Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

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IcyBlueEyes
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:21 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby IcyBlueEyes » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:12 pm

I am a avid reader of this site, and really do need to post more. I read about people on here taking trips etc. I just wonder how does one cope with the financial burden of all this. My husband who is my primary caregiver has had to stop working to care for me. We had to give up our car, our place etc, and move into my mothers tiny 1 bedroom apartment. We barely can get proper food on the plate every night for dinner, our only source of entertainment is the tv and well thank god for the internet. The little government money we do receives doesn't cover it all, and the food we have gotten at food banks, is pretty unhealthy, but it helps my husband and mom eat. I am not whining here, but just finally reaching out. Family has done what they can etc. My next CT scan is upcoming, and if there is a growth in the 2 lung mets they have found it will be back to chemo and/ or surgery. Please take a moment and read my story. Thank you in advance, this site has inspired me and been a wealth of knowledge.
http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundra ... cer/258707
July'12:Dx stage 4 CC
July'12:Surgery(sigmoid colon,appendix,uterus)
Oct-Dec'12:Chemo Folfiri &Avastin
Blood clot:portal vein daily Lovenox injections
Feb'13:Surgery VATS(rt lung wedge)&Caudate liver met
Oct'13:Surgery VATS(lower rt lobe removal)

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MamaN
Posts: 666
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:34 am

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby MamaN » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:23 pm

I was in the hospital three times. My sons appendix burst at same time. Needless to say we had mounds of bills. We had insurance but had pay deductible . We were struggling... There are program out there like copay relief and I think another is cancer cares. Maybe you can give that a try. I found them through a pamphlet at oncs office. I hope this can help you some.
Dx@45 stage t3 n1b m unknown IIIB
Resected in 8/2010 rectosigmoid
5.5 tumor with 3 /26 lymph nodes
Lymph vascular invasion
Folfox sept 2010 to feb 2011
10 tx only stopped due to low wbc

alphagam
Posts: 203
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:48 am
Facebook Username: Kathy Maine Ruess

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby alphagam » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:29 pm

Almost 4 years ago, we had great insurance, still do. Doesn't Canada have national healthcare?
Dx Feb 2010 4 cm tumor, just inside rectum
EUS stated T3 tumor
2nd opinion, need better path
Mar 2010 transanal surgery. Surgery by board certified CRS found tumor only in lining
6 exams of surg site, 3 PET, 3 scopes laterNED.
Scope in Mar2015, clean colon
Next scope/test in 3 years

Val*pal
Posts: 860
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:24 pm
Facebook Username: Valerie Barkus Kantner
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby Val*pal » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:39 pm

Have you considered using www.gofundme.com? You might be able to raise some much needed money that way.
DH dx'ed May '11, age 62
Jul '11: resection Stage IV
10/11: 6 mo Folfox
8/12:thyr canc, surg/tx
2/13: peri mets
2/13: Firi/Avas
6/13: Ok
8/13: break
10/13: Lung, peri, mets
10/13: Firi/Erb
1/14: Erb Fail; spread
5/14: Tx stopped
6/20/14: At rest

Val*pal
Posts: 860
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:24 pm
Facebook Username: Valerie Barkus Kantner
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby Val*pal » Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:42 pm

Ooops. I just visited your link and see that you are already participating in a fundraiser. I hope it is very successful.
DH dx'ed May '11, age 62
Jul '11: resection Stage IV
10/11: 6 mo Folfox
8/12:thyr canc, surg/tx
2/13: peri mets
2/13: Firi/Avas
6/13: Ok
8/13: break
10/13: Lung, peri, mets
10/13: Firi/Erb
1/14: Erb Fail; spread
5/14: Tx stopped
6/20/14: At rest

canadiandaughter
Posts: 676
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:19 am

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby canadiandaughter » Thu Jan 22, 2015 7:24 pm

I know here in Alberta everything is paid for. I would think Ontario should be the same. Only expense medically would be prescriptions possibly. Can you go to a food bank? We have FCSS here, which is family, community support services ( I think that is right) and they are really good at helping people in need find the best avenues for help. There must be something in Ontario similar.
DD to 81 year old father
dx 24/07/14 iv cc mets liver/lung
folifiri started 19/07/14
shrinkage of all mets
growth in the liver,started folfox/avastin 80% 13/01/16
reduced to 70% due to side effects 27/01/16
First scan on folfox shows shrinkage in lungs, but liver just stable
6 rounds of vectibix-fail. 3cm growth and new spots showing Waiting for panel recommendations
At peace January 8, 2017

