Friday, August 31, 2012

Off Blog for a Few Days

I am off blog for a few days due to work and ...work...been crazy in a good way :)...the most viewed posts continue to be

"When I Had No Hair"

"Sex and Cancer"

"He Jumped off the Bridge"

"Road Trip and Realizations About Life"

and many beginning posts from 2009....3 years ago...:)

I am almost finished with my e book....

It seems like most people are interested in the emotional stuff going on rather than the technical info...coping skills ....there are never enough....I continue to learn everyday...the learning and open mindedness is most important....being open to everything that is new and possibly fabulous....be back in a few days ....labor day weekend...and I am laboring :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Medical Underwriting and Prescription Drugs

This is one of the most important posts that I will ever type.  Every person when applying for health or life insurance needs to be aware of how their medical records are written.  You also need to be aware that you are not prescribed drugs like they are candy...seriously...no "just in case you need them drugs"...it could ruin your records.  This has a lot to do with your later bills....

For example...the difference between actually getting approved for health insurance or not is the difference between taking advil or vicodin for pain.  Many people will see their doctor and they will be given a prescription for this "just in case"...then it is over...your underwriting...over...you can not tell an underwriter,"I got these pills however I never took one...or I just took one!"  Does not work this way.

I do realize that when you have cancer ...this does not matter however healthy people are reading here as well...do not do this!   More later today....and by the way...always have copies of your medical records!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monday Back To Business

For the entire week I will talk about everything having to do with paying those medical bills......a lot of it is not fun and requires much work and time....a lot of time...and knowing what to say..and when to say it...and places to go for resources...and maybe not even getting them paid...ever...that happens too....

This last week I have had to delete comments from many folks wanting to advertise their businesses...even one comment on my post about sex and cancer from a porno film company...that was a riot...:)...I did not rent any movies :)...at least not today...:)

So please do not advertise your business here...write your own blog and do it there :)

However please view my own link and watch me grow my business!

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy


School of Multi Dimensional Healing Arts and Sciences

This is where I was yesterday.  I was volunteering at the desk and visiting with a gal that I see there...again...I am not here to discuss your religious preferences...I just believe that everyone has a soul...that there is a heaven...and we all go to the same place...why people have to fight over their beliefs in God...is such a waste of precious time on this earth.

This is an alternative school...there are medical practioners...folks that believe in certain energies ... mediums/physics ...the list goes on and on and on...

I sat down with a gal awhile back  who knew nothing...nothing about me...just my name..and she began to tell me things that no one else could have known..I did not speak the whole half hour...she told me my Mom's name...and my ex husband's name and that they were here today...I was in shock..She said ..."There is a man that really hurt you recently...he is far gone and you have to let him go...he is gone from your life...not coming back...ever..

She went on to tell me that I have at some point some more medical stuff coming however that I would recover and in 2/3 years I will not recognize my life in a great way....I was not sure how to feel about this one...:)..how much more medical stuff can any one person do ...lol....however if I live and do not recognize my life eventually...I guess that is fabulous.... crap....lol

...That as of the near future my life is all about work....and the patient advocate work that I would like to do and going back to my insurance roots...She said there will be a man that comes along for a little bit however I will recognize that he is not what I am looking for....she says the man after him is the person that I will spend the remainder of my life with...now that was a riot....I think for now I will just stay single :).  It is so much work...:)

Lastly she wanted me to know that my Mom and Ex Husband are always with me...especially my ex...he seems to hover over me always...nice...we should have worked harder at our relationship while he was alive...I do miss him terribly...I know he is free of illness where he is...,,,

So...what do you think of this post???   I never believed in all of this until I actually went to this school...I find it comforting to know that a few people really have these skills...and that I can sit and listen...I just hope that she is 99% correct...especially on the living part :)...happy Sunday


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making a "Home"

I will go back to negotiating medical bills shortly....Well here I am back where I have spent most of my life....where I have known people a very, very long time.  I love being around all of my old friends however ...I know someday I will go somewhere new again....I hope...stay healthy and wander some more....

