Where do I go from here

It’s an interesting question contingent upon several prepositions.

See, I have a problem and the fact that it is a good problem (all things considered), makes it no less daunting. It would appear that I am going to live. Appear being the supposition here, as one can never be too sure. However, if the current trend continues, well, than I have at least a rather immediate future.

This is not something I planned on.

Nope. Stability is a concept I am only beginning to embrace. However, keep in mind, it remains a contingent, suppositional stability. Which is about the same degree of stability that one would experience sleeping in a tree.

Here are the basic facts. I am fifty-eight, almost fifty-nine years old. I am currently in fabulous physical shape but remain in treatment for advanced–aka terminal–lung cancer. That treatment has proved remarkably effective and although my cancer is not gone (70% response) it is gone enough. Better yet, I’ve had a sustained response to my current therapy–four years, three months and counting. The rub? At the moment, this is the end of the road for me–treatment-wise. When (do I dare say if?) this one fails, there is no other. Been there, done that as each time I’ve started a new treatment it has been with the understanding that there were not yet any others. Medical science has thus far managed to keep apace with my cancer but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t weigh on me–life with limited options.

So, there’s that. Cancer. And then there are the side effects of treatment. In my own case, the most debilitating have been the cognitive issues. When it comes to short term memory, I’ve got shit for brains. My own children were skeptical of the severity of my issue. That is, until my son August tried to teach me something. It took his repeating directions countless times and finally writing it down as well before I caught on. This concerned him enough he shared his experience with his younger brother and now I think they both have a little better understanding of what I face.

And although I am not nearly as anxious as I once was (perhaps an inadvertent blessing that goes with loss of short term memory), I am incredibly worried about finances.

I may be one of the few people with terminal lung cancer who does not qualify for disability. This is due to the number of years that had elapsed (stay at home mom) between my last paycheck and diagnosis. Alimony is my income; in an amount insufficient to actually get by and so each month my credit card bill steadily grows. And those checks stop arriving fifteen months and three weeks from yesterday.

I have started reading the classifieds looking for gainful employment. Unfortunately, my own work history is heavy on waitressing, with some other odd jobs mixed in. And although my work in advocacy should qualify me for something better, I am terrified that my short term memory issues are going to make any job difficult to maintain.

Take a deep breath. These are good problems to have.

I

can

do

this.

9 responses to “Where do I go from here

  1. I want to say, wonderful news, but I hear your worries. If you can get through the crazy maze of terminal lung cancer, I think you have the luck of the Irish and will figure out the finances. I am hoping that I can gingerly make my through, but no f***ing guarantees, that’s enough to short circuit the brain, let alone all the chemicals we pump in our bodies.
    Curious, what is your latest treatment?
    Lots of love to you… love your writer’s voice❤️

    • Thank you Nancy. I am on lorlatinib now, a third gen ALK inhibitor yet in trial but rumored to get FDA approval soon.

      xo Linnea

  2. Yes you can Linnea!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Linnea,

    Although SSD doesn’t seem available is there any possibility for SSI? SS retirement and SS disability do seem to have work history requirements, but “SSI” doesn’t have the same rules. That question occurred to me when I visited an otherwise-useless web page with this last sentence: “… ex-spouse could qualify for SSI benefits on her own if she had limited income and resources and was age 65, blind or disabled.”
    https://info.legalzoom.com/can-divorced-spouse-collect-disability-benefits-social-security-income-20224.html

    More info might be on this page but I don’t understand it:
    https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssi/qualify-for-ssi
    On that page I note especially these sentences: “If you are looking to file an SSI claim, you should strongly consider consulting a Social Security Attorney. Over 60% of initial SSI claims are denied.”

    Best hopes,

    Craig in PA

  4. Craing, I read those pages too (but thanks for the link) and it pissed me off that an ex-spouse who doesn’t have cancer could collect but I cannot. It is not an equitable system and I am one of those folks who have fallen through the cracks.

    xo Linnea

  5. Yes, it seems so unfair I don’t understand, especially since
    https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssi/qualify-for-ssi
    said “… when an individual is unable to obtain SSDI benefits due to a lack of work credits … SSI benefits may be the answer.”
    1. It requires a disability per their “blue book”, so that’s probably a rubber-stamp pass.
    2. The hard part is having less than $2k in assets (not counting a home or cheap old car) and very little income. This article
    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/income-asset-limits-ssi-disability-eligibility.html describes those. $750/mo is the income limit (although depending on type of income as much as $1500/mo might still qualify).
    Maybe there’s a SSI Disability lawyer who could help you find a way?

    Best hopes,

    Craig in PA

  6. Funny, I could make a minor tweak about the children and waitressing and post this as my own current blog. We are in the same boat at the moment. Keep paddling. We’ll find land soon. Love you ❤

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