• Supporting my husband and family

    Asked by deemc on Saturday, April 6, 2013

    Supporting my husband and family

    I am not sure what I am asking except for someone to just listen. My husband is 46 and was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer over 1 1/2 years ago. He lost his job and had to take out his retirement for us to survive. I had always been blessed to be a stay at home mom for the most part with just small odd jobs to help us out every once in awhile. Now what do I do? We can't afford for me to go back to school and I haven't enough experience to get a great paying job. We are living on credit at this point and now without insurance going to charity hospital. I am only 41 but this has aged me 30 years it seems. We have one son out on his own but 3 more still at home. What do I do? I have no idea where to even start. Thanks for reading my ramblings. :)

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Oh my gosh Deemc - what a difficult situation... I'm so sorry.

      A couple of things did jump to my mind, though...

      First - can you make an appointment with a social worker through your clinic and/or hospital? That person may be able to connect you and your family with resources - and not just financial resources - but also support for families with a parent facing a cancer diagnosis (we have Minnesota Angel here - not a religious institution - but a wonderful organization geared towards families like ours).

      Second - consider making an appointment with the financial aid office of your local community college or college or university or even technical school. You might be surprised by what resources are out there for folks going back to school - for a variety of reasons. What's the worst that could happen? Nothing... Ok - then you're exactly where you started... But what if... Is there something you would love to do?

      Third - I know there are scholarships and stuff for kids who have parents with cancer... I don't know many details, but I recently read about a scholarship for kids, and I was pretty impressed by the resources described. I suppose the social worker and the financial aid office might be able to help you look into that stuff for your kids....

      Lastly - I'm so sorry. I can tell you that I am super glad that my better half is in school and close to finishing a masters in special education. She was able to secure a position at the school and get some loans... It does my heart good to know that if something takes a turn (i hope NOT!!!) with regard to my health, my better half and child will be okay...

      Best wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear deemc,

      Hi. I'm Aliza. I'm a BC patient and Medical Librarian (retired) who offers services on this site and elsewhere, including advice (usually non medical), referrals to doctors, hospitals/institutions. agencies, etc, and research when required/requested.

      I'm sorry to hear what a difficult time this is for you and your family. I think the advice that leepenn gave you was very good.

      I can give you a few additional suggestions and that would be to check out to see if you qualify for Medicaid/Medicare (which you can do with the social worker of your treating hospital), as well as see if you qualify for food stamps, and public assistance. This is not a time to be "too proud" to accept help and with the number of children you have, your illness and an out of work husband, it may be likely. You never know, as Gilda Radnor's character used to say...;)

      Another thought for you which is free is to call CancerCare. The SocialWorkers who work there may be able to answer your questions as well, but they'll be able to be of particular support to your husband and yourself a his caregiver as that's what they do. Talking with them isn't like "regular therapy". It's geared towards the specialized needs of cancer patients and their caregivers, so they'd be great in helping you help you children deal with this as well as perhaps navigating the various systems that might be navigated. You can have appointments in person or by phone as you choose.

      If you belong to a religious community, now might be an excellent time to call upon your clergyperson to come pay a visit. Not just for comfort or to include your husband in weekly prayers for the sick, but clergypeople have inroads into the more specialized charitable frameworks within each religion. For example, within Catholicism; Catholic Charities. Judaism, The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. For Protestants, it's the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. Plus, each clergyperson, usually has a small discretionary fund within their own congregation that they keep and tend to and use when there is an emergency with a congregant. You sound as if you are having an emergency. Even if you do not belong to a particular congregation, but are a member of a certain religion, I would not let that stop me at this point from calling upon a clergyperson whom you think would be helpful (word of advice, it's probably better if you're Jewish, not to call an Orthodox Rabbi if you are eating ham at home, aside from that, go for it). Reform might be better, or if you're middle of the road, Conservative or Reconstructionist. Orthodox or Chabad are excellent if you are observant!

      My other suggestion would be to click on the purple box at the right side of the page for some additional resources to see what turns up.

      Once your husband is able to get different insurance, then many other things may be possible in terms of second opinions, etc.

      Remember to be in touch with CancerCare as that is also a way for you to take care of yourself, which is very important since so many people depend on you and for yourself just for you as well!!

      Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing and whether I can do anything else for you. You may reach me here or offsite via email.

