cancer, the body of an 80 year old and major depression. What money we have I have sent my wife to Community College. She will need a job that will pay benefits for her and the family. I feel like a broken man, a lost soul. Little self worth or self esteem. I was supposed to be the provider, Not a liability. I ask God what I did to deserve this.....I don't know the answer. If I could say one thing to you guys, get Life Insurance. And say a little prayer for me, It is worth more than medicine.