So here are the REALLY crappy parts:
While in Midland I was always run-down, insomnia was bad, migraines were bad, I had uncontrollably sweating head-to-toe if I even sat around, not just during cases. When insurance options became available, I'd bought a critical illness policy, not because I thought I had cancer, but because I have horrible luck when it comes to my health and it was available to me. They told me on the phone it wasn't in effect until September 1st, 2014 and one couldn't get a critical illness diagnosis for the first 30 days. So even though I didn't suspect cancer, I PURPOSELY didn't see an OB/GYN until the first week of October. There was a lump, this time on my left breast and I had to have a mammogram and biopsy asap. I was diagnosed with a stage 3 triple-negative interductal tumor-the same kind as in 2006. But this was not a recurrence, it was a whole new tumor.These are very aggressive. In 2006, in April I felt nothing, in May it was 3.5cm. Likewise, in Midland, in September I felt nothing and in October it was 2.5cm. Needless to say, the insurance company said my policy wasn't in effect until October first and I had treatment on the 6th, so I wouldn't be getting my payout. Feeling as crappy as I had, why would I wait until October to be treated "just in case" when I really needed to seen? I was obviously waiting out the 30 days. So the $10,000 payout I was expecting I was going to use for my 2014 out-of-pocket expenses and a month of rent or two. The hospital let me go because I had cancer and required too much time off. This is usually illegal, but they worded it excessive absences and due to my not being there 6 months, they don't have to hold my job either. So I'm broke and without a job. I was smart enough to get disability insurance, but I was just notified the Short-Term portion has expired and they don't know if I will be getting Long-Term at this point. I can't get a job because my blood counts are TERRIBLE! In 2006 I got my lifetime dose of a certain VERY popular breast cancer med during chemo. This makes it VERY difficult for my oncologist to treat me. She came up with a VERY strong combination due to the tumor's aggressive nature. The 1st week of each cycle, I'd be getting two drugs: One VERY hard on the body the other a little less so. The 2nd, 3rd & 4th weeks I'd just get the one that's less so, but still quite hard on the body. Weeks 3&4 my blood counts were SO low it was too dangerous to give me ANY chemo. Week 5 I got week 3's dose followed by shots for 3 days after to help the regrowth of my cells. In 2006 I received the same type of shots, but was able to give myself the shots (they're no difficult to administer than insulin), but now, with my present insurance and the high costs of medication, the shots are $1,000+ WITH insurance. So for the three days after chemo (the days I feel like doing the least) I have to get up, get presentable and get my shot. It's a waste of time and resources, but then at least it just gets added on to my bill-a bill I've paid NOTHING toward. Likewise in 2014, I have paid little to no out-of-pocket as I was relying on that $10,000 check they weaseled out of.
The main stressor I have is money (or lack thereof). I'm driving a car with the side bashed in, I have to pay rent to stay here to be treated (not that there's any where else I COULD go) and I'm completely alone down here- I have no friends or family to help me out, I have my out-of pocket costs for 2014 & 2015, I'm unable to pay for my storage and car and my family can't help me forever, I obviously can't work due to my blood levels-I'm not supposed to go out in public for anything but Dr. appointments, groceries and such especially with all the strains of flu that are going on, Even if I could go out-working in the health care setting would be VERY difficult due to my need for sleep ALL the time. I get out-of-breath and exhausted just climbing the steps to my apartment (again, I wasn't planning on getting cancer and I figured doing the stairs a few times a day would be good for me). I'd be willing to try a night time job further down the line when the doctor feels my blood counts are good enough and I'm tolerating whatever new regimen we start next week, but she says I'm going to be severely fatigued for at least 9 weeks as that's how long I'll be getting the chemo that's "less" stressful on my blood counts. I'm shooting for a June start date for a new job-if I can even find one by then. Applying now and telling them I "may" be able to start in June makes me sound like a flake, and I don't want to say it's for medical reasons or personal reasons, as then they'd think I'd need off a lot. So I just feel it's safer to wait until we know how I'll react to anything that's added, and if I'll have to get shots with EVERY course of this medication, or just the first few.
Like I said when it comes to health and money, I'm not a horse you should bet on. As a person, I'm TOTALLY a person one should bet on. For approx 20 years on-and-off I volunteered at a Boy Scouts of America Service Camp at the Wisconsin State Fair-Camp Ammon, for several years I was a committee member for Boy Scout Troop 47 in Wauwatosa, WI, I've worked in the health care field for over 25 years-and to me THAT'S the ultimate in customer service. My motto is: "If it's not good enough care for my mother, it's not good enough for my patient," I volunteer for events for both scouting and health care, I'm one of those people one can call day or night and I'll be there for you, I'll cover people's shifts-even if I'd had plans, I've even let friends stay with me for a few months rent-free, I help complete strangers; case-in-point: a young girl's car had stalled in the main aisle of the car park, I was between chemo treatments (VERY fatigued, low blood counts, etc.) but I had a booster box in my car, so I helped her.
Too many bad things have happened to me to list here, but I do believe I'm due for some good!
Thank you for reading this lengthy plea,
- zachary buelow
- John McKenzie
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