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Gemma61

Possible lung cancer

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Hi. I'm Gemma. I'm 48 years old. My husband, 54, is scheduled for a chest xray on Tuesday for possible lung cancer. We have no insurance and are in the process of trying to get some through the VA.

Our financial situation is not good, even without the lack of insurance issue. There is so much to think about--so much to worry about with this, but I'm trying to take it one day at a time and try to focus on the good.

I'm already learning that I will have to ask for help--lots of it in lots of different areas of life. The days of being "an island" are over.

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Hi Gemma,

Welcome to LCSC. Sorry to hear about your husband and your tough financial situation. This is a wonderful forum for support and information shared by those you have traveled similar journies. Praying for you and your husband.

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Hi, Gemma, welcome to LCSC. We have a number of members who have received good care through the VA, and I hope some of them will see your post and respond. Please keep us updated as your husband goes through the various tests and let us know what questions arise. Aloha,

Ned

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we have quite a few members who have had experience dealing with VA that have not posted so keep us posted and let us know what You need help with ! Can probably help ya with more info and definitely lots and Lots of Support!

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I sent a note to easyrider who is Dawn and she should be in contact with you very very soon as to if she can help with anything! she knows her way round the VA system pretty well and may be able to help you out!

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Gemma, as we often say, glad you found us, sorry you need to be here. Your husband hasn't completed his tests yet but the waiting is always difficult. Keep us posted on how things go. Am so glad Randy was able to link you up with Dawn. Having been dx'd with advanced lung cancer with no insurance, I know how financial worries compound the stress of the situation. Just breathe and you'll get through this.

Judy

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Thanks, Judy. I'm sorry you are in this situation too, but glad to know others are out there.

Since posting, I have found our online questionnaire for assistance in my county and find that I may qualify for energy assistance, food stamps, health care, attendant services (when needed) and breast and cervical cancer screening.

My husband is *not* happy that he has "worked all (his) life and now has to be on welfare." But, its better than being on the street.

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Gemma,

You are in the right place to ask for help. We will share our knowledge with you in any way we can. As importantly, we will be here to support you and your husband. I hope it is NOT LC--but if it is we will be here for you.

Susan

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Gemma.

Hi, glad you found us, and that Randy gave me a heads up.

I receive my treatment from the Dallas VA med. center here in Dallas, tx. All VA med centers are a bit different in their attitude towards patients, so each individual's treatment, personal and medical will be a little different. Since I have had a "complete response" (that is what they call remission for people diagnosed with ext-Small Cell lung cancer like I have) I am finding the attitudes of the clinic personnel is starting to change and not be so accommodating. However my hemetology/oncology folks are still just as nice and eager to help as always.

I know you probably have a lot of questions, so please feel free to ask me anything. If I don't know the answer, I will be glad to find out for you.

I can tell you if your Husband spent at least 180 days in the service(regardless of Branch) and has an Honorable discharge he can be treated at the VA. He will have to complete a means test (monetary evaluation), to see if he is eligible for for free or has to make co-pays.

You can get all the help you need from a Vet rep. These are the people who help with Veterans claims for compensation.

If your husband was ever in Vietnam (ie. feet on the ground in country) he automatically qualifies for compensation for lung cancer under Agent Orange exposure. A vet rep will help with the claim.

If you have more questions, please feel free to PM me here at Lungevity.

And Randy, Easyrider is Bud. My handle is Outrider, lol.

Dawn

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Thanks so much, Dawn!

Dh was in the Navy and barely qualifies as a Vietnam *era* vet but was never in the country. But we're thinking maybe asbestos benefits if he is diagnosed.

We started the process to get VA benefits and are in contact with the American Legion to kick it along. Our financial situation has changed for the worse since then, so we need to update once I get our taxes back.

I have to decide whether to go for Medicaid, which we would probably qualify for, or go VA. I would think VA would be more "permanent" but I don't know if Medicaid would get better care or not. Plus, I assume I wouldn't be able to have both.

Thanks so much for the info and advice. I'm glad to hear you have a "complete response" with small cell! That's great!!

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Gemma,

Contrary to popular belief, most of the VA med centers do provide comparable care. Here in Dallas onc. patients are seen by Onc. fellows from UT Southwestern under the supervision of the Head of the department.

The one thing that I have learned is to stay vigilant and to make sure to push for what I want, and to ask questions until they are blue in the face answering them. I also make sure that they answer all my questions. The Docs and staff in the Heme/Onc section do take the time to explain, and make sure you understand as well as the nurses who run the chemo section.

