Dear Senator Jon Ossoff, I Need Help.
Read on for a copy of my letter to my senator, and scroll down to learn what it means for all of us.
First of all, congratulations on your historic win! I’m addressing this message to the entire team, as I realize Senator Ossoff’s victory is the result of a group effort. I placed my vote in the run-off right after having a CT scan at Grady Memorial Hospital. That scan led to a liver biopsy, and, the day I learned for certain that I have stage IV cancer, I walked hurriedly past Senator Ossoff as he stood outside Grady giving a press conference about the COVID vaccine. I was proudly wearing a mask adorned with my “GA Voter” sticker.
Anyway, I’m writing to your office today because I need help.
From COVID’s early arrival in November 2019 to present:
- I’ve finalized my divorce from my husband of 12 years/business partner of 9 years — who promptly moved permanently to Costa Rica, is currently recovering from a traumatic brain injury, and offers extremely limited personal and financial support to me and my children due mostly to his struggles with borderline personality and dissociative identity disorder and their complications.
- I’ve taken on virtually the entire burden of fulfilling the orders of outstanding clients from the business my ex-husband and I owned together, even though it has been administratively dissolved.
- I’ve watched my 63-year-old mother experience a psychotic break and rapid period of ongoing physical and cognitive decline beginning after a virus in April 2020, which might have been COVID-19.
- I’ve moved from Rome, GA, to Atlanta with my two neurologically divergent children, and I’ve relied on my academic background in journalism and education to pull together a freelance career as a copywriter, essayist, and poet.
I have not filed for unemployment, and I have not received ANY stimulus money at any point since the pandemic began, despite having never made more than $40 K annually the duration of my adult life.
I’m 38 years old. I’m likely autistic. I suffer from clinical depression an anxiety largely as the result of masking symptoms of autism time out of mind. I’ve stabilized my metastatic cancer by taking the medicines Ibrance, letrozole, and lupron.
Ibrance is a form of targeted oral chemotherapy. Letrozole and lupron are forms of endocrine therapy that bring on early menopause. I’ve managed anxiety and depression for over a decade with Saint John’s Wort, which I can no longer take due to my cancer therapies. The cancer therapies also deplete my energy and focus.
Presently, my primary clients for my freelance business are Georgia Center for Nonprofits, Education Without Limits, and Ohio Medical Alliance. My pay varies weekly accordingly to the number of hours I can work, and these are reduced due to my treatments.
I knew that my 2019 taxes, and years prior, were messy due to my financial entanglement with my ex-husband. However, I thought that 2020 was relatively clean and straightforward. I filed 2020 in March of this year. I was projected to receive a refund and stimulus benefit by April 5. I have still received nothing.
IRS agents are kind but can only tell me to keep waiting. The IRS tax advocate who is supposed to be my voice within the IRS and help my case move more quickly through the system could not verify my identity and thus is unwilling to work with me. Meanwhile, I presently have outstanding debt owed to my landlord, my auto loan financing company, and the lovely hybrid school that welcomed my daughter’s sensory differences and dyslexia as she completed 6th grade this year.
I attended private school for grades 2–12 and graduated 2nd in my class from the Grady College of Journalism at UGA in December 2004. I’m highly educated and hardworking. I’ve also experienced a lifetime of being negatively profiled within the medical system, where my autistic traits are seldom understood.
I have no physical assets, unstable income, and highly variable credit. I am chronically ill with a deadly disease. I’m also a talented writer, a hard worker, and a dedicated and loving parent. Having the ability to claim stimulus funds, tax credits, and my refund would help me tremendously. So would having a larger and better paying audience for my professional work.
At a maximum, I ask that you please do what you’re able to assist with the swift processing of my 2020 tax refund and stimulus payments. At a minimum, I ask that anyone on your team who appreciates insightful writing about life, love, and health equity donate to my crowdfunded book project. Details about the latter are here:
Thank you for your consideration.
What My Letter Means for All Americans
I sent a more hastily written version of my letter to Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff yesterday morning, immediately prior to heading to the hospital for my lupron injection.
I’m now sharing the letter publicly for a few reasons:
- I’m hopeful others will read it and donate to my book project because times are clearly hard!
- I’m grateful for the stimulus program but frustrated by the assumption that everyone has received this benefit. As more checks are rolled out, without me having received any, my frustration is mounting!
- Writing to our senators is good! I’m grateful to, for the first time in my life, have representatives that I think will actually listen. I’m looking forward to receiving a response, and I will update you here in the hope that it inspires my readers to actively communicate with their legislators.
Finally, the issues on which this letter shines a light are not mine alone. The twin towers fell within a month of my class having started university, and most of us foresaw that our generation would be more educated than our parents' with likely far less to show for it.
We have since gone on to make history with high rates of mental health disorders as well as the early onset of serious medical conditions.
Many of us have realized our own neurological divergence via the act of diagnosing our children. We have also carried the odd burden that comes with the freedom of speaking up more fiercely about the realities of various forms of abuse.
I feel beat down by the reality of all this. And yet . . . I recognize that, for all my hardship, I’m still a privileged white woman with a private school education.
Friends and relatives have helped buffer me from falling hard on my ass even though their efforts can’t exactly “catch” me. Likewise, the ignorance and ugliness of the ableism I experience pales in comparison to the relentless oppression of systemic racism experienced by BIPOC.
As a result, I think of sharing my letter to Senator Ossoff as unlocking a door.
Ease that door open just a bit, and you recognize the need to help people like me — the ones of us pushed by circumstance into the cracks between socio-economic classes, where help that’s intended to be ours for the taking sometimes passes us by or takes a perilously long time to arrive.
But, pull the door open wider . . . and you encounter even more evidence that the entire system needs to change.
While I’ve got you here standing in the doorway, so to speak, I want to uplift some more voices of more potential system changers.
For deep insight into systemic racism and concrete steps you can take to combat it, Nicole Cardoza’s Anti-Racism Daily is an essential resource.
Finally, if you are one of those people who thinks life as we know it is working out just fine and that people like me just need to “suck it up,” these stories by Shannon Ashley and Jessica Wildfire are for you:
P.S. Barack Obama, since you’ve chosen to use Medium as a platform for your writing, I’m also tagging you. On whole, I feel you led our country with dignity, and I would appreciate your attention to my small medical/writing campaign, as well as to the ongoing systemic issues I’ve highlighted. Thank you.