Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Help me raise money for the: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


~~~~Welcome to My Light The Night Walk Fundraising Page, 2017~~~~

 Please help me support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk by donating towards my fundraising efforts today. You can help bring us closer to living in a world without cancers!
Can you believe that it's been 7 years since I was diagnosed with the Big C?  Since my diagnosis and treatment, there have been so many crazy things that have happened along the way.  One day, I'll write down these ridiculous stories-- Some are definitely worthy of air time!!!
The craziest and bestest thing happened this last Winter!  My dear friend, Allen Peacock, ran for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Man of the year!!! He raised over $60,000.00--which didn't earn him the coveted Man of the Year title, but I know he is the MAN in a lot of people's eyes, especially mine for his generosity and kindness.  It was truly an unbelievable feat and lots of fun!!

Many people through the years have asked about "my story." So here it goes...
Cancer people always remember the day their entire world changed. Some ask why, I was more like "WTF, are you kidding me?" I had a cough. A cough that was piercing to everyone's ears and it hurt! Kirk said I had TB, some thought I had whooping cough and there was even a kennel cough thrown in there (Thank you, Mitch!). At first, my doctor just thought it was allergies and asthma. After 2 weeks, it wasn't any better--maybe I had bronchitis? He listened to my chest and determined that I was wheezing and my lungs did sound congested. 3 weeks later, my cough was even worse. I was throwing up all the time when I coughed and I couldn't catch my breath--it was terrible! Being at my wits end, I went back to the doctor and he ordered a chest x-ray, maybe I had pneumonia?, but it didn't sound like it. The scan was done right before July 4th weekend, and my doc wouldn't be back in for about week. No big deal, I had dealt with it for this long what's a few more days?!
I will tell you this, no one will ever tell you that you have cancer over the phone. When I was told I needed to come into the office and whenever I got there would be fine, I knew something was definitely wrong. I've never had a shorter wait to get into see my doctor!! And then he dropped the bomb of my life.."You see this?" as he pointed to a mass that was sitting on my bronchial tubes shown on the xray, "This is a problem." He handed me a piece of paper with 2 names on it, one was a thoracic surgeon, the other an oncologist. I kind of stared at him, " Do I have cancer?" He hadn't exactly said it quite yet. "Yes, but you are going to be fine. I promise."
I walked out of his office in a daze, got to my car and called my mom, who was suffering with Stage IV breast cancer. "Mom, I have cancer." Typical of my mom, "No, you don't. Missy, quit screwing with me." --still makes me laugh that I can hear her saying it now:) Side bar: I was strangely obsessed with calling my mom and saying things to get a rise out of her i.e. I was pregnant, had eloped, gotten my nose pierced, gotten a tattoo, etc.
I digress...My oncologist appointment was first and my dear friend Branch went with me. She was my scribe. She knew I would be too wound up to take in everything that was being said--she was 100% correct. My oncologist said I either had lymphoma or something else with an 'oma', but I had a very high rate of success for remission. Next up, thoracic surgeon. He took one look at my xrays and said I had Hodgkin's Disease--he didn't know which one, but that's what I had. Now, I have always been a fly by the seat of my pants kind of person, but this was a lilttle ridiculous. In a one week span, I had been diagnosed with cancer, was supposed to have a major surgery (they were deflating one of my lungs to get to the "oma" which was near my heart, inserting my port and inserting this kick ass pain killer contraption into me) and I had 2nd row tickets to a Yankees-Rays game in Tampa behind the Yanks on-deck-circle!!. After a little haggling, I was cleared to go to my game (yes, my beloved Yanks won!) and would have the surgery the day after I got back. I won't even go into my hospital stay---What a hot mess!!
I didn't tell a lot of people my diagnosis. My tight circle of friends knew and my family. I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me or say something awkward because truly, what do you say in the situation--sorry you have a sickness where you are going to lose all your hair and energy, feel like shit for awhile and be in a situation for the better part of a year that changes everything in your life? They don't make a Hallmark card for it, I looked:) I had cancer and I wasn't going to die. Just needed some time to get through my issues and deal with myself. For the next 6 months, I went to chemo every two weeks, and then had radiation for 17 sessions. I would take chemo every day to not have radiation--it is the worst!!
