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Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

If you have read my other posts you know I am self employed and was born with only one kidney.  I can not purchase self employed medical insurance.  I am what is considered uninsurable.  But my new medical issue, cancer, isn’t one to be put off.  It’s urgent and without immediate care, I will die.  I have 7 kids, and the youngest is only 6.  I’m just not done yet.  It’s not optional, I have to find a way to get better.

I spoke with several doctors and nurses and did some research.  I kept coming up with the same specialist’s name.  I called his office and scheduled an appointment.  His office manager called me because I of my self pay status.  She told me the inital visit is $285, but I have to get some insurance.  Really?  Not only do I have one kidney, I now have cancer.  You have got to be kidding me.  HOW does that work? This woman saved me a ton of time and research.  She knew exactly what to do.

There is a little known federal program called Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Program.  If you have pre-existing conditions you can get insurance through this program.  IT IS NOT EASY, but you can get insurance.  The problem is it takes a long time to get it.  Unless you know the right people.  Well, I didn’t’ before, but I was introduced to the right people.  But thanks to a lovely woman working for the American Cancer Society, my application was sped up so I could have insurance to help cover my surgery.  There is a little known rule that you can have it start a month early IF you ask them to.  It’s not mentioned on their website anywhere.

Basically, if you apply the end of May, your insurance starts July 1.  Unless you ask them in writing to start it a month early.  And yes, a fax counts.  BUT you need to be speaking to someone specific and have them help you walk it through.

There are two different payment options, one has lower payment but higher deductable, the other lower deductable but higher payments.  Do the math, figure out what works best for you financially for an entire year. I took the higher payment and lower deductable option.  For me, it’s the best way to go.

If you are looking for insurance and have pre-existing coditions, go to pcip.gov and take a peek.  It may or may not be for you, but honestly, it’s saving my life.

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I haven’t been feeling well for a while.  I even went to the doctor and she kind of  looked me over and said, no problem, you need more rest.  Congratulated me on my weight loss and cut my bp meds back.  All in all, I was feeling pretty good that I didn’t need as much medicine.  What a win!  I left feeling like everything was fine.  About 2 weeks later I was back, my stomach had started swelling up, looked like I was about 5 months pregnant.  It was really getting a bit scary. But she’s a good doctor, and it’s a Thursday, and I was lucky enough to get in.  I expected her to give me some antibiotics tell me to go home, kick my feet up and quit whining.

That’s not what she said.  I was born with one kidney.  When my doctor saw that I was retaining fluid in such extremes, she said she was going to run some tests and see what to do about putting me on a kidney transplant list.  The next day she called and said, “Um, I don’t know what the hell is going on, but your kidney is fine.  In fact, so is your liver.  I’m going to do some research over the weekend and we will regroup on Monday to figure out what’s wrong”.

By 4am Monday morning, I had swollen up so badly I looked about 10 months pregnant with triplets.  My ribs were distended, being pushed out of place, and I was in severe pain.  My hubby rushed me to the emergency room, where they immediately pumped me full of morphine.  I have major issues with pain meds, mostly that I have no clue what’s going on around me when I take them.  Well, this time was no different.  But the ER docs had no clue how badly it affected my ability to understand what was going on around me.  All they knew was how much pain I was in, and they gave me as much as they could for my weight.

After a hand full of tests and a CT scan, a doctor that I recognized but didn’t know, came in the room and made my husband move.  He sat in a chair beside me, and held my hand and had the weirdest look on his face.  I was so loopy from the morphine I didn’t know it was time to worry.  I started giggling.  It was all just so surreal to me, a strange man with a strange look on his face was holding my hand and honey was standing in the corner trying to hear what was going on.  How funny is that?  Ok, maybe you had to be there.  He told me, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have ovarian cancer.”   I was waiting for the punch line, he just kept staring at me.  I finally looked at him, grinned really big and said “AND???”  Then I started laughing like a goofy school kid.  I think he realized how much morphine affected me then.  Then he said  he was going to get the GYN to talk to me.  This time they let me sleep for an hour before they tried to explain it again.

The weird thing about Ovarian Cancer is it has very few, and very vague symptoms.  Most people don’t know they have it until it’s too late.   I am lucky I started swelling up because it got me to the doctor.  What a crazy weird thing.  If it hadn’t been for all the fluid, I would also have been too late.  I’m so very lucky to be here today.  It’s a good day.

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