Cancer & Caregiving

Making a Long-Distance Move as a Mesothelioma Survivor

Written By:
April 15, 2021
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Written By: Tamron Little,
April 15, 2021

I’m pretty sure you can agree that moving is a huge task. Imagine moving to a whole new state with your family of six, all within a month. On top of that, picture doing it as a peritoneal mesothelioma survivor.

To be honest, I didn’t know I could do it, but I’m glad I did. As a cancer survivor, I’m very conscious about my health and over the years have become very connected to my doctors. 

Although I don’t have mesothelioma anymore, it’s imperative for me to have routine checkups with a hematologist/oncologist as well as with a primary care physician. In the past I’ve had to get iron infusions consistently due to low hemoglobin and platelet count. I may discuss this in a future article.

Cancer and the Big Move

So, I know you’re all wondering where I moved to and why. My husband had just graduated with his associate degree in architecture design and had been looking for jobs. Little did I know he was applying to jobs in Florida. A certain company took interest in him, and to make a long story short, we took the leap of faith and moved our family from North Carolina to Florida – within one month! 

Talk about a whirlwind, but I’m grateful everything went smoothly. Out of all the things on my checklist – from selling the house, looking for a new house, the kids starting a new school, checking out the new area – one thing was really weighing heavily on my mind: health insurance.

I worked for a hospital that offered great health insurance for myself and my children. I knew when I resigned that the health insurance would end. Plus, we only had a couple of weeks to move due to our house selling in two days. 

Thinking back, if I would have had more time during the move, I’m sure I would have done things a little differently. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. 

Make Your Health a Priority

Here is a checklist of things to do when you’re relocating as a cancer survivor:

  • Notify your current doctors. This was one of the first things I did once I found out we were moving. This is so you can plan any testing, lab work and treatments before the move.
  • Refill prescriptions and change pharmacies. I am with Walgreens, a large chain, so I only had to change my address and find one close to my new house. All your information is still within the system.
  • Call your insurance company. Ask them what your affordable options are to continue coverage. Insurance companies all offer COBRA, which I didn’t really understand until recently. But it’s supposed to be an extension of your current insurance and kick in once your coverage ends. I got my papers late and by that time my insurance coverage had ended. It was a bit pricey for me and the kids, especially without having a job and the benefits that come with it.
  • Visit the Health Insurance Marketplace. The government has done a really good job of making this pretty easy for those who need insurance. You can either go online to HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-4325 like I did. Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except holidays. They will gather information from you and assist you with finding different health care plans that fit your budget. I was able to get a plan with a quick coverage date.
  • Do your research. This is very important because as a cancer survivor you don’t want to go to just any doctor. It’s imperative that you look for a specialist who’s right for you. The internet is a great place to look because you can see ratings as well as testimonials, etc. I would recommend going with a well-known treatment center. They usually have a connection to the community and more to offer patients.
  • Make your first appointment. When making your first appointment, initiate the medical records retrieval process. This way the doctors will have a chance to review your medical history. I would suggest not making your first appointment until you’ve already moved and are a bit settled in. This way you won’t have to worry about missing any appointments. Once you’ve made your appointment, be sure to have a list of questions and concerns and communicate those with the doctor.

Moving to another state can be a daunting and very exhausting task as a cancer survivor. But preparation is key. Make your list, check it twice and I’m sure it will make for a smooth move.

I’m excited to meet my new doctors and I’m sure it will be a Kodak moment when they walk in the room to see how healthy I am and my great appearance. After all, I’m not your typical mesothelioma patient.

I already know what their first question will be. “So, Mrs. Little, I was looking over your medical history and was wondering, how in the world did you get peritoneal mesothelioma?”

Cheers to a new state, a fresh start and new doctors! 

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