I have a love-hate relationship with my mailbox. Sometimes, it’s filled with gifts and notes and well wishes from family and friends. But more often it’s filled with medical bills, collection letters, and insurance policy cancellation notices that say I’m capable of working an 8-hour day. That’s why checking the mailbox is terrifying.
Currently, I’m waiting for Lincoln Financial Group’s complete report to arrive in the mail. It’s supposed to contain the documents they received from my primary doctor’s office as well as my oncologist’s, plus some kind of official report on how they arrived at their determination. I also requested credential information for Dr. Brian Samuels when I wrote my appeal. (I’m 99% sure it’s this guy.) They didn’t specifically say they’d provide that information, so we’ll see if I get it. I want a license number for that assshole to make sure I’ve got the right one when I start reviewing him on Healthgrades.com and stuff.
Every piece of mail I’ve ever received from Lincoln Financial Group comes a minimum of 10 days AFTER the letter is dated. I know they do this on purpose.
While I require that information to continue with their appeals process, I also dread checking the mailbox every day, because I’m worked up over what could be in it. Here’s why:
- It contains information from my doctors that I have not seen. I am worried, with good reason–I have been repeatedly traumatized by doctors, after all–that they have said grossly untrue things about me in their communication with Lincoln Financial Group. That I will have to add my own doctors to the long list of impossible things I have to fight every day: brain cancer, the “healthcare” system, Lincoln Financial Group, collections agencies, etc. And that I will, once again, have to find start searching for a doctor I can trust. I know from experience doctors don’t change their opinions on things with new information. Instead they double down on them.
- On a second read through of the original notice from LFG, I found this line: “After review of the documentation contained in your claim file and a telephone call with [my oncologist], Dr. Samuels has opined that you have minimal decrease in functionality.” So yeah, I already don’t want to return to my oncologist’s office in July. He’s apparently talking about me as if I was an able-bodied person before cancer treatment and that, because my platelets are back up, I am no longer disabled.
- I’m scared the report contains prognosis information in it that I have worked very diligently to avoid. I don’t know how long doctors have given me, and I don’t want to know. Even if it’s a long-ass time. I can’t live with someone’s best guess being the only thing my battered brain obsesses over. I know some people won’t get this. Some people have to know. But this brain tumor, and this life are mine. I should be calling the shots. There’s so little else I can control. I need this one thing.
- I’m afraid that if I ask Dan to read the report first to protect me from the shock, that he will come across detailed prognosis information and it will change everything for us. Again. I’m afraid this new information could cause him to treat me differently, and that in trying to protect me from it, he will reveal information that I cannot handle. (Lots of people have called me strong through this because I haven’t completely fallen apart. I’m not strong so much as I am good at avoiding things I know I can’t deal with.)
- I know that reading the documents will remind me how overwhelming and impossible this battle with a giant-ass insurance company is for someone like me. I’m scared the stress and anxiety are going to throw me into another depressive episode, and that the next one will go on for even longer than the last one. I already know that my oncologist said that I am “not expected to improve.” It’s so weird to read something like that while living inside this broken body, knowing that the same person also said I can work 40 hours a week. Not even “she could do something part-time” but “she can work 8 hours a day.”
Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and just give up. Not part of me. Most of me. I am so tired. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. I can’t control anything. I’m just out here spinning my disabled wheels while overworked doctors who see me for three minutes every 8 months tell profit-driven sharks I’m totally capable of walking 30 minutes and climbing shit.
I gotta wrap this up. More updates when I know something. Mom and Dad are coming to visit us tomorrow and I have a new appointment on the books to talk with my primary doctor about this whole mess. I feel like if I have any chance of beating this thing, it’ll require her going to bat for me. As much as I want to believe she will, I don’t know that she will.