Steph20021
Posts: 553
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:58 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby Steph20021 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:56 pm

I can relate IcyBlueEyes. The thing in Ontario is yes IV chemo is covered but oral chemo isnt and prescriptions are not. You need a private plan for that.
And just because our IV is covered, there are the other bills to pay in just survival, groceries, hospital parking, health care supplies, utilities and mortgage. If the one with cancer is the breadwinner, or was, and is no longer able to work you are screwed unless you have a plan through your work. The ontario disability is a joke, im not eligible and my partner makes $11/hr and apparently we earn too much.
The canada pension plan disability is also very little unless you have paid into it for years. I get peanuts from Cpp because im only 33 and have only been employed for 18 years.
Im thankful for OHIP dont get me wrong, but it doesnt mean we arent struggling. I may lose my home yet because i lost my job when i became incurable. We have been borrowing from my parents, and it will come out via a collateral mortgage on my death should we be able to hang on to the house.
DX 1/31/14 @ 33- SPS-T4a(invades visceral peri), N2a(6/106 LN), M1a(ovary) (Stage 4a) MSS; BRAF V600E
2/1/14-subtotal col, lost R ovary, temp ileo
3/14-9/14- folfox; sepsis
11/14-CT/PET: L ovary met, pelvic met, (?)ghost liver met(?)
12/14-folfiri -13 rds kept me stable from 3/15-6/15
8/15-HIPEC, NED
09/15- cea 0.9
05/16- recurrence in abdo wall and lymph nodes
01/17- pulmonary embolism
02/17- 1 wk radiation to abdo wall
08/16- on folfiri
01/18-folfox
11/18- Beacon trial-encorafenib & cetuximab

andy21
Posts: 376
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:07 pm
Location: N California

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby andy21 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:07 pm

Sometimes the drug companies help like for free avastin:

http://www.genentech-access.com/avastin/hcp
Caregiver: To 67 Yr father
diag. Stage IV, 5/12, liver mets
6 cycles Xelox/Avastin, Start 06/12
Stage 1 of Two Stage Resection Surgery in Dec, 12. 2nd line fails.
T Cell Trial May-Jul, 2013
Becomes a Heavenly Angel in August, 2013

canadiandaughter
Posts: 676
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:19 am

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby canadiandaughter » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:14 pm

That is awful that there is that big of a difference between provinces. Our local food bank is great, maybe it is the small town thing?? Best of luck to you both. I hope you can find something that will help in your communities. It is bad enough battling cancer without the extra worries. Is there maybe help at the cancer clinic? THe one dad goes to, they did mention financial aid if needed. Might be something to check if not already done. Is your mom able to help you so that your husband can go back to work? Sadly this is not a great time to be looking for a job with all the layoffs due to the oil price (at least out west here it is hitting hard).
DD to 81 year old father
dx 24/07/14 iv cc mets liver/lung
folifiri started 19/07/14
shrinkage of all mets
growth in the liver,started folfox/avastin 80% 13/01/16
reduced to 70% due to side effects 27/01/16
First scan on folfox shows shrinkage in lungs, but liver just stable
6 rounds of vectibix-fail. 3cm growth and new spots showing Waiting for panel recommendations
At peace January 8, 2017

Steph20021
Posts: 553
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:58 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby Steph20021 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:21 pm

Thanks andy, avastin is covered if you fit into the governments little box. Thank goodness they approved me
for it.
Economy is lousy, and now Target is leaving Canada after only 2 years so thousands will be laid off. But my partner had a Masters degree and is working retail for minimum wage. Its criminal but i know jobs arent great anywhere. Too bad I was the lawyer in my previous life. Ah well, glad to be alive!
DX 1/31/14 @ 33- SPS-T4a(invades visceral peri), N2a(6/106 LN), M1a(ovary) (Stage 4a) MSS; BRAF V600E
2/1/14-subtotal col, lost R ovary, temp ileo
3/14-9/14- folfox; sepsis
11/14-CT/PET: L ovary met, pelvic met, (?)ghost liver met(?)
12/14-folfiri -13 rds kept me stable from 3/15-6/15
8/15-HIPEC, NED
09/15- cea 0.9
05/16- recurrence in abdo wall and lymph nodes
01/17- pulmonary embolism
02/17- 1 wk radiation to abdo wall
08/16- on folfiri
01/18-folfox
11/18- Beacon trial-encorafenib & cetuximab

skypup
Posts: 2598
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:12 pm

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby skypup » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:02 am

