Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Here to help

Benefit breakfast slated for Eudora woman

April 21, 2005

It's been a difficult few months for Eudora resident Terri Boyer, who is recovering from back surgery and will be out of work for at least one year. But kind neighbors and friends, a thoughtful landlord and the companionship of her new puppy have helped ease her mind while dealing with the physical pain and the discomfort of being unemployed.

Because Boyer is currently unable to bring home a paycheck, her friends at Eudora's Minerva Rebekah Lodge have planned a benefit breakfast for her this weekend.

The benefit breakfast will be at 8 a.m. Saturday at Pinecrest II clubroom, 924 Walnut St.

Free-will donations will be given to Boyer to help with her living expenses.

Boyer has lived in Eudora for five years and was working at C&L Custom Cabinets when severe pain in her back started last fall. She went to several doctors trying to fix the problem.

"I'd pray at night, going, 'Please let this doctor tell me what's wrong because I've been shuffled so much,'" she said.

Boyer finally found some relief earlier this year when a new doctor diagnosed her with spondylosis, a degenerative disorder of the spine.

Now she is recovering from back surgery to straighten out her spine and relieve pressure on the pinched nerve that had been causing her so much pain.

However, because she had favored her right leg while dealing with the pain in her back, she developed bursitis in her left hip, which is a painful inflammation in the joint. She has also had to deal with a six-inch incision from her surgery just six weeks ago. Trying to retrain the damaged muscles has been another struggle.

Boyer's doctor told her she should not go back to work for a year, and should never go back to doing manual labor or lifting heavy objects.

She dislikes being out of work and is trying to figure out what kind of job she might be qualified for when she is well enough to work again. She said work in any field that she had experience in would go against her doctor's orders.

"I guess I have to figure out what kind of work I can do," she said. "But I'm not one to sit around. It drives me nuts."

Boyer has received some financial assistance from the government while she has been unable to work and her church, St. Paul United Church of Christ, has also helped her with donations from its community food pantry.

Boyer said one of the hardest parts of having spondylosis, which she said was a genetic disorder, was being stuck at home and far away from her children in St. Joseph, Mo. Her youngest daughter will graduate from high school this May, and is getting ready for her senior prom.

"I've missed out on a lot of stuff," she said.

But recently one of Boyer's children helped to remedy the loneliness by giving her a puppy for company.

Lucy is an eight-week-old rat terrier puppy that's small enough to fit in a lady's purse, but energetic enough to keep Boyer entertained all day.

"It's been the best therapy for me," she said. "Now I have her to make me get up."

Boyer said she was surprised when she was informed that the women of the Rebekah Lodge wanted to raise money to help her.

"I was very touched ... emotional," she said, embarrassed of her tears. "For a while there I've just felt so alone and that I didn't have anyone who really cared about me. And it was just really special that they thought about me that way."

Boyer has also benefited from the kindness of her neighbors, Rob and Cheryl Heschmeyer and their eight children, who have kept an eye on her and helped her when she needed it.

Her landlord, Troy Watts, has also been understanding of her situation and has allowed her to stay in her home even when she couldn't afford it.

"My landlord has been a blessing for me," she said.

Boyer said she has a different perspective since she's been dealing with health issues and out of work, and that she realized she couldn't take life for granted. She said the trial had also helped her to focus more on her faith.

"I was church-going, but not really religious," she said. "But maybe there's more coming out in me."

Rebekah Lodge member Alvena Tuggle said she and her daughter, Sharon Musick, wanted to help Boyer because they knew what it was like to have no income to rely on.

"My husband fell 30 feet off a barn he was building," Tuggle said. "If we wouldn't have had some money saved, we would have had nothing at all for those seven months."

Tuggle said breakfast would be served Saturday until the food runs out.

"We hope everybody comes out," she said.

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