I am speechless sort of this evening...culture shock I think...last time I lived in this area I owned a home by the mountains and cancer had just invaded every part of my life....at that moment everything just seemed so out of control...because it was!  That was 2008...my ex boyfriend had just moved to Dallas for personal reasons.  My ex husband had passed away...and I was in my 2nd straight year in a row with this crazy disease....which I had already done once in 2001 and once in 2003....and a year before I started blogging.

After I had to sell my home due to so many bills and me being so very ill...I moved to Los Angeles by UCLA ...After that I stayed with many friends while my kids were at college because I did not want to be sick alone...and I saved a lot of money...and a lot of my friends saved me....I have amazing friends to this day.

I also never really made a home because I always thought eventually I would end up in Dallas...not..:)..So now where do I really want to make a "home"?  Will I ever really have that "homey" feeling again?  Do I really want it?  Not sure on all of this...

So I will stay where I am for now...work very hard...and enjoy myself....after all it is not the structure that makes the home...it is who is in it :) and what we do with our time :)




Monday, August 20, 2012

He Jumped Off the Bridge

The Director of "Top Gun" jumped off a bridge today and killed himself because he found out that he had an inoperable brain tumor.  I have been thinking about him a good part of the day in various ways.  I want to share my thoughts...

1.  Part of me gets this.....however I just do not think I would have the guts.  I get this because of the potential suffering that he would have to endure ...and there have been moments although never near death that I thought that I was finished with all of this....after over 11 surgeries....many chemos..etc...I just felt finished....however...

2.  What has this man has done to his family and friends....In my battle with cancer I would like to say that it is all about me...but it is not...it is the big pendulum that swings all over the place from me...to my family..to me...etc...I am not fighting so hard all of these years for just me...that would be easy...

I am wondering if he gave family and friends closure...the chance to say good bye....saying good bye means a lot...dying a peaceful death means a lot...I am not sure how religious or spiritual you all are...I just think jumping off a bridge might bring added heartache along the way on your journey to where ever we are going when we leave here (not debating that today :) ).

3.  He may missed something very important.  I am not sure how much time that he actually had left however if he could make it to the bridge by himself...he most likely has some good time ahead....what did he miss by leaving too soon...something I imagine...many things I imagine.

I have visited with many sarcoma patients over the years near death...they were close friends of mine...I held their hands...we laughed...talked...they were peacefully surrounded by family and friends...dying violently if given a choice ...just does not fit....there is enough violence in the world.

4.  I would also like to acknowledge that he may have been quite mentally ill and lost his sanity...cancer will do that to folks ...I am sad for his family either way.

I have gone to great lengths to deal with this disease in a very sane way...and I have succeeded...it seems crazy to be so fine after 11 years.....no bridges for me....someday ( a long time from now)...just give me lots of drugs so I can sleep and have my soul just float away...




Leave Your Past Behind You....

It is very hard to leave the past when You are packing.....it is a constant reminder.  11 years of cancer reminds me of both wonderful and heart wrenching times.  I can not wait to be settled...everything put away...so I can jump right back into the future....tomorrow!

Thank Heaven.  I will off blog until Thursday.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Wish I Knew

I am still packing...and I am not sure if I should have deleted my last post...but I can't...cause it's how I feel...So at 55 myself ...and looking at all of those memories...I realize that I have had a great life most of the time....:)...

I just wish I knew that I had lots and lots of time..big time...for me big time would mean my 70's...funny right...however with rare cancers we are weird thinkers when it comes to time....

So maybe enough time to help a few thousand people as a patient advocate...or enough time to be a bit political regarding healthcare...

or just watching one or both of my kids...be in a profession that they love...in love with wonderful guys...having great lives...that would be cool :)...it's Sat night and I can't wait to be done packing .

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Even More Negotiating.. Your Medical Bills

You have read the other two blog entries...it seems like I am going backwards...I am not!  :) Ok...getting ready to call or see someone...

