CSN Login
Members Online: 13

Financial setback after cancer treatment

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I'm not sure if this is the place to get started on this topic, but you all have become my friends; and I'd rather have your support than the support of strangers.

When I was diagnosed with UPSC in March 2008, I stopped working. I am a freelance writer/editor, which for me is very intense work that requires total concentration; and I felt that I couldn't adequately perform my job with my mind elsewhere. Also, once chemo began, I couldn't get off the couch for almost two out of the three weeks between treatments. This had a terrible effect on my ability to meet deadlines, so I lost a bunch of clients. Disability was not an option because "theoretically" I should have been able to work. So...I dipped into my retirement savings and hoped for the best.

Now, I have picked up a few new clients but the money is nowhere near what I used to make. My expenses far outweigh my income, despite my now living a very spartan existence.

Today, I applied for food stamps; and I am having a hard time accepting this. How much of the life I had known has changed because of my cancer diagnosis?

I am having a pity party here, and I know that I should consider myself lucky in so many ways. Please accept my apologies.

Jill

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Good topic. I'm really sorry you are dealing with this horrible situation. This speaks to our government's philosophy about healthcare and helping people. Don't get me started on that... You are on the receiving end (or lack thereof) of it all.

I am VERY GRATEFUL that I have a husband that is employed with affordable insurance for me now that I am on disability- until I will be able to get medicare. Cancer is devastating in so many ways without the stress and anxiety of wondering how bills will be paid and how to put food on the table - all that you are dealing with now.

This shouldn't be. I wish I had more of a solution to put on the table.

Mary Ann

soromer
Posts: 130
Joined: Mar 2011

Dear Jill,

I am sorry to hear that you are in such difficult financial straits. It's not your fault that you couldn't prepare for such a difficult turn of events; few of us are ever that wealthy and protected. And I heartily agree that it is a sad testimony about the failings of this society that we don't provide a bigger and broader safety net.

I am not a lawyer or an expert of any kind about SSDI. However, I did apply myself for it shortly after my diagnosis--in part, because my employer basically fired me when my staging results came back!--and I was approved for it in three weeks.

I urge you to reconsider applying. It might not work; you might be making too much money now to fall under the "substantial gainful income" ceiling that signals inability to work--that's around $1000/month. But per your diagnosis, you might qualify.

I did, because my Stage IIIC2 Endometrial Cancer is listed under the SSA's list of qualifying medical conditions. My oncologist was willing to attest that because of treatment and recovery, I would be disabled for at least 12 months. There was a lot of paperwork involved, but in the end it did come through.

Now, there are other big catches: once you do qualify, you really can't earn much, even less than the $1000/month possible during the determination period. (Sorry I am not adept with the technical terminology; I may get some of this wrong.) As I understand it, you can earn up to about $700/month without triggering some back-to-work requirements, which are still relatively gradual--something like any 9 months of earning more than $700 will then put you into a three-year return-to-work path.

On the other hand, maybe this is a source of income you can tap that will allow you more flexibility and more resources than you have now. And, two years along, you ought to qualify for Medicaid, as I understand it, if you need another source of coverage.

As a working taxpayer, you have paid into the system; it's insurance; you do deserve to access it.

At this point, you may need expert help to make your way through the system. It's possible, perhaps, that you may be able to go back to your original date of diagnosis for the start of the disability, but that's a complex question I really can't begin to answer. In that case, you could have some reasonable amount of money coming back your way. Regardless, you could find you have more money available to you than you think now.

I don't think you're having a pity party, honestly. It is shocking and dismaying to have all of this turned upside down, too, besides dealing with cancer. I'm glad you've been able to start back up, but please go easy on yourself. Catastrophic illness is just that.

Good luck to you, whatever you pursue.

Kate

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

for both the words of comfort and for the excellent advice. You have been so generous with both.

