SNAP decisions – Things for which to be thankful

So what is it that makes a person or a family decide to go and tell someone that you need to partake of supplemental nutrition assistance?

I’m sure you’ve all heard stories about how there are millions of children going hungry in this country, or that our military veterans are returning home only to have difficulties finding employment, or that our country’s senior citizens are living on limited incomes.

Those are all good reasons to need help buying food on which to exist.

There might be more reasons that I’m oblivious to at this moment, not having personal knowledge of people living with those reasons, but I can tell you of our staggered decision to drop out of full time employment.

Our journey (and I can tell you, by no choice of ours) began on Thanksgiving in 2002.

We had moved from Jacksonville, Fla., to Danville, Va. I had graduated in 2001 with my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in graphic design and we thought Washington, D.C. would be a great area for better employment for me. D.C. would be much easier to travel to from Danville than from Jacksonville we reasoned. He had also been laid off from a communications company and his job as an Internet tech support service representative.

On that Thanksgiving, Jim could not see out of his left eye. He said it was all gray and cloudy.Image

Luckily, the local newspaper I was employed by offered health insurance through a 80-20 type insurance plan.

We went to the ophthalmologist and she informed us that she thought he might have Multiple Sclerosis, based on her determination that he had suffered from optic neuritis (a big, fancy, medical term for an inflamed optic nerve). She suggested steroids and a visit to a neurologist.

After multiple visits to a neurologist that wanted to use him as a guinea pig for anything else other than MS, my sister who is a nurse recommended a neuroophthalmologist. We traveled to Duke University in North Carolina (seems finding one of these special docs is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack!).

But we still were not any closer to a diagnosis, because as the new specialist said, Jim had had only one attack, which left one lesion on his brain, as evidenced by an MRI that was performed. If Jim had no further attacks, then it wouldn’t be MULTIPLE Sclerosis.

Six month later, we knew for sure, when Jim’s left side went numb and alternated with feelings of pins and needles throughout his arm and leg.

It wasn’t until a year after we moved to Waynesboro, Va. in 2005, so I could take a promotion within the media company I was working for, and many more instances of “weird” things happening to him, that we finally found a doctor that would our money where her mouth was: MS – the remitting-relapsing type.

reidsville review and daily news too

Fast forward six years to May 2011.


About GMFarthing

Gina Farthing is a freelance journalist, writer and graphic designer. She earned her BFA majoring in graphic design and minoring in advertising, marketing and business communications. Gina has worked in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia as a copy editor, ad designer, features editor, reporter, website designer, interim city editor, graphic designer, newsletter editor and photographer for the last 18 years. She has produced various communications materials for local, national and international academic, governmental, public and private organizations, including for news media and public broadcasting service audiences. Prior to going into business for herself, Gina’s most recent employers included. Her work encompassed publications such as The Waynesboro News Virginian, the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, the Reidsville Review, Eden Daily News, Danville Register & Bee, the Draft, Rocktown Weekly, Shenandoah Journal, North Fork Journal, the Shenandoah Valley Business Journal, The Valley Banner, Real Estate Weekly and Bloom magazine.
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