• what now?

    Asked by wabasaur on Saturday, March 9, 2013

    what now?

    My Mom (a PA resident) has just been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The cancer resides in her neck, lungs, liver and ovaries. She has yet to start chemo/radiation.
    She is broke. Government insurance (?) has been handling her rides and medical expenses. She has been unemployed for some time. She currently has a case going for social security disability. She is being evicted from her residence.
    I live on Long Island in NY. I do not want my Mom to go through this alone. I do not know what this treatment entails and what kind of care she will need. I would like her to come and stay with me here in NY. I cannot financially support her or afford to take time off to care for her. Am I responsible for her expenses if she comes here? Who should I talk to? What should I do?

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • carm's Avatar

      Your post sounds like quite a handful. I would contact the patient advocate at www.patientadvocate.org and see what advice they can give her. If she comes to stay with you, she does have the option of palliative care and that is covered 100% by medicare/medicaid. For medicines, including chemotherapies, pain and rescue meds go to www.needymeds.com. Best of luck to you and your mom, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear wabasaur,

      Hi. I'm a Medical Librarian (retired). I don't know all of the answers to all of your questions. I would in addition to the very good advice that Carm gave you, phone CancerCare (in both NY [where you live and Pa. where your Mom lives] and speak with the Oncological Social Workers in each locale Aside from counseling Cancer patients and their caregivers, they should be familiar in either state with the particulars available in each place. Social Security Disability payments will likely be higher (due to cost of living expenses) than in a small town in Pa. (unless she lives in Philadelphia in Center City).

      If you say she's on Government insurance, you must be referring to medicaid (I assume). If Mom's being evicted (usually it takes a long time to go through eviction proceedings [but she may not be up for that if she's feeling ill]) and she relocates to NY, she will likely be changing her address to be a NY State resident. As mentioned, there may be advantages to this re Disability depending on the size of the town she was residing in in Pa.

      If you belong to a particular religion, this may be a good time to call your clergyperson for advice with regard to what agencies are available from your particular faith that can help with expenses. For example, in Judaism, there is the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, For Catholics, it's Catholic Charities, etc. There are often Social Workers at these institutions as well that may be able to answer some of the above questions much better than I or any of us can.

      Do you have siblings or other family that can help? Sometimes, a treating institution can also be of help in many ways. For example, I go to Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC (I have BC). If you live alone and don't have a caretaker (family or friends), the hospital keeps a list of volunteers that will help Cancer patients get to their appointments. I think ACS also has volunteers who do this.

      Finally, at the bottom right of this page in purple you'll see a box that says "View a list of personalized resources and useful content". Click on that and see what you can get.

      My best wishes for your difficult situation,

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar


      I left this out - Social Security payments will be higher when Mom gets approved, in NY, than in a small town in Pa. (that's what I meant to say). This is what happens when you answer when you're tired...;)


      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      It would be great if she can come and live with you and you can take her to ( MSK) Memorial Sloan Kettering for treatment.

      I am sure she is very frightened right now and she needs her family to come together for her. Perhpas you can talk with a social worker at MSK and see if they can help you get started. Its most likely very hard for her to make any decisions right now.

      My heart is so warmed that you will help her. This is everything.

      You are not responsible for her expenses unless she is declared by law to be your dependent.

      Everyone is diffrent as to the care that they need because this disease is also very diffrent for everyone. Try and take this a day at a time. Because all of this can be overwhelming for both you and your Mom.

      Couple things: Get her housing and treatment situated and started. These two things are the priority. Everyhting else will fall into place.

      Until she is mutation tested..which MSK will do you cannot tell what type of treatment will be advised. For instance is she has an EGFR mutation her treatment might be Tarceva as a first line which for most people is very well tolerated. People work and carry on very well. And can live for years on this treatment.

      So one step at a time..Housing and treatment..

      Best of luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • jan_h's Avatar

      If there are social workers where your mother is getting treated, they might be able to help with some of your questions. You could also contact the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345). Maybe they can provide you with some assistance or lead you to somebody who can answer your questions. I have cancer, live alone in PA, and my treatment center is 25-30 miles away from my home, so transportation is an issue for me. The ACS has a Road to Recovery program in PA, where volunteers take cancer patients to and from treatments.

      over 3 years ago

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