I'm trapped in a Catch-22 situation, making too much money in "dividends" and some work to ever qualify for disability and yet far too little to pay my bills without dipping into my retirement funds. After completing all of the calculations, the only government program for which I might qualify is food stamps. Well, it's something.

Recently, I finished ghostwriting a book for an author who paid me out-of-pocket and consequently much less than I made working for corporate clients. The upside is that my name will appear on the book cover, a perk that should benefit me if the book sells well to large corporations and universities. I've also been promised a percentage of the royalties. So, if I am lucky, my financial troubles might be time limited.

In addition to sharing what I know about nutrition with women who have been newly diagnosed with uterine/endometrial cancer, I want to learn about available benefits and share that info with women in my situation. This system absolutely STINKS.

I don't know what I would do without the women here. Thank you again.

Jill

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Jill,

I agree with Kate. Over the years I've had pretty good success in helping people (including myself) apply for and be approved for Social Security Disability - I'm a social worker.

SS only considers EARNED income - not unearned (dividends). I also was approved very quickly - 2.5 weeks. I think this was due to a recurrence of UPSC. But you can check regs online. Go to SSA.gov + Adult Disability + search for "Blue Book" which will have the criteria that they consider disabilities. If a person has more than one condition - (i.e. neoplasm (cancer) plus endocrine (i.e. diabetes) - you can apply claiming a "combination of impairments".

I applied online. I'm very happy to help. Email me if you want more help with this.

Mary Ann

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I did not apply for SS Disability when I was diagnosed, not realizing that my unearned income did not count toward eligibility. That was three years ago.

Now, I am more than healthy enough to work; but the cancer diagnosis was directly responsible for my losing my client base.

After three years of doing nothing, and being currently able to work, I wonder if I am still eligible for benefits.

I am going to check out the website you mentioned.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Like you I have my own business, and it has become very profitable, with 12 PT employees that includes my 2 sons, DIL, step-daughter, & my husband (so a lot of my family look to this business for a portion of their annual income). So I didn't apply for disability the first 2 years I was in treatment, because I could still work and I wanted to.

But when I went on Doxil and got the hand/foot syndrome (around Nov. 2010) and couldn't type all day like I needed to, I made an appointment at the SS office to look into it. I was there 3 hours and when they made their determination, they dated my disability benefits back to the 1st of the year!! (I got a "retro-payment" check of over $10,000 right away!) I was able to get that even though all of 2010 I was drawing a modest salary and I was a 1/3 partner in my company and was drawing 1/3 of the profits in dividends. I disclosed all of this. And yet all SS looked at was the modest salary I was drawing, & they were comparing that to the substantially larger salary I was paying myself the prior year. You see, I brought my 2 sons into the businerss as partners (on the advice of a financial planner) on January 1, 2010, and SS could see that I had effectively given away 2/3 of my business and 2/3 of my profits to my sons. I explained that I did that because my family had stepped in to do so much of my personal work load and deserved to be compensated.

So I came away with a MUCH better determination than I could have ever hoped for, or would ever have dared to ask for. I was completely shocked! It did take 3 hours because they look at business owners with extra scruntiny, and you need to be ready with several years of financials. But don't be surprised if they go back pretty far in awarding you benefits if your cancer caused you to drop or lose clients or not work. Disability isn't much $$, but for me it's $1500/month I can count on. (As an aside, I gave the final shares of my business to my sons January 1, 2011 and no longer receive a paycheck or a dividend from the company. But my husband remains on the payroll at a modest salary that covers the cost of our health insurance.)

I suggest you make an appointment and go in and lay out your whole story for them. ((((Jill)))) When I went in for that appointment, I was pretty beatenb down froma solid year of constant chemo treatments, and 3 hours was TOO long for me to be doing anything. I was experiencing genuine physical discomfort as the hours wore on, and I actually cried a little towards the end and told her I NEVER EVER imagined myself as anything less than a productive working contributor to society. I think after that, the woman hearing my case went out of her way to build a strong file for me that documented her recommendation based on solid math. So don't go in all brave; tell them your story from the heart.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

...and I will make an appointment. Heartfelt thanks to everyone for bolstering me and giving me such terrific advice.