1.  Write a script...seriously...write a script...would you open a business without a plan???  Know what you are going to say...before you say it...you will be more calm and more in control of the conversation.

2.  Tell the truth!!  Do not lie!  Be honest about your health condition and your financial situation...If you lie and get caught later it is not a good thing....your arrangement that you worked so hard for will go out the window...if you are looking for a debt to be totally forgiven you have to discuss that as well and tell the truth!

3. Get a supervisor if you can...I hate talking to people that have no authority or have no idea what they are doing......if you feel the person that you are talking to is not able to help you ...ask for someone else..if you do not like that person...ask for someone else...

4.  You have to put the time in...these calls or meetings take a long time...make enough time...do not be in a rush...Speak in friendly but business like tone...let the person know that you know what you are doing and this is all business....no emotions here...no pity party...you are working on recovery and need help.

More tomorrow...all of this and more coming in my e book in Sept.

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy

More on Negotiating Medical Bills

Assuming you now have all of your paperwork in order.....Your bills...dates of service...if your insurance company paid...or not....there is one big decision you really have to make before you start this process...and I say this with all honesty...will you ever pay this bill no matter how much it is?  Do you have the capacity to pay at all over an extended period of time?

If you have not paid your bills in awhile...for whatever reason...and you never will...you may want to consider the bankruptcy option to give yourself a fresh start...Of course if the medical bills will never stop...than it might be best to not do this...

Good bankruptcy attorneys will see you for an hour for free...and discuss openly your options...I would always seek two opinions...and if you are nervous please take someone with you to advocate for you in seeing the attorney.

The attorney fees vary...the cheapest is not necessarily the best...nor the most expensive...have all of your questions written on your lap top or paper....go in with your own best interests in mind ...

Seek some financial advice before hand....have a budget...make sure that your living trust is done as well or will....

More on this next post...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Negotiate Your Medical bills

Whether you have insurance or not...You can negotiate your medical bills...Most people with financial issues will ignore their bills....they will let them pile up and forget about them...because it is so painful.  Please do not do this.  It will actually give you a sense of accomplishment and power knowing that you are taking care of yourself...or at least trying.

If you can not make these kind of calls ask someone to do it for you..someone pleasantly assertive and not shy at all...:).

How do you do this???   Some tips in tomorrow's post and much will be in my e book end of Sept.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Road Trip and Realizations about Life

I am sitting at the Kansas City Airport waiting to connect to Los Angeles.  I just drove from Los Angeles to Indianapolis in 2 days...yup I am crazy..with my daughter...we decided at the last minute not to stop in Dallas at all...we just drove...

In west Texas we got stuck on the road in a monster storm.  The rain was so severe that we had zero visibility in the middle of no where...my daughter turned white with fear...I laughed and she got mad that I laughed...I really could not believe the lightening storm...it was beautiful.

I told her that tonight was not the night that we were going to get hurt or die...however this night was a gift of a fabulous memory...that each time we do this crazy trip that it will be one of her most vivid memories...of us...our thing...this is our crazy idiotic thing that we do ...and this is our last time doing it because she is graduating this semester...and we will ship her car in Winter.  I am not doing this drive in Winter...I am not completely crazy :)

And I hugged her good bye again...as I have done every year...and I cried...she asked why I am crying now!!!  Because you are my daughter and I love you...and we are getting older...and I am still here to see all of this...and healthy enough to do anything that I want...and I am still working on re building my life from all of the illness (in the last 5 years of it)...I get to do it...amazing...and I will...

I will continue to have ups and downs I am sure ...that is life..but look at everything we have done so far....amazing....

Choose to have an amazing life...even when big, bad stuff happens...people walk in and out...so does money..so does your health...you can still have an amazing life :)....if you really want to.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Off Blog Until Aug 15th...

Driving my daughter 1750 miles to college!  Yay!   Please read other posts and talk with you all soon!

http://crowdfundinglive/amy

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Survivor Guilt and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I am always supposed to be talking about money however this influences money in your life as well.  Our brains are wonderful instruments.  They give us the capacity to re live moments ..both the good and the bad.  We relive these moments when want to...or do not...and our capacity to be able to control how we re live these moments really counts for our survivorship..and sometimes we just can't control how we feel or what we feel.

