Isac and Elizabeth Madrid looked like a lot of families in North Texas: a married couple in their 20s with a young child and a house in the suburbs. Then a health emergency changed everything.
As the Madrids play with their 1-year-old son, a smiling, curly-haired boy, they’re the picture of a happy family. You’d never guess what they’ve been through in the last 18 months.
On the day little Isac was born, Dad started feeling ill. Three weeks later, the Rockwall man was in the hospital, and didn’t leave for months.
His diagnosis? Erythropoietic Protoporphyria or EPP.
Isac’s case of EPP is severe and causes a blood deficiency as well as liver failure. He’s already gotten a liver transplant and had one unsuccessful bone marrow transplant. He’s scheduled for another.
The income came ‘to a stop’
Once a sturdy 210 pounds, Isac now weighs in the 140s.
With a health crisis this serious, keeping his inside sales job wasn’t an option.
“My job tried to help me out as much as possible, but they could only do so much, which I’ve very thankful for,” Isac says. “I couldn’t work so my side of the income came to just a stop.”
Isac is on disability now, and it’s up to Elizabeth to earn all the family’s income.
Worrying about every little thing
When your earnings drop that much, Isac and Elizabeth say your entire outlook changes.
Their mortgage payment is a constant, nagging worry. They keep the house lights low and regulate the thermostat fiercely. Even trips to the grocery store are nerve-wracking.
A major illness means new expenses to fret over — doctors’ visits and pills. Rockwall County Helping Hands, a nonprofit group, pays Dad and son’s COBRA bill. While Baylor’s drug assistance program helps with Isac’s monthly haul from the pharmacy, it doesn’t cover all 12 daily medications.
Isac, who was born in El Paso, and Elizabeth, from Monterrey, Mexico, are the definition of a family living one crisis away.
Before he got sick, things were good. Two steady jobs, two cars, a nice house in the suburbs, a little bit of savings.
But when illness snuck up on him, everything changed.