Linda, thank you for sharing your story. I can just imagine how you were feeling at your appointment; and I am so glad that the case worker went out of her way to help you.

In the meantime, I'm optimistic that my food stamps application will go through. The stamps are accepted at all NYC greenmarkets, in addition to supermarkets, so I will be able to purchase fresh (and local) food and keep up with my anti-cancer diet.

Love and hugs to all,

Jill

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1199
Joined: Nov 2009

With a giving heart like yours, Jill, it is hard to accept help from the outside. But like so many others have indicated here, why not get an appointment and tell your case. That assistance can help you get through the rough times until you are back on your feet.

You really don't need this stress so I hope everything turns out for you.

By the way, I went to North Mrytle Beach. Very impromtu. Was going to come home on Wednesday, but roamed around and found another place to stay. It was relaxing!

Please know I am thinking of you and hope the best for you!

Kath

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you, Kath, for your very kind words. I hope I am able to contribute something here, since I have certainly received so much support and information during my hard times.

Now, though, the only leftover issue is a financial one. I am trying to accept help, and all of you have helped me feel less guilty about that. This is all my own "stuff"--my parents, dead for years, since live inside my head.

Myrtle Beach is on my list of places to visit, and I have heard that it's gorgeous and relaxing. Good for you that you decided to extend your stay.

I hope for the best for all of us. Again, you are some of the finest women I have ever known.

Jill

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Oh, Jill.....I hope you can feel my big cyber hug!

I am so sorry that you are having such a struggle. I think Mary Ann and Linda have given you some excellent advice and lots of HOPE! You have raised an issue that impacts so many, but unfortunately, there are no easy solutions. I think by sharing the resources out there, many more will find help and hope!

When one starts the journey of cancer treatment, it is generally a year out of one’s life at a minimum. Not many people can survive on their own resources for that long. And then, because of an inability to work, a job is lost, along with insurance benefits and retirement savings. When one is ready to re-enter the work force, it is almost impossible to find a new job!

I was fortunate in that I had retired about 9 months before I was diagnosed. There was NO WAY I could have managed my job while I was in treatment. Not only was my energy zapped, but my brain was not always “firing” correctly. And unfortunately, although better, I still have difficulty multi-tasking and planning….things I did all the time without even thinking about it!

If there was a formula to calculate the true impact that cancer has on a life, we would have to find one that calculated the mental, physical, emotional and financial toll….plus increase it exponentially for all of the long lasting effects that are always with us. Not being a mathematician, I only know it is HUGE but is not really well known by the general public.

I applaud you for your bravery in addressing this struggle publicly and think so many others will learn too! This whole issue is HUGE and far reaching!

Know that I am sending positive energy to you as you walk into that office to seek financial assistance! Thinking about you!!

Love, Karen

Northwoodsgirl
Posts: 201
Joined: Oct 2009

I also have gone through my liquid assets due to loss of employment just prior to diagnosis and lengthy time of treatment and recovery. Unfortunately I am not old enough to pull out of 401k without penalty.
It is a challenge to get employment again after cancer and also the age descrimination that is prevelant in our corporate world.
I am about to accept a position as a consultant which has no benefits. My COBRA goes for another 11 months and hope to find regular FTE position by then. I am looking at lower level positions from prior to my diagnosis because quite frankly I know that mentally and physically I am not what I use to be pre cancer treatment.
I have gone through all of my stock and cash holdings. All I have left is my home (falling in value and 401k also falling in value) as so many of you have and know so well.
Looking for a break but trusting the will of God to lead me to the right opportunity. I am thankful for NED!
As far as food stamps go take all you can get. Think of all the taxes and donations you have likely given before cancer. You are learning to receive the help of others and will play it forward when you have a chance. I felt the same way about unemployment insurance benefits after being a six figure earner for many years. But now I look at it as something I have paid into and deserve to collect until I can find a job again.

