inject several thoughts after reading Sue's postings about her
successful appeal for Terry's SS Disability. Sue's persistence and
detailed record-keeping COMBINED with multiple medical conditions that
Terry suffers from achieved an unusual victory.
It is more
common for NHL patients to be denied benefits. The SS has a list of
conditions that are A-OK for disability (including AIDS and Renal
Failure) but cancers are no longer automatic.
formula is degree of disease + degree of disability + prognosis +
therapy + other factors (I.e. other medical conditions) = percentage
I have helped
other patients try to get SS Disability and have seen it go both ways.
I went through an appeal hearing with another NHL patient to whom
benefits were denied "She can work by doing telephone sales or
in-home work." It was only when she went back on
chemotherapy that she was granted SS because of her immune compromise.
She had no other significant medical problems.
Ali, you are
better to appeal your prior decision (as Sue pointed out) than to
re-file. Your primary care physician is also a determining factor. If
he/she feels that you should not work, then they can support your
claim with a letter.
carried a sealed letter from Dr. Sandra Horning that said, "This
patient's disease bulk and medical complications place her in a
terminal category." When I actually saw the letter, the
words, I got sick at my stomach. I already had a worker's
compensation back claim disability of 33% and the Horning letter plus
my local doctor's statement about low white cell counts put me in the
disabled category. It was the first time I actually thought I might
die from NHL. Seeing the word on paper made it very real.
Harpham, NHL survivor, has been working to get a medical
classification adopted "Post-chemo Fatigue Syndrome" and you
can read about this in her book, "AFTER CANCER: A Guide To Your
New Life". Quotes from her book might give you some
"meat" for your attorney. Your story mimics Wendy's very
much. Both young, mother's of young children, and non-lasting
remission. You would find reading her books very helpful to you. Your
local library should have them. (Wendy Schlessel Harpham, MD)
Wendy has had 3 different therapies of Rituxan post chemo over the
past 8 years and each remission has been longer lasting than the
previous. If you are not familiar with her, let me know and I'll get
you more information.
I have seen
about 2/3 get denied among the NHL patients I have been asked to help
(9). The other 1/3 are very sick in the hospital multiple times, on
chemo drugs, and immune suppressed. Those three are now dead. I
just want you to be realistic in your pursuit of SS disability. If you
are not permanently impaired and not currently on any therapy, I
believe you will have an uphill fight on your hands. The minute you go
back on any type of therapy, it becomes a downhill slide.
Just trying to help give you both sides.