October 2012, I was finally put in remission and my chemo port was removed. This little cancer spell was behind me.
I was very lucky, my cancer was caught in the early stages and I had an awesome team of doctors--some are not that lucky, which is why I now raise money for LLS! They help people who are not Missy Bass. Those who don't have insurance and live in the metropolis of Richmond where cancer centers are cutting edge. Those who don't have friends and family who will take them to all their doctors appointment while they are going through treatment. It's these people that I want to help and with you, it's possible:)


Monday, August 28, 2017

How to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

Money is tight, and you’re looking for expenses to cut. Your mortgage payment is the biggest bite out of your paycheck, so that seems like the logical place to start.
Here are some ways that may help you lower your monthly mortgage payment and important considerations about each one.

Refinance to a longer term

Refinancing a mortgage to gain more time to repay is a popular option. If homeowners have made payments on a 30-year loan for a few years, for example, they refinance the remainder back out to 30 years.
But extending a loan term means you’re piling on additional interest charges, especially if you’ve been paying for a significant amount of time. So, this move should be a “last resort” option, says Randall Lowell of Parkview Services, a HUD-approved nonprofit housing counselor service in Shoreline, Washington. HUD is short for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If you’re in that situation, he suggests looking first for a streamline refinance loan product. Some government-backed loans — such as Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages — offer these lower fee and less paperwork refis.

Apply for a loan modification

If you’ve experienced a severe financial hardship and your mortgage payment is no longer affordable, a loan modification may be an option. That’s when a lender restructures your loan in some way to lower the monthly payment.
You don’t have to be in default to request a loan modification from your lender, Lowell says. If you’re facing an imminent reduction in income — for example, from the loss of a job or retirement — he says it’s a good idea to get ahead of the issue.
“When you reach out to a lender, they might actually refer you over to a HUD-approved housing counselor to discuss your situation,” says Stephanie Somerville, with GreenPath Financial Wellness, a HUD-approved nonprofit financial counseling service in the Detroit area.

Eliminate mortgage insurance

Somerville can speak from her own experience getting mortgage insurance eliminated. After owning her home for only a year in a rapidly appreciating real estate market, she refinanced her FHA loan with lifetime mortgage insurance into a conventional loan without mortgage insurance.
Her mortgage rate dropped one percentage point, and she was free from the FHA mortgage insurance.
Your credit score and the home’s rise in value will play a big part in making this work. Generally, you would need to have more than 20% equity in your home to cancel mortgage insurance. That means a lender appraisal may have to show a substantial increase in your home’s market price, depending on how much you put down.

Refinance the loan to a lower rate

You probably have considered refinancing your loan to a lower rate. Replacing your mortgage with a new loan at a lower interest rate would reduce your monthly payment, right? Yeah, but it’s harder than it sounds.
Somerville says you’ll need equity in your property to pull this one off. Rising home values might work in your favor. And you’ll need a good credit score, too.
However, a small interest rate improvement probably won’t make enough difference, especially when you consider the costs of a refi, which include closing costs just like those you paid on your existing mortgage.
“If you can get a significantly lower rate, that might drive down your payment,” Somerville says.

The mortgage may not be the problem

Lowell says a vast majority of the people who come to housing counselors are struggling with budget issues, but the mortgage is usually not to blame.
More often than not, it’s credit card debt. And prioritizing ways to attack that debt may do more to improve their cash flow than reducing the monthly mortgage payment.
Somerville agrees it’s better to chip away at that debt without putting your house at risk.
“Credit card debt is unsecured; it’s not attached to anything,” she adds. If you don’t make a payment, nothing can be taken. But, if you don’t make your mortgage payments — on a refinance or on a home equity line of credit — you could lose your home.