To get medicaid/medicare you have to apply for both SSI and SSDI (supplemental Social Security and SS Disability)

Apply for both at the same time. If he qualifies, he can get the SSI for the five months that you have to wait for SSDI to kick in. He would qualify for medicaid during that time. Once SSDI kicks in after the 5 month waiting period is up the medicaid/medicare goes away for 24 months. So to be honest you best bet is to go for the VA unless you want to spend the 24 month waiting period for Medicare to kick back in paying out of pocket. Or hunting financial assistance (which is out there. There should be a links page here on lungevity to take you to websites that assist with treatment and care payments).

Your hubby should not have to a long a wait to determine eligibility for SSI/SSDI as all lung cancers are automatically considered disabling. The Social Security Administration has a web site and all disabling conditions will be listed under a page under the disability section. Oh! and to receive SSI, he can not have any income or very little, but that information is also listed. Here is the web site for them.

www.ssa.gov

Hope this is of use to you.

Dawn

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Thanks so much, Dawn! i didn't realize you needed to apply for disability to get Medicaid. I had gone on a PA website and taken a quick quiz to see if we "may" qualify and health care was one thing they said we "may" qualify for along with food stamps.

Anyway, I'm looking for ways to pare down our expenses so I can stay in this house at least as long as I have dh with me. That is my goal. He really likes it here and it would break his heart to have to move.

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I believe I have it right - not all lung cancer qualifies for SSDI. All Stage IV lung cancer does, and cancer with recurrence (essentially stage IV even if other wise originally diagnosed) does. So the staging is important, though an early stage with the possibility is cure is still worth hoping for!

With another diagnosis, they will investigate your particular situation to determine if you qualify for SSDI. In general, they have to decide if your disease is likely to lead to death within one year or will prevent you from working for at least a year.

The second part is that you must not be able to work - if you are 50 something, they mean in the profession / vocation that you have been doing the past 20 years - they don't insist you stuff envelopes or be a greeter at Walmart.

Each state has different medical assistance plans (and some probably have none.) Some communities have cancer lifelines with people who know the ropes or can point you to the right people to talk to. Help may be available in many ways. I am glad you understand that asking for it is necessary. Best wishes.

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Hi Gemma,

I have recently arrived at LCSC,and have received the warmest of welcomes,I know you have come to the right place for the support and encouragement you need.When I was diagnosed,my brain went into overdrive,I imagined all sorts doom and gloom situations,however nothing close to my imaginings became a reality,in fact ,despite my diagnosis,I have gained so many improvements in my life.

My thoughts of course will be with you and your husband on Tuesday,just know you will not be there on your own,I pray that the outcome will be better than you expect.

Kind Regards,

Eric.

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"UneasyRider1"]Welcome, Gemma, glad you found us. I had surgery at the Dallas VA Medical Center in December, 2007, and still get my followup care there. I've remained cancer free for over two years now. Best wishes for you and your husband.

Thanks, Bud. Is that a recumbent bike? I've always wanted one.

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"ts"]Each state has different medical assistance plans (and some probably have none.) Some communities have cancer lifelines with people who know the ropes or can point you to the right people to talk to. Help may be available in many ways. I am glad you understand that asking for it is necessary. Best wishes.

Thank so much!

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"eric byrne"]Hi Gemma,

I have recently arrived at LCSC,and have received the warmest of welcomes,I know you have come to the right place for the support and encouragement you need.When I was diagnosed,my brain went into overdrive,I imagined all sorts doom and gloom situations,however nothing close to my imaginings became a reality,in fact ,despite my diagnosis,I have gained so many improvements in my life.

My thoughts of course will be with you and your husband on Tuesday,just know you will not be there on your own,I pray that the outcome will be better than you expect.

Kind Regards,

Eric.

Thanks Eric. That means a lot. I've been dooming and glooming big time here, and we don't even have a diagnosis yet. I've got to take care of my own mental health--I'm realizing that.

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You guys have really come through for Gemma, like I knew you would. And Gemma, as you can see, you've come to the right place!

I was "lucky" enough to be over 65 when diagnosed, so I didn't have any hassles qualifying for medical care. My only contact with the VA so far has been applying for the Agent Orange compensation, but I'm having trouble proving I was ever "boots on the ground" in the Republic of Vietnam. I was only there for a week, delivering an airplane to our sister squadron near Saigon, and for security reasons we hardly ever got anything on paper saying exactly where we were going. We flew out of a base in Thailand and spent most of our time over North Vietnam, which doesn't count for Agent Orange purposes. If I ever do get the compensation, it will mainly help my wife after I'm gone, so it's definitely worth making the effort to qualify. Also, the rules keep changing for the Navy people who were offshore near RVN but not actually "in country," so if your husband was ever anywhere close, he should apply for the benefits. The benefits are generally retroactive to the time the application was made, and periodically the VA rescreens old applications to see if additional people qualify when a rule changes.

Hope you get to stay in the house. That's a biggie! Aloha,

Ned

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