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how to cope with all this ? need help- advice/job

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2009

My story is rather long and I will try to make it concise. I was diagnosed with papilalry thyroid cancer in 2003 and had surgery, found it had metastasized to lymph nodes. During the course of surgery they also found a sarcoma cancer on the neck so had to go back to get the thing with another surgery and then RAI. I was told to just take my synthroid and get regular scans, otherwise go ahead and live my life as I would have. So, I had a baby.
My grandmother died from anaplastic thyroid cancer in 2001 and I was told it is probably just a coincidence. She was 70.
My mom was diagnosed and had surgery last year with papillary thyroid carcinoma, anaplastic thyroid and squamous cell carcinoma. She did not survive long after the surgery. I am devastated.
My husband and I are having marital problems and might not make it together. This, as sad as it is, also has a more practical problem for me- Health Insurance. So far it has covered all the treatments, and I strongly believe that they brought me back from the brink. My cancer was causing all sorts of weird symptoms, pain and breathing issues and if I had not received the best care I could afford could have left me with permanent issues.

The problem now: the symptoms are back.
My lymph nodes are swollen and I feel pain and burning sensation. A pet scan in Nov 2008 said there was no problem, but the ultrasound I just had clearly shows swollen lymph nodes in the posterior triangle of the neck and painful.

My husband has indicated that he wants a divorce. I need to find a decent job, quickly- for baby and me. I am a software developer with a masters and about 13 years of work experience. I loved the work I did, before my pregnancy forced me to quit (it was a bit of a complicated pregnancy). I would love to get in touch with anyone who is hiring in the Boston/Newyork area. I thought I had a few more months before I needed to look for a position, but the cancer might be back and I dont want to be caught with one foot from financial abyss, with a baby to care for. I am reasonably healthy otherwise and the treatments did not keep me from working the first time and they wont this time.

I know that the only thing that will keep my child well-cared for is a decent group life-insurance, because no insurer will touch me with a 10 foot pole now.
Thankyou for listening

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

This may sound a bit calculating, but I think you should wait on the divorce until your health and situation gets better. You need that health insurance, and cannot assume that the policy at any new job will cover a 'pre-existing condition' like cancer. (I am a business owner and I don't believe that you WILL be covered for your cancer treatments under a new policy, although I sure hope I'm wrong.) Your husband will just have to wait for his freedom. He owes you and your baby that much. Let him move out if he must, but don't let him divorce you and take away your health insurance. That's just my two cents. BIG HUGS!!

terato's picture
Posts: 383
Joined: Apr 2002


You need to have an honest discussion with your husband about what you and his child will face if you rush into a divorce. Very few employers are hiring anyone right now and believe me, discrimination against cancer patients still exists, even though it is now illegal to discriminate against those with chronic conditions. Prospective employers can invent any reason not to hire someone, even though their unstated reason is cancer. Even if you do get hired, if you live in an "employment at will" state, an employer can terminate your employment "at will" without stating a reason, leaving the burden of proof on you that it was because of your illness.

A bad marriage is often intolerable, but cancer without health coverage is far worse.

Love and Courage!


zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

My hubby (now ex) divorced me not long after my 3rd cancer diagnosis in 10 years. My lawyer (God bless him) held out for a clause in the divorce which made my ex keep me on his insurance for 2 years (all the law allows) and then made him purchase more insurance for me when that lapsed. AND it also stipulated that he has to pay for any medical costs I run up which are not covered by insurance.
Now, there were other circumstances in my situation which got the judge verrrrrrrry tee-oed at my ex and caused her (yes, HER...tee hee) to throw the book at him. But you might try for some of these 'fringe benefits' if your hubby tries to insist on a divorce right away. Most judges do not look favorably on men (or women) who desert their spouses when they are down.

terato's picture
Posts: 383
Joined: Apr 2002

I realized that I should have added, "Or, hire a great lawyer!"


blueroses's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Jul 2008

I am so sorry you have so much coming down on you all at once, unfortunately many of us find the same thing as cancer touches so many aspects of our lives upon diagnosis and afterwards. I too had to go through a divorce but was out of treatments by then, long after but it still affected me as I have many side effects from treatments and had to go it on my own.

I agree with what everyone here has said in one way or another but not jumping too fast into the divorce is definitely a good one especially if your husband has his insurance covering you and baby as well. Like Linda said you won't get your own health insurance after divorce on your own, because of pre existing conditions, so hang in there with the divorce til afterwards, if at all possible. Having said that I would get a good lawyer NOW though so he/she can become familiarized with your case in case your hubby wants the divorce NOW if you tell him you want to wait a bit. My husband had me on his medical but the jerk took me off it without me knowing but luckily my lawyer had checked that and found this soooooo the lawyer said that he could get my husband to give me a lump sum plus a separation figure to cover what I would lose medically. It would cover my living expenses and medical bills. Not sure if you could do that with only a separation agreement or not, that's why getting a good lawyer NOW would help to guide you in how best to cover yourself before it's too late and your husband files for divorce. I would separate, as I did actually, but with very binding financial and health considerations so you had living expenses from your husband, child support, and what you need to cover your health expenses (hard to estimate but you might have to come up with a figure).

As far as your job is concerned, seeing you develop software could you work from home? Freelance kind of thing? I don't know much about the field but at least this would allow you to work from home if you have to but the best thing, if you could is try to focus on your health FIRST and care of you baby and leave this part but I know that sometimes a person can't do one thing at a time, I have been there myself so I understand.

As far as your mother having the same cancer as you, try not and fall into the 'probably me too' idea - all cancers like all people are very individual, yes some are hereditary but the outcomes can be quite different even in hereditary cancers. My grandmother had the same cancer I did but the times were different and the treatments now are so much better. I have lived 20 years after my diagnosis and she only lived a few months, she died many years back. I know that your mother just passed from it but try and remember that no two cancers, even the same kind, can be different in two different people.

I hope things start to clear for you and I really believe that if you can get a good lawyer to fill in on what is going on right now, even though you probably should not file for divorce for as long as possible so that health care continues for you and your child, your lawyer can start on a strategy for compensation to you for your child and cover your health expenses etc. in case your husband files for divorce soon. It's up to you if you want to tell your husband you are getting a lawyer now, I wouldn't personally but that's just me, but what that would do by taking a step to protect yourself in all of this is twofold. First like I said before it would get the lawyer started on protecting you and your child financially and secondly it would give you peace of mind that you have that end of things covered so you can focus on other things, like your health, checking one thing off your list as being 'on a roll'.

I will keep you in my prayers. Blessings, Blueroses

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