Monday, December 5, 2011

Pennsylvania Cushing's disease victim in need of goodwill

Eric Allman is having car troubles. Actually, his problems are more extensive than car troubles. But he's having car troubles.

Allman's home in Emerald Lakes is being foreclosed on, and he must move with his family to a subsidized apartment complex in Stroudsburg. While this alone may be difficult, Allman also has Cushing's disease, a hormonal disorder that causes excessive weight gain and a host of other problems.

The disease has prevented him from holding a job in recent years.

"The bank wants me to pay $50,000 to stay in my house," Allman said. "I can't even pay $5."

Which is why it came as such a crushing blow recently when he found out he'd have to pay $3,500 to get his broken-down Subaru station wagon fixed. The car is one of his only lifelines to the world.

It's the thing that gets him to his doctor appointments every month. Without it, he says, he's stranded, and that puts him in serious jeopardy.

Allman said if someone could help him pay for the station wagon's repairs or help him find some solution, he'd be grateful.

"It's just been so hard," said Allman, 49, who relies primarily on a motorized wheelchair to travel small distances.

In order to move all of his and his family's belongings into their new apartment, Allman rented a van. Allman's wife is also ill, and his son takes care of him full time.

Allman thought the van was a good stopgap measure, but it wasn't, because he fell twice while exiting the vehicle. Both times, an ambulance and the fire department were called to help him.

Allman's station wagon, however, which is sitting in the shop, was specially outfitted to allow him easy access into it and out of it.

"The mechanics say they'll give me a good deal to fix it. But like I said, I just don't have any money for this."

Allman's plight really began around 2005, when he was diagnosed with Cushing's disease.

People with Cushing's disease produce too much cortisol, a naturally occurring hormone that controls the body's use of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This hyper-production of cortisol leads to weight gain. But it also weakens bones and muscles. So as a person with the disease gains weight, his or her body becomes less able to support it.

Allman, who used to work as an armed security guard, said his weight shot up nearly 225 pounds since he got the disease. He now weighs 400 pounds.

"Sometimes it feels like I'm just existing. My bones are turning to powder," he said.

Allman said he has some lights in his life, like his family and some hobbies. But without his station wagon, he can't go to his three doctor appointments each month — which means he can't get his prescriptions.

In addition, Allman said he was crushed when he recently had to give up his 10 cats to a local animal rescue, Animals Can't Talk, because the Westgate Apartments only allows two pets per household.

"That was terrible. But I would do anything to be able to be mobile again," Allman said. "We just need a little help."

Allman can be reached at 570-856-0948.