I have cut expenses to the bone, even dropped Netflix. When I travel I stay with people or camp in my tiny teardrop trailer that can be pulled with my 4-cyl car (campgrounds are half price for disabled.) My savings has gone from decent to minuscule in these 6+ years, but at least I can make my bills if I don't eat out, so am grateful. And I have people to help if I need (hope I never do!). All that to say, I hear you! And while some have great insurance and someone to help with the bills, I suspect there are more than a few of us living on th the edge. It is really tough.

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IcyBlueEyes
Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:21 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby IcyBlueEyes » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:14 am

Extra expenses ... I have no cell phone, Ipad, tablet etc. Cannot remember the last time we went to a restaurant, no gifts at Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries etc. Certainly not splurging on anything.... last time I was in for surgery, the 15 dollars a day for a phone was not an option. I have done all the hospital resources etc. It is the day to day stuff that just is adding up. Someone asked about my mom. She is retired and we have had to overtake her 1 bedroom apartment, otherwise I do not know where we would be. As for food banks, yes here you do not get the option of any fresh fruit or vegetables, plus you have to be able to pick it up, and we gave up our car, almost 2 years ago.
July'12:Dx stage 4 CC
July'12:Surgery(sigmoid colon,appendix,uterus)
Oct-Dec'12:Chemo Folfiri &Avastin
Blood clot:portal vein daily Lovenox injections
Feb'13:Surgery VATS(rt lung wedge)&Caudate liver met
Oct'13:Surgery VATS(lower rt lobe removal)

skypup
Posts: 2598
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:12 pm

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby skypup » Fri Jan 23, 2015 1:34 am

Icy, I want to apologize if I gave the impression I was counseling you on how to give up extras. I could tell from your original post that you have already cut out everything. I was just wanting to commiserate and let you know you aren't completely alone in this. I'm so sorry.

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kirac
Posts: 255
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:34 pm

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby kirac » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:14 am

Ugh. I don't have any good advice.

It's why I stay at a job I don't like - for the insurance.
Husband (Age 36) 1/13 Dx Stage 3B rectal cancer
3/13 Chemoradiation
6/13 Tumor removed, Temp ileo, 1/15 nodes
7/13 Chemo = Oxaliplatin, Xeloda
1/14 Reversal
7/14 NED, CEA 1.8
12/14 CLEAR CT scan! NED

http://kickingasscancer.com/

Ontario Guy
Posts: 278
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:55 am

Re: Financially Strapped: How does one Cope ?

Postby Ontario Guy » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:44 am

Dear IcyBlue,

Being sick is bad enough without financial pressures. You have my deepest sympathies.

Since you mention receiving government money I may be going over things you have already tried, BUTT:

Have you contacted the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services?

http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/

or your local CCAC

http://healthcareathome.ca

When I was under pain management, CCAC nurses were at my house every day (twice a week when I was doing chemo). My case was assessed by a social worker who offered a number of programs I ended up not using. They may not be able to help directly, but they might be able to recommend programs for which you are eligible.

Talk to ServiceOntario: 1-866-532-3161

You might also contact your local MPP. It would be unlikely that he or she would intervene directly, but making contact with their staff can be very useful. Worth a phone call. Be polite but let them know what a struggle it is for you.

And by all means contact the Ministry of Health directly.

http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/

A lot of people think we have free health care in Canada. We don’t. We pay for what we get with our taxes. It doesn’t help that we have 14 different systems, one for each province and territory and one for the Feds. To my knowledge, the only province to offer pharmacare is Québec, and I could see that program disappearing with the present bunch in office. The Ontario Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, has called on Ottawa to develop a national pharmacare program, but the chances of that happening on the present watch are low to non-existent.

When her mother was sick, my partner advocated for her with various and sundry officials. She had decisions reversed several times. Government agencies are under extreme pressure these days to keep costs down, so they deny claims they shouldn’t. Be polite, be friendly, be understanding, be patient but be firm. We do have some pretty good social programs in this country but a lot of the time you have to fight for them.

Don’t give up!

Good luck,

OG


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