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

sisters,

i agree with northwooodsgirl and others, that there is no shame attached to applying for foodstamps and ssdi. i'm a social worker, as well as is mary ann, and while i'm in private practice now, i used to work for the bureau of public assistance in l.a., and in alameda county (east bay across from san francisico), so know all the different people who had fallen on hard times and made use of food stamps. that's why they're there. actually, in my day, most of those who applied for food stamps were temporarily poor students; i'm sure with this economy and earlier, it's more the permanently poor.

it sounds like you are going to apply for ssdi benefits, to which i, too, think you are entitled. i'm very glad you thought to post your financial concerns here. also glad to hear that maybe your financial difficulties will soon be more resolved. i've been fortunate that my partner has a decent job with good benefits, that includes good health benefits for me. i also waited to apply for social security until i could earn whatever i could without my social security benefits being reduced. so that $1500 a month comes in handy, especially since my partner had been on workers comp because of an on-the-job injury. so we, too, have had to use savings to get by. i expect to be back to work in late september, but also expect a number of my clients, who have been waiting for treatment to be over, will be terminating. so i can't count on the monies i'm used to making from my practice. still, it will be good to get back to work.

in any case, i'm glad you're taking the advice of those on this board and applying for ssdi either in person, on line, by phone, how ever you decide to do so. remember, you are ENTITLED to these.

sisterhood,
maggie

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I applied for and received food stamps, which should be a big help. Initially, I received "emergency" benefits but must now wait about 30 days until my application is formally approved.

As for SSDI, I submitted the first two pages of my application and received a much more extensive application that asks for all kinds of income and medical information. I now am hesitating to fill this out and may withdraw the application entirely because a new book project is in the wings. I need to speak to the people at the SSA to find out what penalties, if any, exist if I withdraw my application now. Does anyone know whether this withdrawal will affect my chances for approval if I refile a number of months from now?

I need to be working. My brain craves the stimulation, and I remain really good at what I do. The major issue is not being able to hear well enough to attend conferences or to conduct the international interviews that comprised some of my necessary research. However, my hope is that I can transfer my skills to something not involving conference attendance or much conference call/speaker phone contact.

I am bringing this thread to the front so that women experiencing financial difficulties can read about the help available.

Jill

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

JIll, I'm not expert but this is my understanding.

I don't think there is any penalty if you don't complete the application. Benefits are based on date of application. Once you submit a completed application they will ask for documentation and then proceed to make their decision. Appeals can be made. It's pretty cut and dry I think. Calling them is probably the best bet.

Sara Zipora's picture
Sara Zipora
Posts: 227
Joined: Sep 2010

I applied last summer (2010) and was rejected from getting disability. What with Dx- Stage iv b grade III , surgery and Chemo I was sure I was a 'shoe-in', but no. I was too tired to fight. This summer I went in at 8:30am, at first they said I could have an appointment in three weeks. I became teary eyed, not like me, and said that who knew what three weeks would bring and they did have early 'walk-in' hour posted. They took me. I asked how I could possibly be rejected when I was such a sick bunny-had post surgery staging info with me. It took an hour, I received $8000 'rebate' and about $150-200 don't recall right now, increase in monthly payments. That was July it is now end of Sept and haven't seen money as yet, but Run don't walk to SS office in your area, find out their 'drop in' times, and bring along tissues for yourself (and agent)! We deserve at least this level of attention for being contributing members, after all it is our money that we put in during 'better days'.

Good luck, be incredulous and at the same humbled that you could be treated thus by your national insurance, SS. Certainly you have nothing to be embarrassed about, as I said, whatever you get is a result of the money YOU contributed to SS!

Onward Warriorettes!

