I always laugh when I hear people say how money can’t buy you happiness…yes, it can! I know, I know, it can’t buy you love and friendship and all that fun stuff, but I could be PERFECTLY happy with a few million bucks in my bank account! Seriously, who wouldn’t be??? I could travel all over the world at a drop of a hat, I could take my friends out on some KILLER shopping sprees, I could live completely debt-free from my school loans, and more realistically, I would not have to stress about how I’d live for the rest of my life!
Last week I met with the transplant team to take care of my annual appointments, and one of the people I met with was my social worker (I actually have two social workers – one with the transplant team and one at the dialysis clinic). I never knew how important this person could be until now. They have helped answer many questions I’ve had dealing with my job, with insurance, with legal issues pertaining to my health, and also with financial questions. With all the emotional and physical aspects of what is happening, these are the pieces of the puzzle that many of us forget about. I know when I started this whole process, I just assumed that insurance would take care of everything and my worries would be gone. Well, for the most part, they do…if you have good insurance coverage, which thankfully, I do! However, that doesn’t fix everything… and I’ve learned to be a pretty strong advocate for myself as I figure it all out. (I’m also still learning, so feel free to correct me, add to our conversation, etc. by sharing what you know with us…esp if you know anything about Disability and work!)
As a patient with kidney failure, I was given automatic approval for Medicare (which I use in addition to my regular insurance). It’s helping me pay for my dialysis, and will help me pay for my anti-rejection meds when I have to start using them. I’ve been told, though, that three years after my surgery, all of my Medicare coverage will end. Not sure why this is the case, but it’s had me pretty nervous. Anti-rejection meds can cost thousands of dollars per month! My primary insurance can pay part, but they don’t always cover the entire amount, and it can get pretty pricey. Without that coverage, I have no idea how I would be able to pay for it all (aside from finding me a Sugar Daddy with endless pockets)! My social worker informed me that there may be some ways I could get help if that were to happen, but a lot of patients who can’t afford to pay for these drugs end up losing their new kidney and going back on dialysis, or worse. This sounds like a pretty ridiculous plan, if you ask me. Luckily, there is an act that is trying to be passed asking for this coverage to continue after surgery so we don’t get left in the dust. For the first time in my life, I actually reached out and wrote to our congressmen asking that they support this act on behalf of all transplant patients. I’m not a political person, and I’ve always had the naive belief that no matter who’s in office, I will be taken care of. Obviously, this isn’t always the case, and although I’m not planning on starting some huge movement, I will try to make a difference any little way I can. (See, my New Year’s resolution about stepping out of my comfort zone is in EFFECT!!!)
As for the job part of my money situation, I’ve already started working on my transition back into events and kicking my career back into the right direction. I’m feeling very positive about the reaction I’m getting, and am praying that things work out the way I hope they could. Just knowing that I will possibly be doing what I love again is one of the biggest points of hope that are propelling me forward in this whole mess.
On a side note, I met with my nephrologist today, and she is supposed to send her clearance (of my illness a few weeks ago) to the transplant team so that hopefully I’ll be active on the list again. THEN, hopefully, it’ll be just a matter of weeks before we can schedule the surgery! Let’s DO this! 😀
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. My uncle in NJ, who just had a car wreck, is doing OK. Very banged up, but doing ok. – We’re not ready to lose you Uncle Art…We need you around for another few decades! 🙂
2. My cousin Barbara Ann started her chemo and is feeling OK as well. – We love you Barbara! Stay strong, there’s a lot going on right now, but we’re right here with you to help you through it.
3. My mom, for surprising me with tickets to an awesome Brad Paisley concert! Yeehaw! I had an amazing time on our Mother/Daughter night…thank you. 🙂
4. My nephrologist’s eternal positivity. And yes, that is completely tongue-in-cheek. (That which doesn’t kill you…)