Okay, everyone. I'm not used to asking for help, nor do I ever expect anyone to actually respond when I do, but as it is only somewhat for me and very much for Natasha and for my children, I am herein posting a link to a donation page on which I am trying to raise money for Natasha's surgery this summer (well, late spring). Here's the link.
Interestingly, there are a few conversations going on, both on the donation site and on Facebook, about whether it is best to plan a surgery that will otherwise put us further into debt or to wait until we have the money saved up. As I mentioned on the donation page, I see this surgery as necessary as much for Natasha's mental well-being as it is for the mental well-being of our children and myself. I would much rather continue to deal with financial stresses - that I already have - than to continue dealing with Natasha's frequent depressing and unpredictable mood swings. Yes, she's got other emotional issues (read bad parents), but you all know that when you pile that stuff onto GID, it's just that much worse. Eliminating one major source of depression certainly helps.
I think that the debate over when to have surgery vs risk to financial security is not an uncommon one in this community. I suspect that when couples have stayed together long enough for this subject to even come up, this is a point of contention and yet another stumbling block for the relationship. Perhaps a year ago, when I thought about Natasha having SRS, I would think about our financial situation first. We've never been solidly in the black in spite of having two good jobs between us, but we've always managed to get the necessary bills paid, the kids and pets fed, and the cars in good working order. So the thought of going further into debt for something that, at the time, I felt was not entirely necessary made me feel a bit like Natasha was being selfish. I'm sure this happens a lot. But here's the thing: if I had said, "No way. We need to save every penny for an emergency fund first and then we would consider the surgery," she would have accepted it. And what would have happened? Much like any point where a TS is asked to choose between keeping the family and following the gut, there would have been far more depression and silent suffering. Plus, there has never been a point where an emergency would have taken a back seat to raising money for her surgery. Neither of us are stupid. Both of us put our children first.
Making the decision to go into debt for her SRS, to me, was like deciding that there is no good financial time to have kids. Really. Nobody WANTS to struggle to support a family, but if everybody waited until they were wealthy enough to handle the expenses of babies, toddlers, kids, the population would be extremely small. You have kids, hopefully, when you have the health and energy to keep up with them, when you are young enough to expect to be around when they get married and don't need you anymore (but choose to need you anyway), when you have the love in your heart to want to put someone else before you. We probably won't be able to afford to have kids until the kids are out of college. So it is with SRS. The need arises and you wait as long as you can, but a point in time comes, as a partner at least, when you can't stand to see your partner suffer anymore and you are willing to scrounge and scramble a little more every month for a few years.
Or, you ask for help. :-D