Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 26

Living with Cancer
the silver Prius that almost ran me off of the
road in North Katy is the same one behind me
in West Houston." My gut kept saying to call
the cops, but I kept thinking I would be embarrassed when I was told that it was nothing.
After driving to another suburb of Houston in
an attempt to lose this guy, I knew my gut instinct and fears were real, I was being followed.
Once I was able to push my "chemo-brain"
explanation out of my head and convince myself I wasn't just being dramatic, I went into a
complete panic and wondered if I was about
to be the next missing person on the news. I
drove a little crazy in an effort to lose him, and
I mentally patted myself on the back when I
thought I had been successful. I decided to
make the 30-minute drive home since I no
longer saw him. Unfortunately, when I arrived
home, his car was parked facing my house by
our neighborhood tennis courts! After absolutely LOSING MY MIND over the phone
with a friend, and taking pictures of the car's
license plate, I met my husband, Justin, and the
police at a local cafe for an incident report to be
filed. The police could not do anything unless
they actually saw him follow me, so they said
to call when I saw him again, but he did live
in my neighborhood. Terrified, I drove to my
parents' house to stay until Justin could come
get me there when he got off of work. I had
never been this shaken in my life. It was a long
and expensive night as Justin did everything
he could to protect our house in an effort to
protect me, including purchasing me a gun,
an enhanced security system, and shutters for
our windows. I spent all of March and April
2019 scared of my own shadow. I basically became a prisoner of fear in my own home and
wondered who had followed me for hours that
day and when he would be at my house again.
The terror that filled my imagination because
of this event was truly damaging and I cannot
even put it into words.
On May 2nd, I had what I call my "MD Anderson Day of Fun" which is my routine sixmonth blood work and scans, and thankfully
I got the wonderful news that my cancer was
stable. This was obviously welcomed news as it
is pretty much as good as it gets for us chronic
metastatic patients! I had just spent the last
two and a half months in fear because of the
"stalker," and because of this I was having more
frequent seizures and dramatically worsened
fatigue and cognitive function. I was pleased
to be able to hold onto this good news, and to
focus on this huge blessing. I truly felt happy

26

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2020

INSURANCE PROBLEMS

for the first time in months and felt like my
stress level was easing up slightly. I also was
hopeful that this meant that my chronic illness symptoms would feel some relief as well.
I didn't get to sit in this sense of calm for
very long. On May 3rd, the very next day, I
found out that the "stalker" who had terrorized
our lives and given me reason to arm myself
and hide in my own home, was actually an
incredibly poor excuse for a private investigator from my LTD insurance agency. I was
soaking in an Epsom salt bath after physical
therapy when the insurance agency called to
tell me that my disability was being revoked as
a result of the findings of the private investigator, including his following me, my blog, and
pictures on social media of me participating
in cancer survivor retreats. I was in complete
shock, and my heart immediately went into
tachycardia, my heart rate jumped from 67 to
145 while on the phone, and it stayed elevated
for days. This was a turning point in my life,
as it marked an enormous regression in every
chronic illness that I have. Prior to this point I
felt so close to going back to work, so close to
possibly being a foster mom, which is another
journey in itself. I was actively talking to my
doctors about plans for returning to work in
future months before this day, but this day
changed that conversation. I had to go back
on dysautonomia medication because of more
frequent fainting. I had to increase my epilepsy
medication due to more active seizures. I had to
increase my hemicrania continua medication
because of more days in agonizing pain. I had
to restart my anti-fungal medication because
the candida I contracted in my 2015 surgery,
which I had yet to fully conquer, began taking
over my body again. I was holding on to this
stress and allowing it to affect my health far
too much. Stress has a physical impact on even
the healthiest of bodies, much less an already
immuno-compromised cancer-stricken body
like mine.
One day in church in early June the youth
pastor stood up and said he strongly felt that
he was supposed to speak to someone in the
room, but he didn't know who. He proceeded to
say, "Whatever burden you're holding so tightly
on to, give it to God. Let go so that you can
breathe and heal. God is in control." God was
using him to shake me awake. I just sat down
and began crying as the weight I had been
carrying since February immediately melted
from my shoulders. It is still a daily struggle
of mine to continually pray that I rely on God

and not stress about this life-altering situation.
In August 2019, in an effort to ease stress
on my very weak body, Justin and I hired
a lawyer to appeal the insurance agency's
decision to revoke my LTD. It is so hard to
be stuck in this very weird limbo where I
never wanted to leave work in the first place,
but my body just isn't strong enough to be a
consistent employee. I want to work. I absolutely do not want to be considered or to be
called disabled, but that is exactly what I'm
fighting to be called, at least temporarily.
I was so close to getting back to work until
the insurance agency decided they know
better than all of my doctors. My internal
medicine doctor and my neurologist will
not release me back to work. My employer
will not let me work unless I'm three months
seizure free. But the insurance agency says I
can work because I drove myself to appointments during a brief window when cleared to
drive, attended young adult cancer survivor
retreats, and I stood on a stinkin' surf board
for 1 - 2 seconds for a picture?! Yes, remember how I told you that I was committed to
strengthening my core through physical

"The insurance agency
says I can work
because I drove myself
to appointments
during a brief window
when cleared to drive,
attended young adult
cancer survivor retreats,
and I stood on a stinkin'
surfboard for one or two
seconds for a picture!"


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Elephants And Tea - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 3
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 4
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 5
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Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover4
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