That’s a sad development


Paypal email is

Update: I got a few donations but I need a couple more. Sorry to bother you with this.

On some of the tests I’ve had to take over the last few weeks … They called me in to discuss the results of one of them. They wouldn’t tell me over the phone and I’m pretty good at judging voices. My guess is it’s not going to be great news. They didn’t admit me to the hospital or anything, and they didn’t rush the appointment to discuss the results, which is about the only thin reed of hope I’m holding onto.

I had texted my supe with an update earlier this week. Right on cue, there was a threatening email in my inbox from someone I’ve never heard of telling me I’ll be fired soon, probably next week. I’m out of FMLA because of the heart attack and the subsequent complication, which had the bad timing of happening at the start of the year and that started the FMLA clock in January. Because health insurance in America is tied to your employer, losing your job for being sick, being in chemo, whatever, means losing that health insurance when you need it most. There’s an option called COBRA that can extend it after being separated from service, but it will be 700 or 800 dollars a month for me. If anyone wants to drop a few bucks in the Paypal till, have at it above.

I don’t know, this is just a guess, but if I had to make that guess, I’d say it’s going to be lymphoma or leukemia something like that. Lymphoma and leukemia are treatable, especially when caught early. But without health insurance either one would be a certain death sentence. If this really goes south I’ll probably have to beg my executive editors at Daily Kos for some kind of life saving fund raiser. A disease like that could run into thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars, in out of pocket expenses even with insurance. And I will have the distinction of having suffered a major heart and unrelated cancer in less than a year. Our employer sponsored group health insurance system in the US is just not set up for that kind of thing.





  1. magistramarla says

    I’m so sorry that you have even more bad news.
    Hang in there, my friend. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as what you are thinking.
    Please keep us all informed.

  2. Raucous Indignation says

    Stephen, why are you guessing lymphoma or leukemia? Did they tell you something that would indicate either of those disease? Some of those diseases are low grade and would be watched rather than treated. The aggressive variants absolutely need therapy. Unfortunately you are underestimating the cost of chemotherapy by at least an order of magnitude. Treatment would cost tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand dollars, depending on the regimen(s) used.

  3. leftwingfox says

    Ah shit, I’m so sorry.

    I got bit by COBRA myself when I was a US resident. “Sorry, we have to let you go. If you want to keep your healthcare, you can pay twice as much for it while your income is cut by half on unemployment.”

    I’ll try and set some aside in the coming weeks to help pitch in.

  4. says

    Yeap, both those have been discussed as possibilities to explain the results. I had a full torso ct scan, I was told that was clear so I assume there’s nothing showing in the liver or GI, which is good, I’d take lymphoma or even leukemia over liver or pancreatic cancer any day. I’ve been taking a drug called Humira for years, that drug has indeed been associated with increased incidence of lymphoma in some pax. That would be my guess.

    The employer email basically tossing me to the curb really caught me off guard man. I may get termed next week and have to go on COBRA, the heart deal earlier this year left me struggling for rent and food. I’ve had to beg a couple of times on this site for basic food and necessities already. There’s not a good time for this to happen, but fact is it happened at the worst time it could have in my adult life as far as my sad financial state. People here have done plenty, I feel bad asking for more, and if someone can’t afford to kick in a few bucks, that’s completely understandable. I don’t need much right now, just a little to tide me over, the copays and all this week alone wiped me out pretty good.

    If the shit really hits the fan, I’ll have to ask my editors at Daily Kos for a bleg there. It’s only the place I know of with the numbers to make the difference it would take to afford COBRA and the copays and deducts to get top notch treatment. I’ll know more about the diagnosis in a few days. Being a hard core blogger, the science of those kinds of diseases is fascinating. It’s not the only I’ll write about, but I’ll write about it some and I’ll probably out the employer too.

  5. keithb says

    That is really too bad darksyde. If it is any consolation, I just went through a bout of stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to the liver. Other than the 4 hour infusions, I did not miss any work (or my hair!). They have made so many strides with cancer treatments. One thing that really helped is that they gave me a port and I could get the medicine infused over several days using a clever little pressurized pump.

    Of course YMMV.

    If you need radiation, the MD Anderson guys are really great – actually everyone was really good.

  6. mostlylabrador says

    I wish you the best and hope the results are negative (for cancer, not for you). Please do everything you can to keep your health insurance, even if you have to pay COBRA, as I’ve gone through treatment for leukemia which has run up to about $750,000 in hospital bills. Thankfully I had good insurance at the time as I have no doubt I would be dead otherwise. This, unfortunately, is not hyperbole as my father’s co-workers daughter got the exact same diagnosis as me about a month later and she only lasted about 45 days on the substandard care she received because she was not insured.

    I would love to contribute financially to you were it not that I am currently unemployed. Stay strong and keep us updated.

    From a fellow Austinite.

  7. says

    I’ll definitely be an O-care pax when the time comes. I don’t ever want to have my life tied into to the corporate ghouls who run that world again. I’ll consult cheap, write free-lance, anything but get caught in that trap again.

  8. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Sorry to hear it Stephen. I’m kinda tapped out for funds right now, but I’ll keep trying to scrape something together for ya.

    I find it baffling that cheap health care for everyone is such a hard sell in America. It just seems like one of the those things that everyone should be enthusiastic about supporting. But then, I’m a dirty commie socialist Canadian, so what do I know.

  9. wilsim says

    I’m really sorry to hear about your bad news Stephen. I hope the best for you.

    When it comes to your work – Go talk to an attorney. Now. Asap.
    Depending on what the test result turns out to be your employer may currently be and have been discriminating against you because of it.

    When I was employed by a big giant bank I needed to take FMLA days periodically due to my wife’s disability. During this time I was going through my own issues with severe chronic asthma and auto-immune disorders. I eventually had to take temporary medical disability myself.
    They required that I call in sick every single day.
    They required that I get regular checkups on my condition with my doctor but then cut my insurance after 3 months.
    When almost 6 months had gone by they demanded I return to work by a certain date or be fired. My condition had not improved by that time and I was not cleared by a doctor.
    When I did return to work, against my doctors wishes, they tried to make me sign a contract that basically said I quit my job if I miss a day, arrive late, or go home early for the rest of the year (from early September).
    When I refused to sign it they told me that I was fired under exactly the same conditions.
    I wracked my health and neglected some care for my wife for the next few months as I struggled to do everything I could to make it to work for every shift.
    I left early on a Saturday in November to be present at the birth of my son, and although I had this time pre-approved through my manager I was fired the following Monday when I returned to work.

    Your situation may be much worse than mine. At the least you really should to talk to an attorney (lawyer?) and see if you have any rights or protections.

  10. Bicarbonate says

    I am disabled and unemployed and alone, but I live in France where the government covers almost all my medical 100%. In January, I’ll be going in for some major surgery and will be hospitalized for several months, I’ll only be paying 19 euros a day for that and it will be picked up by my complementary health insurance (that costs 56 euros a month).

    I just began reading you last week. I’d like to help you out too, even if it’s only symbolic. So, sending you a couple of bucks just so you know I’m rooting for you.

  11. Bicarbonate says

    Just so you know, my Paypal nym is elizopolis.

    wishing you and all the rest of America to get better soon and to get universal healthcare for all as soon as possible!!

  12. Pteryxx says

    Stephen: dude, no need to apologize for asking. Even if our country wasn’t being run into the ground by ghouls, it’s the least we social creatures can do for each other.

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