I'm finding it impossible to work and fight myeloma at the same time. Are there financial resources that can help if I'm unable to work?
You say that you are employed. Based on that assumption, here's what you should do:
1. Speak with your HR department and explain your situation. What type of medical leave do they offer? You will probably need to exhaust your sick and vacation time first. When that is done, many employers have some type of short term disability benefits. After the short term disability is over, do you have long term disability benefits, as well? Once you fully understand what your options are, you can plan accordingly. (Keep in mind that, thanks to FMLA laws, you have some length of job protection should you need to leave work in order to seek medical care.)
2. Contact your state's disability office. Most states have medical disability benefits. They can help explain what the benefits are, your eligibility, and help you get started in applying.
3. Contact the Social Security office and apply for disability. This process can take months so don't delay applying. In addition to financial assistance, those on Social Security disability for a set period of time then become eligible for Medicare. Once on Medicare, there are several "gap" insurance plans you can purchase to "upgrade" to a premium policy.
Best of luck!
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.