I remember many not so wonderful things about cancer...however I have been very fortunate for the most part to be able to put it all in a place where I have not gone crazy.  However I can remember some moments vividly...

I remember the day the epidural just did not work properly and I woke up from what I think was my 9th abdominal surgery...and I just thought...if I died right now...it would be ok...I was in that much pain..and I could not call out to the nurse....

Then there was the other surgery I woke up from and I was ok...however I started to feel around to figure out which body parts that I had left....I was looking for both kidneys!!!  They were there...and the list goes on :)...

There was also the time I had my chest port removed while I was awake in 2001...I will never forget that...it was crazy and I did not feel a thing...I just could not understand years later...why I did that!

And then there are all of the wonderful people that passed away...My daughter asked me once why I have so many friends with cancer...how do I deal with that...well I just love us...all of us.  I feel enormously grateful to be able to help anyone....the way people have helped me...with and without cancer..

More about this subject tomorrow.

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Your Capacity to Enjoy Life

Trying to enjoy your life in the middle of illness is difficult...positive attitudes are for crazy people as there needs to be a clear vision regarding how to go about your daily life and learning how to take care of yourself on every level.  It is a job...your new job..

I have found the capacity to enjoy life is always just in the moment...in that moment.  In that moment you know exactly what is going on...there are no surprises...just the joy of that moment.  It could just be when you are starring at the moon...or listening to your favorite song..or hugging your best friend..

You are not thinking about the past or the future..you are just there...that is what has really saved me all of these years.  That is where I find the strength to plan and to live.  So find your moments....even if they are few and far between...that is where your strength is...for those other moments.

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy  


Marvin ...Music Brilliance

Marvin Hamlish passed away too young in his 60's.  How many women or men listened to "The Way We Were" and/or saw the movie and did not cry for days thinking about an old boyfriend or girlfriend???  LOL!

Thank you Marvin for every piece of music (and the list is endless)  that you have ever composed.  You have shaped so many memories for so many people just listening to your music...what city did you see Chorus Line?  RIP sir!

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In Transition

Tonight I went for the chocolate cake...I admit it!  I feel good...thank heaven with all of this change going on again I feel good...if I did not I would truly go more nuts...more than I already am!

I am ready for the end of August...I will have moved...I will be working hard and my daughter will be back at college :).  We are driving to Indiana the end of the week and for me it is a crazy drive. I thought we were flying ...oh well..last minute change...why not a little drive from Los Angeles to Indiana???

We go through 8 states in three days...we stay over night ...one night in Tucson...one night in Dallas..and land in Indiana..

Dallas and Tucson are fun places...wish I was not in such a hurry :)...I have very fond memories of both of those places over the years...especially Dallas.

I hope many of you have looked at my crowd funding sight...remember a pledge of $10 buys you my first e book on patient navigation and all of my gratitude!

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy

Thanks!




My Crowd Funding Project

Please help me help others!  Every pledge receives a gift!  Please tell me what you think as well and send this  out to the world!

http://crowdfundinglive.com/amy

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Few Tips On Buying Health Insurance

I do not sell health insurance however I am licensed to do so and I am quite educated in all aspects...and the cancer stuff has  taught me everything I need to know in a good and bad way :)  So here are some short tips for you in buying health insurance...and please no advertising your business in the comments...I will delete you..

1.  Buy health insurance as if you are already sick and using it.  That is when you find out how much it really costs....

2.  Sit down with someone in person...an expert that has been doing this for years. These people will take the time to explain plans to you...how they work...and the cost particulars....where and with whom you can receive care.  Do NOT do this on the internet...it is too complicated....and most people have no understanding of what they are really doing...take the time to insure you health properly.

3.  Remember that this may be the last plan that you will ever go through underwriting for...you buy a plan and God forbid you get sick...and your underwriting status changes...this may be the only plan that you can ever get....make sure it works for you.

