- Joined: 6/18/2009
Anyone Know Much About Social Security Disability?
Friday, May 11, 2012 12:42 AM
I know we have had the discussion here before, but it's been a long while and I'd like to revive it again if you wouldn't mind talking about it.
Anyone here been thru this process?
My cancer was Stage 3.
I haven't worked since just a short time following chemo & radiation.
I worked thru treatment, though not a lot. Following, I was unable to "do my job" as my job required, but that's beside the point. My job ended when my position was eliminated (I worked for a big co. & my boss allowed me to keep my job ... but then there was a big corporate wide setback & I was one of 2000 let go). I collected my unemployment, took a rest, sent out resumes (required) ... joked with the girls @ the unemployment office that nobody was going to hire a gal with a chemo cap on her head (waiting for my hair to grow in). With the fall season approaching, I decided I would "go back to school," and that's what I've been doing since.
I enrolled full time, 12 hours. Time consuming but I manage.
I do well, but each semester is not without challenge.
It's not easy. It's my life. When I'm in school, my family comes second.
I've had to drop classes here & there, due to health complications, fatigue, the demands of going to school, just not being able to keep up the pace.
But fortunately too, I've had Professors willing to work with me so that I can complete my coursework or semester. My grades are good. A couple Professors knocked off some responsibility from my load.
Then I was hospitalized with the DVT and Pulmonary Embolism.
That nearly ended my school career, but I dropped back to two classes.
One on campus, and one online.
Even that was tough last semester.
I'm taking a summer class.
Starts on Monday .... honestly, I'm dreading it.
This is not good for my health.
My dr. even tells me to "be careful."
So, I (finally) applied for Social Security.
I nearly have to.
One of these days I won't be able to apply, for having been out of work too long.
Then I'd really be up the creek without a paddle.
I worked just fine before the cancer fiasco.
School is ok 'cause it's at my pace.
No employer would tolerate my "not feeling good" shenanigans.
Know what I mean?
While FLMA is a step in the right direction, we cancer survivors/patients know it won't save us from being canned if an employer wanted to.
Since the DVT & PE, all previous fatigue, pain, effects of cancer treatment (shortness of breath, no lifting, etc.) have gone out the window as far as I'm concerned. The big focus now is on prevention of another DVT & PE.
I am cautioned to not sit for more than an hour at a time.
I physically cannot stand for a length of time.
And that leaves what kind of job I can do?
I still have shortness of breath & chest pain.
It's likely I still have an occasional clot.
My dr. now has lengthened my treatment to 3 years, or life, of the blood thinner.
The wait & see approach.
Chemo brain is a very real thing, altho I didn't really feel the full effect of it 'til about a year ago.
My chemo was in '09.
Now that I am switched from Tamoxifen to Exemestane, oh boy ... I really have chemo brain ... focus issues, etc. Just tonight I was writing a check .... wrote out the name and couldn't remember how to write a "G." I am serious! When it rains I don't drive. Why bother if I have to focus that hard.
So ..... my disability application was denied.
When talking with the "preparer" of my claim she said I had a good chance of being approved, having gone from cancer to vascular disease to a pulmonary embolism.
My doctor said he put the things he restricts me from on his form.
SS sent me to a Psychologist. She told me my "chemo brain" or forgetfulness is valid.
I failed that part of the exam.
The physician they sent me to saw that I have trouble with joint & muscle pain.
I failed his eye screening and now have an appt. to get my eyes checked.
I didn't know chemo increased my risk of eye trouble. I-yi-yi. Did you know this?
How frustrating this is.
I immediately filed an appeal.
I'm so reluctant to hire an attorney, because of the cut that they take.
My SS is a very modest sum.
SS says the system is set up in such a way that I do not need an attorney.
If the appeal is denied, I get one more chance in front of a judge.
I can represent myself.
I represented myself once in traffic court & got taken advantage of!
Female judge & police officer seemed to be in cohoots ... very friendly with each other.
I got a failure to yield ticket in a snow storm. I slid out in front of another car.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Blessings ~ Jackie C., age 50, South Bend, IN
IDC & ILC, 5 cm tumor, 1 + Sentinel Node/14, Stage IIIa
Right Radical Mastectomy 07-10-09
Chemo 07-28-09, Epirubicin/Cytoxan x4, Taxol x4 Radiation x 33
June 2010: left prophylactic mastectomy, ovary removal