Sara

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Remember the book Sisterhood Is Powerful, edited by Robin Morgan and published in the early days of the second wave of feminism? Well, sisterhood IS powerful--no matter what the reason for sisters getting together.

Thank you for empowering me. I knew I could turn to you.

Love,

Jill

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Please share the outcome, if you like. I bet there are others who would benefit from your insight. Good luck. Hope you get some help.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Yesterday, right after I got home from my doctor appt., I received a letter from the SSA stating that if I did not complete my disability application by October 4, it would be automatically rejected. Today, I plan to do some soul-searching; and I will certainly share the outcome.

I do hope that by living our lives openly on this board, we help each other face our hard times--whether solely based on health or extending to what I call "cancer fallout"--the emotional and financial toll that cancer takes and that no one apart from a fellow traveler seems to understand.

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

I understand your dilemma, Jill. I had such a difficult time acknowledging becoming a 'disabled' person. My med-onc was quite unsupportive of approving any disability beyond 3 weeks post last chemo infusion (first go-round) despite all the residual effects I was dealing (and continue to deal) with. Luckily a new PCP was understanding and willing to file all necessary paperwork which led to LT disability approval, without which I do not know how I could have managed. But still the status is hard for me to state when asked by others 'what I do.' The DI & SSDI income will help for the next few years but, not working and not contributing to retirement needs, is scary. However, I am determined to believe I have 'a long term' to be concerned about!

Thinking of you as you struggle with your decision-making.
Annie

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

I think your new picture just says it all, you look truly radiant. Truly.

You will live long and prosper. or as I prefer to say, prosper and then live long, makes things way easier.

Getting again interested and looking for opportunities to do what you love will help you to stay as vibrantly interested in life, as you are today. I will begin my painting again, you your writing.

With love and admiration, your fellow traveler,
in creativity and life. Say hello to New York City for me, would you? I really miss it, terribly.

Claudia

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Sometimes I just love you all so darn much! You get me through, truly.

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Dear Jill,
You know what makes me feel better? When I take some kick@ss action about something. Have a plan. March in full steam ahead and see problems as challenges instead of setbacks. I know you are a take charge kind of gal. I can see it in your writing. So I am betting on you coming out triumphant in this battle. You paid into the system for years. We all have. Now is the time for the system to do what it was intended to do. Provide support for you when you need it. Will be thinking of you and hoping to hear you get the best of results.

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

There are a TON more questions for those applying for disability that were/are self-employed. I could never have answered all of that scrutiny to my advantage without the help of the case worker at the SS office. She was really wonderful with me, very thorough in documenting the differences in my income before I got cancer and my income afterwards. I would never have been so bold or aggressive in my request as she was on my behalf; or have known how to calculate my 'hourly' wage so a fair before-and-after comparison could be made. At the time I applied I was still drawing a pretty nice paycheck and significant distributions from my company, but she was looking for documentation of CHANGES in income that would be long-standing. I strongly urge you to phone and make an appointment and fill out the rest of the application form with a SS staff person that will document the truth of things in a way that will most benefit you. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. (((Jill)))

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Jill,

You look like the ultimate urban sophisticate, so who cares if you need food stamps? A greater percent of our entire nation is now on food stamps than in decades. Formerly "upper-middle-class" couples, too long out of work, now need them. You paid taxes for years for all these government-run benefits, so never feel embarrassed to use them.

Though not self-employed, I too face some financial quandaries given my diagnosis last year. The college where I teach offers great benefits (hence, a generous short-term disability leave that allowed me to take 26 weeks off--while receiving full pay--during recent treatment.

But because our med benefits are so good, our salaries aren't so great.

And despite good benefits, the expenses during my treatment have really tallied up: from about $400.00 a month for supplements, to cab rides now to get up and back to work on days when I'm feeling really drained (big city, no car), to trying to assure that I eat high-quality food at all times. (That our nation makes good food so expensive is a political problem that enrages me, but that's another subject.)

