Saturday, December 7, 2013

A banner week. Penny's cancer has returned, =( VA hospital visit & more tests..... and Happy 73rd Birthday, Mom.

Penny's cancer has returned. =(

Penny went to CTCA on Thursday and on Friday, had another Cystoscopy.

I met Penny at CTCA on Thursday to check into the hospital for yesterday's surgery (she drove ahead of me in her Town and Country with Sondra as I had to drop off paperwork at DHS). On my way home (to make my medical appointment with my Psychiatrist and to check on our son), the recently repaired minivan started over-heating. The check engine light came on also. I kept stopping, letting the van cool off, adding fluid and then driving another 5 miles... and repeating this for the entire trip (it was definitely misting out of the engine bay for most of the trip). I did a lot of praying also that I'd make it home. The engine "temp" remained at normal levels and at least the heat worked (meaning the cooling system was at least functioning).

I took the Voyager to the shop yesterday morning, and they took it immediately when they heard from me that Penny was going into Surgery at 9 am. It took the mechanic an hour and a half, but it was definitely another old hose in the rear that had a crack in it (that he didn't catch the other day). He had extra hose and antifreeze and took care of it.... gratis (what an incredible guy) and he told me to get to the hospital in one piece. So I made it there by noon to see Penny getting out of recovery.

We found out that the cancer is back........... (they found another tumor and removed it from her bladder by the ureter opening). Penny was surprisingly upbeat considering the news. We are now looking at additional chemo and now the possibility of radiation therapy over the next 3 months. We just need to hold onto her Cobra until it ends in 4 months (we are scrambling to try to get the ACA website to give us options that are looking a lot like Medicaid). Cancer Treatment Center of America is working on accepting Medicaid despite their normal policy not to accept Medicaid (we are looking for a miracle from them on this). We also applied for assistance from them (considering our situation).

Penny then kicked me out of the hospital room last night (she was feeling awful, and our daughter was with her at the room and I had to go home to take care of our son). So, on the way home, what happens? Well....... the climate control fan would not turn on. That's right, I drove home in 12 degree weather with no heat/defrost. My teeth are still chattering. So, now I have to take the van back to the shop to see if the resistor went bad or if the fan itself went south. At least it got me home.  =)

My VA experience.... continued

This past week, I went to the VA Hospital in North Chicago (a neurology consult and psychologist consult). The neurology consult resulted in their setting up an appointment for a MRI of my head (probably to see the loose screw up there) and also an audiology test (all of this is to see if there is a physical reason for my continued falling / loss of balance). The Psychologist's consult resulted in my needing to interact with her on a weekly basis for CPT counseling.

Social Security Disability

Me: As suspected, my Social Security Disability claim was denied.  I went to the Social Security office and got a copy of the medical report done by their Independent Medical Examination doctor. Even though I was only with her for 15 to 20 minutes, she claims she saw me for 45 minutes. Also, she claims I exhibited no signs of depression. It is obvious that she did not have a copy of my records based on her assessment. So now I will be filing an appeal this coming Monday.

Travis: Regarding Travis' Social Security Disability claim, he just received a letter from Social Security that he is to see.... the SAME doctor in Elgin, IL. that I saw on 11/14. I suspect that this is their "go to" doctor regarding getting assessments that give them the means to deny claims. Considering that we have provided Social Security Travis' last two IEP records from when he was in school AND Travis' "Functional Capacity Evaluation" from Mathers Clinic that medically details his limitations with testing results that are accepted by the medical community.... the fact they are sending him to their IME doctor in Elgin is showing me just how far Social Security is willing to go to not pay a claim. 90% of all claims first application are denied (and we are seeing first hand their methodology for doing so).

Penny: Regarding Penny's Social Security Disability claim, we were asked to provide recent medical information for her "Res Judicata" effort, so I am hoping this is a sign that they ARE taking into account the medical information that we provided to Social Security 2 months ago (the medical records that "The Standard" had failed to send to Social Security in 2007). I am filling that information out this weekend, and will give it back to them on Monday afternoon.
Long Term Disability

Early last month, I reached out to my former employer and asked them to forward to me the Long Term Disability carrier information for when I was still working for the company (my doctors believe that my disability stems from before I stopped working). I then went and applied for Long Term Disability with "The Principal". I sent the medical forms to my doctors to ensure they filled out said forms to expedite the process. Yesterday, I received a call from Principal indicating that they are NOT the carrier as of 10/01/2012. So, I wasted 3 weeks pursuing a claim with the wrong carrier. I've been trying to reach an HR person at my former employer for over three weeks, to no avail. Apparently, they are available if you are an employee, but are non-existent when being a former employee. Not that I am surprised at all (they are too busy serially acquiring companies and trying to enhance "shareholder value" to pay attention to a former employee that helped them save money for 4 years by keeping "IT" Capital Expenditures down to "enhance" the company's value for it's eventual takeover by private equity.  Am I upset? Very much so.......

Happy 73rd Birthday Mom. =)

My mother would have been 73 today (had she not passed away 4 years ago). We miss her terribly (she was much too young) Pancreatic Cancer is an insidious disease (as is any cancer), and we can only pray the medical community starts finding a cure and soon (so others do not have to suffer as many cancer victims have over the centuries). It is a dream we have.