Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 27

INSURANCE PROBLEMS

Living with Cancer

"You told me that, if I had been in a wheelchair with
oxygen when you followed me home that day, you
would still be paying my disability. You basically told
me if I had wallowed in my chronic illness, that I'd
still have my paycheck and medical insurance."

therapy as needed to treat my dysautonomia?
Through yoga, which I practiced for years
before getting sick, and therapy, I became
able to stand on a surfboard for just seconds!
Like all of us on social media, I took the best,
not necessarily real-life, photo snapshot I
had and made it my Facebook profile pic.
It was just too incredible to get a picture on
a surf board with the sun behind me as if I
was my own postcard! I had no idea this
image, which brings me back to a place of
peace when looking at it, would be used in
such a nasty way to incorrectly judge my
life. It felt like being punished for seizing
the truly rare moments in life that were out
of a doctor's office and out of bed.
I would have to say that out of everything
that has happened with the insurance agency
judgments during the process, the absolute
most infuriating thing is that they canceled
my disability based on me participating in
young adult cancer survivor retreats. The
LTD agency deemed our activities as "extreme sports" which is absolutely insane
and inappropriate considering these trips
are tailored to every single physical limitation of every cancer survivor. Young adult
cancer survivors finally have an outlet to
find community and our version of normal,

we finally have an outlet to experience "normal" by doing "normal people activities" like
surfing, mountain biking, and hiking, that
great organizations like True North Treks and
Send It Foundation make doable for our community to find emotional healing through
outdoor activities, not "extreme sports." The
fact that the very thing that was bringing me
healing was being used against me to turn
my life upside down is disheartening, and I
want nothing more than to educate insurance agencies covering young adult cancer
survivors. I also want to bring awareness to
other young adult survivors on disability, so
they know that anything they post online can
and will be used against them.
In closing, here is what I'd like to say to
every disability insurance agency making
uneducated decisions on coverage for young
adult patients:
Yes, I stood on a surfboard for a couple of
seconds because an instructor did all of the
hard work for me-the paddling, the carrying
of the board, pushing out into a wave-and I
stood up. I was proud of standing up on that
board that day, even though the wave took me
under quickly. I was proud of my hard work,
and how far I've come to be able to stand, even
for a moment. You know who else stands on

their surfboards during these trips? People
with terminal cancer and not much time to
live. People in wheelchairs. People with breaks
in the legs from their cancer. These trips give
us the courage to get out of our comfort zone
and feel liberated, and to overlook the pain
even if for only a split second and thrive! At
first I let you take that sense of accomplishment away from me. You told me if when you
followed me that if I had been in a wheelchair
with oxygen, you would still be paying my disability. You told me it would have been easier
to overlook the fact that you saw a picture of
me standing on a surfboard if I hadn't been
out of the house at all when you followed me
for two weeks. You basically told me if I had
wallowed in my chronic illness, that I'd still
have my paycheck and medical insurance. For
a few months I regretted pushing myself so
hard to get better. I regretted attending those
retreats that helped me feel human again, and
I regretted being proud and wanting to share
those accomplishments, but I will not let you
win. I may have very little voice when it comes
to my actual disability case, but I will not let
you take my drive to improve away from me.
I will not let you take my celebration of accomplishments away from me.
I will continue to fight to educate you on
the life of young adult cancer survivors. We
are unique. We have a lasting physical, mental, and emotional impact from cancer that is
different from the older adult cancer survivors you're used to seeing. We are rejuvenated
by coming together to openly discuss things
none of our friends outside of the cancer
world understand because most people our
age are healthy, moving up in their careers,
and building families. Our spirits are fed by
bonding over challenging ourselves alongside
each other to do activities we didn't think
possible. The fact that we are able to push
ourselves on these short trips to do incredible
things does not mean our lasting disabilities
do not exist. Often, it takes us weeks or even
months to physically recover from these trips,
but they are worth it. You cannot just turn
your back and ignore the reality of what it
is to be a young adult cancer survivor facing
lifelong chronic illnesses.
I will continue to fight so that you stop
and think before you take away another
young adult cancer survivor's paycheck and
medical insurance simply because they are
fighting with everything they have left to get
their lives back. l
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2020

27


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants And Tea - March 2020

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Contents
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Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 1
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