In short, I barely get by from month to month. I have NOTHING left over after each bimonthly paycheck--a bit scary as I've little in savings and only a modest accrual of pension funds since I didn't secure a tenure-track job (few available in the humanities in desirable locales such as major cities) until my early fifties.

But despite the constraints, I know I'm so lucky--in this economy--even to HAVE a job, and a tenured one, at that.

Had planned to work for another six years but given my diagnosis last year--and the questions around prognosis for our rare uterine cancers--may pare back to "half-time" in two years (receiving half my salary and benefits while collecting social security).

And does anyone know what med expenses we can deduct at tax time each year? (If supplements are prescribed, can we deduct them? Cabs to and from treatment center?)

Just enjoy your few glasses of red wine each week and Grammercy Park and ABC and Lincoln Center and the Strand and Union Square Cafe and all those wonderful ethnic restaurants in Chelsea and the Village--and don't give a hoot about the food stamps!

Love,
Rosey

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

Taxes - you can deduct transportations costs, wigs, non-prescription drugs (Senakot, Colace, Gas-Ex) but I am not sure about prescribed supplements. I guess you would have to talk to the prescriber. $400 a month might raise a red flag.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

said that if I have a doctor's script I can deduct - I have RX for yoga, massage therapy, and others. If it is not a medical doctor prescribing, not sure about supplements. Mileage etc are also deductible.

Last year was only year we had enough medical expenses to deduct on taxes. Hopefully never again!!

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

Mary Ann wrote " Last year was only year we had enough medical expenses to deduct on taxes. Hopefully never again!!"

Same here and same hopes!

JoAnnDK
Posts: 276
Joined: Jun 2011

My medical doctor advised me to have acupuncture and massage therapy, but said that scripts for this would do not any good as far as insurance was concerned. But I deducted these on taxes and have not been audited — yet!

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

when the politics of our nation make it so difficult for some people to survive.

Rosey, you are in Philadelphia, correct? All of the places that you mentioned are favorites of mine. I used to live right across the street from the Strand Bookstore and spent hours and hours looking at the books. In fact, I am off to the Strand today to buy a few books. The Union Square Cafe was my special hangout when it first opened and it was still possible to get a table. These days, I am happy enough with inexpensive ethnic food and a few glasses of happy hour red wine, shared with laughing friends. If anyone wants advice on living life in the "big" city on the cheap, I am your gal!

Love,

Jill

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Yes, I live and teach college in Philly--but for many years my best friend lived in Grammercy when she was head of Foundation Relations for National Audubon. So would make frequent jaunts and stay many weekends. Do you remember "Z's"--the underground Greek restaurant on E. 15th? We used to hang out there a lot, and as we'd both been lit majors as undergrads, made many trips to The Gotham and Strand. ABC I loved in its debut years but it's grown way too expensive--was appalled by its prices two years ago--though still love its ground-floor restaurant with the long oak tables.

Am sorry you're leaving the boards--but can definitely understand why; we all need a break after a while, the need to be less obsessive about "research" and to resurface into the air of normal life, unencumbered by cancer-related concerns.

Wish I could resolve my quandaries about dairy, however (of course I know that regular dairy is dreadful for us, with its hormones and antibiotics, but keep wondering if organic dairy--grass-fed dairy, esp lowfat--is actually good for us as it's high in CLA (conjugated linolenic acid), which according to Michael Pollan, PREVENTS cancer and according to Dr Bruce West, is essential to preventing cancer. (West claims that the last thing he'd feed a cancer patient is a very lowfat diet; he cites his mother's metastasized uterine cancer, which reached her lungs (she sought tradiational treatment without TELLING him as she knew he'd object to it), yet she's still alive nine years later on West's prescribed Meditteranean diet and supplements ONLY from Standard Labs--which produce not denatured, artificial, or partial supplements, but what West calls "phytonutrients," always as they exist in nature, never as mere derivatives. He is also very insistent about the role of the thymus gland in bolstering our immune system and asks all cancer patients to take a thymus peptide supplement. It all seems ot make sense to me--and now that I'm "done" treatment (let's hope for a few years, at least), am deciding what supplements, if any, I want to keep taking for maintenance. Had noted in prior posts that your own doctor doesn't believe in supplements: interesting. Wonder if it's for similar reasons that West is skeptical of most vitamins and supplements.

