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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

no help for those with ovarian cancer

On Monday, I got a call back from "Patient Advocates" who were referred to me by the American Cancer Society. I was so relieved and excited, thinking, "yeah, someone who can help me and my family get through this insurance nightmare."

I was so wrong. First of all, the woman had no helpful information on Cobra or HIPPA. More importantly, she told me that they had no resources for women with Ovarian Cancer.

During our conversation about insurance she said "we do have a co-pay assistance program that may help you". So when she was finished providing me no useful or helpful information to help with insurance I asked about the program. She was so happy to promote it and described in some detail how beneficial it is because it relieves the burden of some copayments.

Then she asked "what kind of cancer do you have again?" I reply, "Ovarian Cancer." She says, "well maaaaaaam, Ovarian Cancer is not on the approved list." I was shocked and asked her to verify. She checked again and told me that my cancer is not covered under the copay assistance program. After taking a few seconds to control the fumes coming out my ears (which by the way is not good for my healing process) I said, "Do you cover lung cancer?"

Well she couldn't control her enthusiasm enough. "Of course we have programs for lung cancer, we have lots of programs for lung cancer." Now, don't get me wrong, not all people with lung cancer get lung cancer from smoking. Several years ago some people still didn't believe smoking caused lung cancer, today we know better. I would never wish lung cancer on anyone and pray that not one more person gets lung cancer.

BUT............are you kidding? So I say to her "so you're telling me that if someone smokes and is knowingly potentially giving themselves cancer, you have lots of programs to help them, but me, having Ovarian Cancer, which I didn't cause, gets no help!"

She started to try to explain and I interrupted her asking her if she had anything of value to say, she didn't say anything and I hung up on her.

Today my homecare nurse said that there is a program in California for men who have prostate cancer, and if they come here from Mexico, they get free treatment.

What the heck.

So I called the American Cancer Society again, told them the story about the Patient Advocate, and she apologized profusely and stated that Ovarian Cancer has little funding, little awareness and that there really aren't a lot of options. She gave me three programs to call.

THREE! So I am going to pray that one of the three can help us ease this financial burden and help us with this transition. I have to do chemo and the only place I can go for treatment is Seattle. I don't have a choice. My insurance won't cover Seattle.

Ovarian Cancer is just like any other cancer, it hurts, it destroys lives and requires chemo in the advanced stages. Why are we discriminating against Ovarian Cancer?

Just a thought. By the way, Paige (my homecare nurse) was awesome, so helpful. Goodbye Paige. You were a blessing to me. Thanks Barb for the help tonight.

Thank you Mandy so much for helping me navigate this mess. You are my dear sweet sister angel who is saving me. I love you.

Please God watch over and protect all my angels.

Love,
Denise

4 comments:

  1. Anything for you Denise! We love you!!!

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  2. live wire running wicked .... email; mandi_500@yahoo.com

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  3. Hi,
    My name is Lori i'm 45 and just went thru my 2nd round of Ovarian Cancer. I was 1 month and 1 day away from my 5 year survivor mark. I know what you are going thru. I have really racked up the medical bills over the years that my credit has suffered emensly! I am on disability which is nice for the small bills but I could never live on my own. There isn't enough there for rent and other bills. It's really unbelievable that there really is no help. It's very dicouraging and depressing.
    I pray that all your needs will be met. It sounds like you have a great support system with your angels! God bless our angels!
    Take care and God bless you,
    Lori

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  4. I wanted to comment and mention that The Patient Advocate Foundation's funding is entirely determined by the people who are donating. It has nothing to do with the non-profit organization and it's decision to discriminate against certain cancers. I work very closely with them and many of the other Foundations that help provide copay assistance for cancer patients. All of them have different diagnosis they support based entirely on what people are donating for. The donations they receive are for specific diagnosis, usually due to a family member or personal significance. These Foundations do all they can, but when people aren't donating for Ovarian Cancer, it's out of their hands.

    Saying that, I'm very sorry you can't find help for your cancer. I have a patient I'm trying to get assistance with for Cervical Cancer and I'm running in to the same problems. People are not donating for those cancers the same way they donate for, say Breast Cancer or Lung Cancer. It is disheartening for me because I have an aunt who had Ovarian Cancer, and though she had ample insurance coverage, what would have happened if she hadn't had that? I try to show my support for Ovarian Cancer and Cervical Cancer research and awareness as often as possible because there is a severe lack of funding for them both in the non-profit sector.

    I guess your post was written quite a while ago, so I hope that you found some help in the past months!

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