      Warmest Wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Two excellent answers. I would also recommend that you a)find out if you and your family quilfiy for medicaid. Also you DH should apply for SSI Disability. If accepted he will receive disability payments every month, which will help with the overall budget, and will qualify for Medicare two years after SS has determine the onset of his disability. (I applied in July 11, and SS back-dated me to July 09, but could only start the clock in July 10). I used an organization Freedom Disability to help me submit the forms, they charge 25% of any back payments received or 6000, which ever is less. SS pays them directly from the amount they believe you are entitled to My application was submitted the 3rd week of July and I received a deposit to my checking account for 13 month of disability (minus payment to Freedom Disability) the next month. I am also posting a links to a websites that lists organizations (with contact info) that offer various forms of aid to cancer patients

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      I am an oncology nurse. for Louisiana, here are some resources. Best of luck, Carm RN.

      Cancer Association Of Greater New Orleans (CAGNO)
      Provides financial and other types of assistance residents with cancer.
      Medical Supplies;Medications
      Louisiana - New Orleans

      Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge
      Provides financial and other types of assistance to residents with cancer.
      Breast Prostheses;Durable Medical Equipment;Medical Foods and Nutritional Supplements;Medical Supplies;Medications;Other;Travel Expenses;Wigs-Turbans-Scarves
      Louisiana - Serves 10 parishes

      Louisiana Cancer Foundation
      Provides financial assistance, screenings and nutritional supplements to residents of with cancer.
      General;Medical Foods and Nutritional Supplements;Medications;Testing
      Louisiana - Northeast/Northeastern

      Miles Perret Cancer Services
      Provides several types of assistance to residents with cancer.
      Cosmetic and Hygiene;Durable Medical Equipment;Medical Foods and Nutritional Supplements;Medical Supplies;Other;Wigs-Turbans-Scarves
      Louisiana - Parishes of Acadia, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry,
      St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion

      over 3 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar

      First let me begin by saying you are not alone. If your husband is going to an oncology practice that is owned or affiliated with a hospital, talk to them about financial assistance. I am getting help from my local hospital. They had me apply for assistance they offer and I qualified for 100% assistance with any service provided by them or the medical practices they own. I also would have him apply for medical assistance through your local DPW office as well as food stamps. Don't feel embarrassed to do this because there are times when everyone needs a little help. You an also ask the oncologist to refer you to a social worker that can help you get financial help. Next as far as your utilities, contact them and see if they have financial plans that you can get approved for to help pay your bills. I know in PA we have low income energy programs that people can apply for as well as a program that gives a set rate to pay utilities. I hope these suggestions help. Like I said, a social worker can help you with all this. Take care.

      over 3 years ago
    • deemc's Avatar

      Thanks to all that have responded. First let me say we did have Medicaid and have now been declined. It is amazing that our children are covered but my husband and I are no longer eligible because he does receive a small disability retirement check. We receive less than $18,000 a year. Our oldest son (22) has been disabled from birth so he receives a small ssi check which has been a God send. Our 3rd son (17) is working full time and helping us out as much as he can. Our 2nd son (21) is married and on his own but has given our 4th son (15) a job with him on Saturdays so he can make a lil on the side to help. We have been helped by several friends and family that have paid our bills and given us groceries to keep us going and I do work a job on the side part time right now. I know we can't live on the generosity of others forever. I don't know what the future holds and I am holding out hope that my husband will survive many year. Right now though I need to take care of my family and keep a roof over our head. Physically my husband can not work because of the aggressive chemo for over one year. The doc is now concerned with his low platelet levels and may be ordering a bone marrow test if they don't come up soon. You have all been so wonderful and offered such great advise. I have so many notes now on what to ask and try next. Thanks to you all for the time you each took to answer.

      over 3 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      You have some good ideas here. I cannot add anything, but hope you have your husband check into Social Security Disability. I used www.binderandbinder. I pray things work out for you soon.

      over 3 years ago
    • NanaL's Avatar

      I'm also saying prayers and hope that you take a few minutes of time each day for yourself and just breathe. I really get frustrated that those of us with cancer have to fight "financial" battles too! I was recently approved for SSD and I didn't use an attorney. I will get my first check in August. I'm getting short term disability thru my pension plan in the interim. Please let us know how you are doing and I hope that church, family or friends will put on a benefit to help you over the hump!!

      over 3 years ago
    • punker1976's Avatar

      You should start with your church if you belong to one. Pastor might be able to work the community and get you a job and do some fund raisers.....the thing that sucks is the insurance but if you can get it, go for it baby. People can be amazingly generous. I am praying for help for you to get on your feet. Do you own your own home? I would do a reverse mortgage instead of credit any day.

      over 3 years ago
    • Gma's Avatar

      You don't have to pay anyone to apply for social security disability as someone below suggested. All you have to do is call the SS office and they will make an apt for you to come in and complete the application, or in my case, we did it over the phone. Good luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • ArianaV's Avatar

      Hi Dee, you can always try fundraising from friends and family on GiveForward.com, a partner of WhatNext: http://www.giveforward.com/organization/whatnext

      about 3 years ago

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