Advice needed re. negotiating w/ credit card companies

I am looking to negotiate a settlement with four different Canadian credit cards and get them paid off in monthly installments. We owe about $14,000 total… $6000 + $4000 + $2000 + $2000. I’ve been paying on them for years, more than a decade, in two cases, and I am just sick of them. One card (the $4000 one) has sent my account to collections, and they have sent letters offering a settlement of 70% of the $4000. We have six children, and my husband is the sole earner, but he actually has a broken back and is struggling with depression and things are very, very tight for us right now.

I got behind in payments for a month or so and things just snowballed, and now I would be able to start regular payments again but the late fees and catch-up payments are insurmountable. Now they’ve cranked up the interest rates, and I am at a loss to know what to do. Can anyone give me some advice as to how to begin? Also, I am very shy, and I find it extremely difficult to talk to people over the phone because I wind up crying and hanging up, which is terribly embarrassing. I can write, though, so I’m wondering if it might be possible to do things in writing?