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Hmmmm....

Dawn50
Posts: 115
Joined: Sep 2011

My husband had to go for his CDL medical card yesterday. They gave it to him for six months and told him they would keep a close eye on his situation. The doctor even called his boss and talked to him about how he will need to be vigilant and if he doesn't feel he should be driving truck to pull his route.

As most of you know I don't feel my husband's oncologist has been very forthcoming with information to us. My husband learned a lot in the short time it took to complete this physical. This doctor used to be a respiratory therapist and told him straight up about why he is coughing, why he thinks it's getting worse, and that he thinks the cancer may be more advanced than he has been told - which it is because my husband told him it was stage 3B but he has been moved to stage 4 - he lied because he wants to keep his job. But like I told him any "doctor" worth his weight will be able to see beyond what he is verbally telling him.

When he got back to work his boss came out and ate lunch with him and told him that he really likes him, he's a good worker, and he will keep him on the job as long as he safely can. When he can't drive anymore they will work him in the yard loading the trucks instead of driving them. He told him he understands what it's like to go through cancer treatments because he was just treated for prostrate cancer last year, he gets that he wants to be productive and contribute as much as he can. Basically underming all the work I have done trying to convince him to go on disability and stay home where he can spend time with his kids and grandkids making memories. Grrr But I "get" it too so work he will. But they did agree when he doesn't feel like he can drive he will be honest and say so and go from there.

His boss truly is awesome and we both appreciate all that he has done and is willing to do. We'll see what six months brings in the advancement of his treatments or cancer and go from there. I just want him to be happy.

His voice is changing - getting kind of raspy. He is having pain in his sternum and has started taking pain pills to help it settle. His cough was getting so terrible but I think he has found a solution that helps ... at least for now. He has been using his nebulizer treatments and mucinex DM during the day and the pain pills and sleeping pills at night. We are both getting more sleep this past week and hope it continues! The next chemo in this series is tomorrow. We'll see what next week brings ... at least for now all is good. We are both thankful for this small reprieve as we know eventually it will get worse.

Dapsterd's picture
Dapsterd
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

Hello!....I stopped working at age 47, now 49. Stage IIIB, but now IV.

I am an engineer by schooling, but enjoy my time off like I never would have believed! I dont understand people that simply must work !! but they are out there! LOL

I am now spending much time with my wife and daughter, friends, spending time with my aging mom, was able to be with dad as he passed a couple months ago, etc...

Let him do what he likes to do, but I hope he is humble enough to step aside when he needs to.

Best wishes...Dave
Stage IV Adenocarcinom LC

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

First a question re. "trying to convince him to go on disability": If the boss is willing to provide him with a job he can do (even if it isn't driving), does he have the option to go on disability in the first place? I didn't think you could elect to do this unless you were in a situation where you couldn't do the job you were assigned. If you can go on disability by virtue of the diagnosis and treatment, with a bad long-term prognosis, I seriously shorted myself!

In any case, I was DX NSCLC 3B in April 2010, worked all through treatment (by computer from home for part of it), and then retired in September 2011, realistically probably four years earlier than I would have under ideal conditions. I was lucky enough by virtue of being a shameless cheapskate for decades to (barely) be able to afford it, since my job provides zero retirement benefits, other than my 401K, which obviously you don't want to dip into before you absolutely have to. Ever since then, I have been chilling out, going on camping trips, and doing family-related stuff like writing a family history book. If I should happen to get lucky and live another fifteen years, I'm sure I'll regret not having the extra five years of income, but for now, I'm really thinking I did the right thing.

What really made my mind up was a guy at work (a good ten years younger than me), who had kidney cancer a few years back, staged an amazing comeback, and then had a recurrence he could not beat. He worked up until about three weeks of passing on. We had a number of discussions on the subject, and his last words to me before leaving the building for the last time were, "Steve, I have one word for you: RETIRE." I took it to heart. A great guy, better than I'll ever be, and sorely missed.

This is certainly an individual choice, and I can definitely can see how you might want to keep working not only in order to contribute, but also to keep yourself in a productive frame of mind. But if he's at all in doubt as to whether he might ultimately find himself regretting that he hadn't retired sooner, I think he should give it some serious thought, especially if it comes with paid disability.

Meanwhile, I can certainly understand where he's coming from.

Dapsterd's picture
Dapsterd
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

Yes..Well Said Ex Rocker.

For a number of years I made six figures (and the stress that with that!) , now income is a small fraction of such, but the peace and serentity are priceless. As you know, the mental roller coaster between scans, and in my case some problem every few months, the time off is truly nice and work would have/is been scattered becasue of the health issues.

"Usually" Cancer of any stage is an automatic impairment for SSD financial help.

Looking back, I believe stress of work had a major part in progressing this disease, but I never reconized it at the time.

Best wishes all.
Dave

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

Dave, this is a clip off the SS Administration's site:

"The test for disability is not about whether you can or cannot perform your current or previous job. Neither is the test about whether you can or cannot find employment. The test is about whether you can do any job or work-like activity that is generally available. Work-like activity can mean working for wages, attending school, or any other work-like activity (such as volunteer work), even if you are not getting paid. In plain English, you are not eligible if you can perform any work, including sedentary (unskilled) labor."

I didn't go much further (what is there doesn't look encouraging), but it looks like cancer itself doesn't work as a qualifying condition. I was about ready to get out my pen ...

Dawn50
Posts: 115
Joined: Sep 2011

Yes, you qualify for disability for the virtue of the diagnosis of stage 3B lung cancer. The qualifier is that the treatment must take a year or more and/or the disease will end in death. Of course there may be more to it this is just what we have been able to find online. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is but I thought if you have that opportunity it should be taken.

Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that we can obtain quickly.

Sandi3322's picture
Sandi3322
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2011

Here is the information from the SSA website, with a link someone provided me with.

http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/13.00-NeoplasticDiseases-Malignant-Adult.htm#13_14

13.14 Lungs.

A. Non-small-cell carcinoma--inoperable, unresectable, recurrent, or metastatic disease to or beyond the hilar nodes.

OR

B. Small-cell (oat cell) carcinoma.

OR

C. Carcinoma of the superior sulcus (including Pancoast tumors) with multimodal antineoplastic therapy. Consider under a disability until at least 18 months from the date of diagnosis. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

13.15 Pleura or Mediastinum.

A. Malignant mesothelioma of pleura.

OR

B. Tumors of the mediastinum, as described in 1 or 2:

1. With metastases to or beyond the regional lymph nodes.

2. Persistent or recurrent following initial antineoplastic therapy.

Hope it helps!

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

... I think you still have to show inability to work as per the overall guidelines. It sounds like the o.p. might be able to do that. I'm pretty sure I couldn't. Interesting question to run by my onco the next time I see him, because whatever the case, they have to certify it.

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