Best,
Rosey

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

You have had such a good response with your alternative treatment. What kind of doctor are you working with? I did see a naturopathic doctor (not sure if that's his official title) (he might be a chiropractic doc who has extra training in supplements). He sees cancer patients for FREE and I liked him alot. He prescribed a diet which I strictly followed for about 6 months and recommended some supplements which I got (he didn't mandate them). I liked his style. I think he is the type of practitioner that has one of those quantum machines. Have you (or anyone else) heard of that type of thing?

While I believe in the natural approach, I am not brave enough to put all my eggs in that basket. I am integrating both approaches.

My continued well wishes to you. Mary Ann

carolenk's picture
carolenk
Posts: 909
Joined: Feb 2011

Dear Daisy

I am familiar with the Quatum Xeroid device if that is what you are referring to. I think it is useful as an assessment tool and it can 'imprint' remedies, too. However, the device is only as good as the person operating it. This stuff can all be explained in Michael Gerber, MD's book Vibrational Medicine.

Vibrational medicine is like Star Trek medicine. It may seem too far out for some people to grasp but conventional medicine has already taken advantage of "vibrational medicine." One example is when jaundiced babies are put under lights to help them break down bilirubin--light has a vibrational frequency--that's vibrational medicine. Certainly radiation therapy, laser and ultrasound technology qualifies. MRI technology uses a magnetic vibrational frequency as well.

I've done some training on sound/light therapy and gained an appreciation for the impact that music and color has on healing. Has you seen the book Miraculous Messages from Water by Masaru Emoto? Check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss69kfHqN1A

I apologize for going so far "off topic."

carolenk's picture
carolenk
Posts: 909
Joined: Feb 2011

I totally agree with Dr. Bruce West's philosophy about phytonutrients and whole food nutrition. I think the supplement company that Dr. West endorses is "Standard Process" rather than Standard Labs--unfortunately, their product line is only sold thru health care professionals and can't be found in health food stores. Many chiropractors carry the Standard Process nutritional supplements.

Colin Campbell (author of the China Study) did some research on high protein diets with rats and basically, concluded that a diet that was 20% "casein" (the protein in milk) was associated with liver tumors in the rats whereas a diet that was high in plant protein (gluten/soy) was not associated with liver tumors in rats. I found this info in the Aug/Sept 2011 issue of the Townsend Letter.

Now, we are not rats and wild rats are not likely to eat a diet high in dairy protein. Nevertheless, I limit my dairy intake except for butter. There is some research that showed a higher rate of cancer (depression & suicide, too) was associated with very low cholesterol levels (below 150).

Campbell thinks that a diet high in animal protein increases cancer risk overall--there may be some truth to this. Yet, I can't agree with the "no animal protein diet" (based on Weston Price's research). I try to stay on the "anti-inflammatory diet" as much as possible.

Carolen

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

So, Carolen, you're the first respondent who seems to know Bruce West's work. (Do you get his newsletter, "Health Alert"?)

Am wondering how you "limit" your dairy--do you ever eat organic yogurt or even goat or sheep cheese (which I read is pretty free of estrogen or other harmful additives)? I do, just occasionally, in small amounts and keep organic butter in my frig, which I use in small amounts on yams.

Be honest if you think I/we need to totally cut out milk products--even if they're from grass-fed, hormone-free animals.

As for cholesterol, yes, the entire American "cholesterol pananoia" is so overwrought: relatively high levels are GOOD for us, so Bruce West insists; it's the low levels that can wreak havoc with our hormones, mood, and even cancer-vulnerability, supposedly.

