Saturday, January 12, 2008

how the hell am i going to do this?

good news and bad news. they seem to be an old married couple in my life these days. always showing up together. i've got to get better at seeing trends, not single events. sometimes the balance sheet looks awfully weighted towards the bad.

it's all perspective, i realize.

so let's start with the good news. OHSU approved my application for financial assistance in their access program at payscale A, which translates to 100%. what that means is for the next 6 months (after which time i will need to reapply) my portion of the bills (excepting co-pays), after the insurance contribution, will be covered by the hospital. my insurance policy covers 90%, so that 10% left over i will now not have to pay. (this does not apply to the outstanding bills from 2007, however.)

that is absolutely cause for celebration. thank-you, universe.

now the bad news: i was hoping they would also approve me to cover the cost of my COBRA insurance payment every month. they didn't. it's a staggering $265 per month. when this whole mess started, i was carrying two policies, the COBRA one and and individual policy from ODS. as you may be aware, health care and insurance in this country is fucked up. for me to buy an individual insurance policy, i cannot have any, repeat, any pre-existing conditions. and certainly not something so prone to reoccurance as breast cancer. but honestly, i was turned down by Blue Cross for being on one anti-depressant. that's like turning someone down for eating breakfast cereal. give me a break! every other person you meet is on some kind of anti-depressant. jeesh.

the ODS policy had a crazy high deductible and wasn't very good. so after 2 months, i dropped the individual one. this was in hopes of being approved by OHSU to cover my COBRA insurance monthly payment. clearly, i am on a much longer breast cancer road than i originally anticipated. and in the long run, the ODS policy was going to cost me more. so ok, good. i got rid of $160 a month by dropping that policy. however, the COBRA policy will only be offered to me for 15 months total. after that? i now have only one choice. no insurance company will sell me a individual policy ever again, so i am put into the oregon state uninsurable pool. the cost for that policy per month will be at least $350. that's $4,200 per year! holy crap. for someone who has been living on about $20,000 a year, that is an impossible sum. no wonder cancer forces many people into bankruptcy.

you see the pressure i am under? somehow i have to beat cancer, keep myself healthy, lose 40 pounds by next december so i can have the reconstruction surgery before the policy runs out and build a thriving business (that will support that insurance policy) in the next 6 months before i am out of money. as i think about starting radiation and the strong possibility that my energy and productivity will go down during treatment, i think, how the hell am i going to do this?

i am nearly having a panic attack just writing that down.

which is, of course, shitty for healing. stress hormones coursing through my system go straight to the cells that are trying to heal and they block them.

breathe, breathe, breathe.

if you read this blog, please leave a comment. i need to know you all are still out there, pulling for me. special note to lisa of salmon poetry and maryam of my marrakesh -you two dear women are my most faithful commenters, so i know you are checking in often. thank-you for your sustaining comments. you have no idea how much they get me through the day.


venturegirl said...

Hi Tay,
I am still with you. Faithfully checking all your sites and blogs daily, and I am sure I am not the only one. I can feel that you have a strong faithful comminity around you. I know it can seem lonely sometimes - just remember we are all here with you sending positive healing energy your way! It is wonderful to hear that OHSU is stepping up - finally. Hopefully they will do more. Sending you a big hug and lots of love.

emily barletta said...

I don't know you personally but have been reading and praying for you for a long time now. I always want to write and send well wishes but the words never really find their way out in a form I'm happy with. I cannot express to you how reading your story has twanged my heart strings and allowed me to deal with some of my own feelings. I have a degenerative spinal disease and have had multiple surgeries over the years and in constant pain. Not the point and different from cancer, but still the same physical, emotional, money struggle. I'm believing for the best for you, but all I can say is it is always a hard journey. Stay strong and full of love.

Sondra said...

OK!OK! Slow down. Breathe Breathe... Some way Some how you will get through this. Your support system will be there for you. You have already flung(?) yourself into the void now believe that the cosmos is ready for you. Sending Love and Light

nimisha said...

As one of the "Triplettes de Belleville," how could I not be out in etherland reading about one of my cronys (or should I say, croonys)?

cally said...

noticed your pic in teh comments at The Diary Project and clicked, when I read your profile I had to po by just to say 'Hi' but naturally I read your post.

Blimey, you've got some serious crap to deal with, and I thought I had it bad but thankfully i don't have to battle the insane insurance thing. The UK NHS may be falling apart, but at least it is still there, just. So indeed, I am most happy to send you some moral support (the only kind I have) while I'm visiting.

If my health was better I'd pop by regularly but just now it's all I can do to put out my own blog and look at photo's on a few friends blogs. But I really hope the universe starts tipping in favour of people like us, those balance sheets need evened up a little in favour of the good people - yey, that's us! I'll be sending good thoughts over the ocean, for your health, your moral and your finances. xxx

Tay said...

oh thank-you, dear ones for the comments. so very encouraging, just the tonic i need. thanks for showing up, for following my story, for caring and reaching out.

it means more than i can say.


Jane said...

I know you have it in you. You're a stong one. Kisses.

salmonpoetry said...

oh, thank you for mentioning me in your blog. i am glad that my little comments find a use out there.
on this issue, i know it hard not to stress and plan and anxiety attack, but what i can say is that, a lot can change in a year or so. no doubt, health insurance is massively screwed up and getting worse all the time instead of better, and you are bearing the brunt of it, not being covered through an employer, preexisting condition, etc. but with mindfulness, attention, and putting it out there, you have some time and hopefully, maybe, some solution or change in situation will arise. putting it out there, as you have in this blog, and shining some awareness on this potential, as you have in your life, is the first step of finding a solution. i will keep you in my thoughts and this issue on my periphery in case something constructive passes through my filters. in the meantime, try to keep the stress down, and reassure those anxiety demons that you are doing the best you can on this issue at the moment.

Natalia said...

oh tay, what a mixed bag of news to read about. 'twanged' on my heart strings too for sure. i've always known our healthcare system is fucked, and those of us who travel the less worn path of being artists and self-employed are least protected and taken care of.
i wish so much i could help you financially, but in lieu, i offer you all the emotional, moral and practical support i can. i know it will be a hard road, but you are not traveling alone. i have absolute faith in your ability to grow your business successfully and sustain yourself and your health with your beautiful creations. you know what i have to offer, so please let me know how i can help and support you in the coming months and year.
and i think i can pretty safely say that goes for the rest of the ladies at my house too.
we send you much much love and are ready for fieldtrips whenever you desire!

Terence said...


Yes, indeed, I'm still with you. Still listening, still praying. A long story short, but I had reason to think about people I know who have personal tattoos, intended to remind oneself to root, to begin again. Of course you topped the list.

Tay said...

thank-you , my friends for checking in, for your consistent love and support.

I can't do it without you.