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Losing "it"


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I have always been a positive upbeat person. When I went to MD Anderson for the final diagnosis of my cancer--IIIB lung cancer (adenocarcinoma)I was initially stunned and disolved briefly into tears. I went back in positive mode. Although doctors and other medical staff, family and friends complimented me on my positive attitude, it was really easy: I didn't feel like I had cancer, let alone advanced stage. It took three chemos, a bad response to the third and facing the mounting medical bills to bring me to my knees. I've been on a roller coaster since learning that even if you get approved for disability, you are not eligible for medicare for 24 months AFTER the approval. About the same time, we requested and got the itemized bill for my chemo sessions, almost $27,000 for pharmcls for each not counting whatever the hospital charges for the room and nurse. We have no insurance and are not poor enough for government "entitlements." We already paid a slew of medical bills including the hospitalization that lead to the discovery of my cancer and are quickly draining our emergency fund. I should feel better now because we are beginning to see the posibility of some little financial relief but these past few weeks have left me physically spent and emotionally unable to hold on to my previous optomism. I found the buddy forum and will try to get it together and post more specifics about my cancer there.

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There are many drug companies that will provide drugs at a free or reduced cost if a patient cannot afford them. Your oncologist should have someone on staff that can help you with that or get you in to a free trial. You may also want to try the American Cancer Society and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This is hard enough without worrying about finances. Let us know how it all goes.


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Thanks for the feedback. I know I've been really worried about finances but it's more than that. I just found out yesterday that I am getting help with at least one prescription replacement program with the possibility of more and I was grateful and thrilled. But I still have a nagging fear. Dr West said some positive things like a better survival rate for chest cancers like mine and that slower, less bulky cancers like mine tend to be associated with a more favorable prognosis. My doctors also point out that because I had one large infusion in Sep with no recurrance of fluid, I am healthy and I have (had?)a positive attitude suggests a positive outcome. Still my CT scan after two infusions showed no change. The doctor was happy with "stable" but I was not. And they scheduled six more chemos after completion of the four scheduled originally. That makes ten! A fast third infusion made my recovery much longer than anticipated by the first two, and then I got a sinus issue with excruciating headaches. All seem to have combined into a real dampening of my optomism. I keep focusing now on Dr West telling me to look for trials for "advanced" NSCLC and that they are "second line" treatments with a usual requirement of a measurable disease that has progressed. I don't even want to go there. I hope I never qualify but there are no guarantees. Thanks for letting me talk this out. I realize now I never told my oncologist how disappointed I was with the "stable" result or the scheduling of 6 more chemos when I expected 2. I'll see her next week and tell her. I feel better already.



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We don't have any health insurance either now, and also aren't eligible for any assistance programs like Medicaid, because my husband's Disability check amount is over the income limit.

I see that you are in Florida though, which means that you should be eligible for the "Share of Cost" program.

They set a crazy amount for what you are supposed to pay of your medical bills per month, (like $1,200 or so), and then the State picks up the rest.

The thing is, most cancer center's just take the part the State pays, and don't charge you for your part.

(That's confusing, I'm sure!) If you could call the Medicaid office in your area, and ask them about the "Share of Cost" program, I'm sure they can help.

Take care,


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Did it again! I got so frustrated last night because I'm still learning to navigate this site and lost the first post to replies to my post and then did something wrong again and didn't get confirmation that my second one went through. Was happy this morning to learn it did. Then I started a posit this morning and somehow in "view your post" wiped that out. Here I go again! Thanks everyone for your feedback.

A special thanks to Nova. I heard about that program somewhere and then forgot about it. We certainly have paid out more than $1200 this month just paying the minimum on my bills and they keep coming in, each with its own "minimum due." My dilemna has been that we are middle class which made me think we didn't qualify for anything. That is proving to be wrong with at least one of the prescription return programs MDACC applied to for me. If anyone is in my shoes, don't leave any stone unturned. I've applied for federal disability, however, and the federal government tried to make me think I had to take early retirement and I don't want to do that yet. My chemo brain didn't click in until the eleventh hour but I was able to withdraw that application the did "for me." Also, I read in a ACS handbook about finances that you have to be careful with the Medicare programs because sometimes they don't pay well and can make you ineligible for other more beneficial programs. It's a maze but I feel so much better able to deal with it today so I'll check it out. Initially, I didn't think this website was going to work for me but I've changed my view on that!

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"jaminkw" ...I'm still learning to navigate this site and lost the first post to replies to my post and then did something wrong again and didn't get confirmation that my second one went through. Was happy this morning to learn it did. Then I started a post this morning and somehow in "view your post" wiped that out.

I normally use the Firefox browser, but on the occasions I've used Microsoft Internet Explorer I've had a similar problem. Whenever I used the "back" or "forward" button it was a tossup whether I would return to a page I'd previously typed or whether I would see a new blank (wiped out) form. The solution for me if using Internet Explorer was to right-click links and choose "Open in New Window" OR first open a new duplicate window (CTRL-N) and proceed from there.

Glad you're getting some of the financial issues sorted out. We middle-classers seem to get the short end of the stick lots of times. Aloha,


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