Just out of curiosity: are you on the East coast?

Best,
Rosey

carolenk's picture
carolenk
Posts: 909
Joined: Feb 2011

Dear Rosey

I don't drink milk or eat cheese (from cow's milk) intentionally even though I LOVE cheese. If someone sprinkled cheese on a salad and gave it to me, I would eat it as I really don't want to be such a food freak that I can't enjoy eating anymore.

There may be a good reason to cut out casein from the diet altogether. I think goat's milk/cheese is probably OK for cancer survivors. I found the following info from a goat husbandry web site:

"Structurally, the milk protein casein of the goat's milk is sufficiently different from that found in cow's milk to be easily differentiated in the lab. The casein miscelles typically exist either as much larger or much smaller aggregations than are found in bovine milk. Because of this it has been suggested that, although the quantity and distribution of amino acids in the casein fractions of the milks of the two species are similar, the sequency of assembly is almost certainly different. This difference is further substantiated by the fact that goat casein is associated with a lower mobility in an electrophoretic field. A similar difference appears to be found in the lactalbumin portion as well, with perhaps more clinical significance. The lactalbumin of bovine milk elicits an allergic response from many individuals, a serious problem, especially for young children. These individuals are often able to consume the milk of goats without suffering that reaction, an effect attributed to the dissimilarities in structure of the two proteins."
*******************************************************************************************
Although I have read Dr. West's newsletter on occasion, I am more familiar with the work/writings of Royal Lee, DDS regarding health/nutrition (I think Bruce West makes Royal Lee's info accessible for people).

During the time of the second world war, Royal Lee was targeted and threatened with arrest by the US Federal Trade Commision for selling his "endocardiograph." The alleged crime was promoting a medical device to sell nutritional products. The endo was just a microphone that recorded heart sounds on a paper (the tracing is done similar to an EKG tracing--only the configuration looks different because it is SOUND rather than ELECTRICAL activity). I have used the ACG or acoustic cardiograph (the second generation endo) to evaluate heart sounds on people. I can tell you that when people are taking man-made B vitamins, their ACG heart sound tracings look a mess. That's the best way to describe it. And when they stop taking the man-made B vitmins, the ACG tracing look more organized/cohesive.

Here's a link from the Quack Watch web site on the ACG--even though I think the device is legit, this site is really a very good description of what can be learned from the ACG. Just ignore the "trash talk" part: http://www.devicewatch.org/reports/acg.shtml

Oh, I am not on the East Coast, I am landlocked in Central Ohio. I am an ovarian cancer survivor (papillary serous, stage IIIc, grade 3) since August 2010. Haven't been in remission yet but I have been able to keep things quiet with surgery, one round of chemo and a LOT of integrative medicine (including 50Gm IV ascorbic acid aka "vitamin C" twice/week).

The ovarian cancer discussion board has wonderful, supportive survivors but that place is "too close to home" for me which is to say, I want to stop focusing on the fact that I have ovarian cancer to deal with in my life. I like coming here to share information and see what you all have to say about integrative medicine, nutrition and anything "outside the box."

Sorry for going "off topic" again...sigh.

Lois B.
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Jill,

Just want you to know that I had worked for a group of doctors. If you don't have insurance, they charge you the going rate which is significantly more than if you had insurance. Hopefully you have a great team of doctors who would be willing to negotiate with you - probably you will be dealing with the office manager. I know the doctors I worked for would give self-paying patients a discount.

Also, if you file for Social Security Disability - you might also qualify for Medicare which would significantly cut your out of pocket expenses.

Hope some of these suggestions help you.

Lois

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

Off topic is where creative thought originates. While you think you are concentrating on something else, your brain is putting things together in the background and an entirely new and interesting thought evolves. Those thoughts give us other things to consider.

Thanks for your input here.

Claudia

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network