When Kirk Davis of Mount Holly, N.C., describes his wife's cancer and subsequent treatment, he never says it was "her" diagnosis or chemo. He says "we were diagnosed with breast cancer" on June 2, 2008.
The diagnosis, which was followed by medical bills and both having to take pay cuts, led to the Davis' struggle to save their home from a scheduled foreclosure in December.
Cindi Davis, 50, had to resign from her job as a school teacher to go on long-term disability. She said she has stage four cancer, now that it has spread to her lymph nodes, lungs and liver.
Kirk, 51, left his job as a project manager in the automotive industry that required travel. He took a 55 percent pay cut for another job as a machine operator.
"I had to find something that was close to home and was grounded so when the opportunity came for chemo, I would be able to go," he said.
Cindi's disability payments bring home less than $1,200 a month. She said her prescription medications add up to over $1,000 in co-payments a month and she also pays about $81 for each doctor visit.
The couple, who do not have children, will have been married 20 years this Valentine's Day.
They've owned their modest, one-story home in Mount Holly, N.C., since Halloween 2004. Wells Fargo is set to sell the home on Dec. 19 because the couple has only made one payment on their mortgage since the diagnosis.
The couple filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2010 but they have fallen behind in the monthly payments to the court.
"We just couldn't do it," he said. "It was just too much."
Because their community and medical treatment are in North Carolina, while their families live in Iowa and New Jersey, they expect to live in their truck somewhere nearby if they are left homeless.
When asked about the prospect of losing their home, Kirk said, "Like Cindi says, it may not be much, but it's mine. For Cindi, this is her refuge. This is where she is. She's not able to get out like she used to. It's kind of everything."
Friends of the couple have blogged about their situation, even soliciting online donations, and have set up a petition on Change.org to ask Wells Fargo to try for another loan modification.
When asked how Cindi would feel if her husband found a higher-paying job that required him to be away from home in this soft jobs market, she said she would be "fine" if she could find someone to drive her to the doctor, but she doubts Kirk would agree to it.
"I know he loves me. He did it so he could be close with me. It's just us here," she said.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Veronica Clemons said the bank's thoughts are with Davis "during her courageous battle with cancer."
"We have been working with Mr. and Mrs. Davis consistently since 2008 and have offered them multiple modifications and workout options in an attempt to help them maintain homeownership and we continue to work with them," the bank said in a statement. "Wells Fargo is required to follow the loan investor's guidelines when helping customers apply for assistance. These guidelines determine if borrowers qualify and what type of assistance they may be eligible to receive. We work hard to help our customers maintain homeownership and foreclosure is always a last resort."
The couple says they have tried to modify their mortgage, but only more complications have ensued.
The original monthly payment was $840 for their home which cost $112,000. As of now, they owe $140,000 as Wells Fargo adds fees because they are behind.
During one of the times they applied for a modification, Cindi Davis said the bank failed to include certain information in their application and she said she was instructed to cancel the application.
Because they had declined that modification, Davis said the next time they applied for a loan modification, the monthly payment was raised to $873 a month.
"They add to it every time and say, 'I'm sorry this is what your plan is.' They just don't get it," she said.
After they told their story to the Charlotte Observer last Thursday, she said a bank representative got in touch with them to try once more for a modification. The couple is submitting the paperwork by Monday, as instructed, but Cindi is skeptical because she doesn't "trust anyone."
"I'm not trying to have Wells Fargo to give me my house. I'm willing to pay. Just let me pay what I can. They just want much more than what I'm able," she said. "They have four houses on my street that people don't live in and they want mine. It doesn't make sense."