More on health insurance tomorrow.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Packing and Unpacking..and Unpacking

I know I am supposed to be talking more about money however today I am packing to move...which I just did about 14 months ago.  Moving for me has become pretty routine since I am now a minimilist and it is very easy however moving involves looking at all of your things over and over again.  That can be kind of hard sometimes.

When you do not move,  all of your things are tucked away in safe places and you do not have to remember.  I work very hard at remembering the things that I enjoy and people that I love ...but sometimes when they are in and out of boxes over and over again...it can be a bit stressful.   As I stated previously I believe I have one more move left before go somewhere for a very long time.....I can not wait already!

It's not the material things that I am talking about...that is the easy stuff...I am talking about the pictures, the momentos, anything that can trigger an undesired memory...even a picture of the house that I used to own...that is a tough one.   I do have memories of great joy there though.

When my Crowdfunding project comes up on Tuesday I hope all of you will contribute so that I can help folks all over the country...I am ready to wander...I would love to come speak to your group in your city. 

I would like to become the wandering Patient Navigator....maybe I will land in a place in the United States that I will just have to live in for awhile!  I am getting really good at this moving thing...Tuesday's launch is just around the corner...more about money coming...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Money and Your Relationship with It In Illness

I could type forever about this one...I never thought in a million years that I would ever have "money issues"..however I also thought that I would never have cancer on and off for 11 years.  I also never thought in 2001 that our healthcare system would be so bad...and get worse...or that most of my family and ex husband would pass away during this time...or that the moments would come when I was just so tired or sick..

Then there is just normal life...:)..good and bad decisions...etc...so where to start about money??  Here are some general tips before getting very specific...

1.  Please be organized and have all of your papers in order... where they are handy...not locked in the safety deposit box...you get sick..no one knows where the key is or there is no other signer on the box...you can keep copies in there if you like...Be reasonable and practical..Keep things handy.

2. Find someone that you really trust to help you with financial stuff..not someone you love so much :)..not your aunt or cousin that has been in the business and you feel obligated to see them...this is your money...and it can easily melt away....make sure the person is an expert at what they do.....check them out :).

3.  Have your medical directive done...long before you are really sick....

4.  Have your will or living trust done...where are your kids going...money...stuff etc??

5.  Go through your papers..how does your medical insurance really work?  Life insurance?  Annuity?  etc.

6.  Any Long term Care Insurance?  Disability?

7.  How does your employer see your illness?  What are the rules?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scans, Results, and Emotions

Next blog is about money...lol...One of the reasons I speak so personally here is that I hope to teach something to someone who will walk in my shoes someday and many will....with healthcare being what it is and we living longer ...more medical procedures done to us....it is just the way life is now..

My scan results are..two dots that we continue to watch and are unchanged...they could be dots forever...they may not even be cancer or they might...they might be the window of things to come...whatever they are...I now get the Fall season..to work...have fun ...and whatever...this is a big deal...I am going to get to a whole year with no surgeries..

The funny thing about long term disease...the emotions run high...I am not jumping up and down with joy as I should...I am happy ..however it takes awhile to sink in...

And I am recovering from so many years of stuff...that one good scan report is just a relief...more than the jump for joy thing....I will do the jump for joy thing before my next scans...:)...just in case...There is always hope...I know this...always

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Art of Gratefulness

Gratefulness is an art...I am sitting here waiting for them to call my name for my MRI...I went to the Chapel today before coming here and I prayed...I prayed for at least three more months...I have no chest ports anymore...I dance, I swim, I walk ...I have plans for my business.

I thought about how grateful I should be for everything in my life...I am...and the other side crept in as well...the side that is angry ...the side that is missing people, places and things...then it crept back out...and I was once again grateful :)

So gratefulness is an art and I need more practice...practice to believe that fabulous things will still happen...really fabulous...mind blowing fabulous things...and life will not continue to be this enormous pendulum that swings back and forth making my life a little too crazy...even for me...I hope the same for you.