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Need MO (Medical Oncologist) recommendation (in SF Bay area)

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wengellen
wengellen Member Posts: 12

Hi all,

I was diagnosed with stage IV in Sept. 2023 in Taiwan by a Taiwanese MO from whom I am receiving my hormone and targeted therapies. I continue to work until the third round of treatment on 12/22/2023 when I took a leave of absence from work. Because of the stress from work become too much. So, I asked my MO to certify my SDI (state disability) but he was unwilling to do that. He said he only certify the diagnose, but not the disability part.

So, I am thinking if I need to return to San Francisco to find a MO who is willing to certify it for me. This means I will be receiving treatment from this new MO as well. I do not have any health insurance in the state currently. I can probably apply for medi-cal health insurance because of low (no) income in 2024. So, hopefully this MO is in the network (unsure of the term)!

Thanks in advance. I am SO glad I found this forum, after months of headaches and sleepless nights searching for answers on the web.

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,913
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    Hi @wengellen,

    We welcome you warmly to our community, and are sorry for all you are going through.
    You appear to have metastatic (also metaplastic?) breast cancer? That's a special type of breast cancer. Just need to clarify before we offer suggestions.
    You may find it helpful to reach out to the Cancer Information Service for their suggestions on doctors, and doctors who may be better for you without health insurance in the US. Their number is 1800-4-CANCER. They have a directory of doctors and locations.

    And yes, if you have metastatic breast cancer, you should be able to get disability, assuming you're an American.

    We're here for you!
    Warmly,
    The Mods

  • amel_83
    amel_83 Member Posts: 116
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    Depending on what type of cancer you have, doc Hope Rugo can be a good choice. Not just an oncologist but a researcher, very advanced and open minded.

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @moderators Thanks for the warm welcome and the great info. I did not even know about the Cancer Information Service until now. I will reach out to them for sure!

    Yes, my cancer has spread above the collarbone. (distant metastasis). But I don’t know about the metaplastic part. Did I provide the wrong information when I did the survey?

    And yes, I am a US citizen.

    Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it!

    Ellen

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @amel_83 Thanks for sharing her info. She looks like a very nice MO indeed, based on all the 5 star reviews. I will definitely reach out to her! Thanks again!

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    Oops. I just realize I added this post in the wrong category :(

  • jcal1223
    jcal1223 Member Posts: 1
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    I wanted to ask a question that is likely silly but you all are referencing a “MO” what is that an acronym for? I’m in OR and have never heard it.

    I’ll respond to the user: wengellen.

    MBC is a terminal diagnoses (DX) and the process for getting federal SSI/SSDI (supplemental security income and Social Security Disability income) is should be easier to get than for usual disability DXs. It’s called a CAL (Compassionate Allowance). Google it and you’ll note Metastatic Breast Cancer stage IV is on the list of DXs. I provided my doctors records showing my diagnoses and treatment for progression of the disease and they analyst contacted the doctors I’ve been too in order to verify it. Most states have different processes or they revert it back to the feds, either way it should make it through if you have proof of DX and of treatment.

  • amel_83
    amel_83 Member Posts: 116
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    @jcal1223 MO stands for Medical Officer, this can be a doctor, physician or general practitioner.

    I read it on google, but I think is what people refere to.

    MBC is when cancer spread in distant location, non terminal for everyone though, the is people living with 20+ years here!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
    edited February 25
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    No, MO stands for medical oncologist, not medical officer. What is a medical officer? In the US, doctors are not referred to as officers. Here is the link to commonly used abbreviations on bco. I also want to correct the meaning of mbc. Metastatic breast cancer is when your bc moves to organs or structures outside the breast. It is always terminal as there is no known cure, however there are occasional outliers who do survive longer than is typical but the reason is unknown. Very , very few live 20+ years and although that may give us hope this is far from reality for the overwhelming majority of stage IV patients. Since the reason for long term survival is unknown, those limited number of people are simply outliers though I prefer unicorns! Yes, I am one of them at 12+ years but I am under no illusions about the likely outcome.


    https://www.breastcancer.org/community/abbreviations

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
    edited February 26
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    @jcal1223 Thanks for sharing your experience with SSDI with me. I really appreciate it. I have not started applying for SSDI. But good to know what I need to have prepared before I apply. And from what I have read, as long as my breast cancer has metastasized to a distant location, then i can get expedited approval based on Compassionate allowance with just the diagnose alone, without having to prove my functional ability for work.

    This is the youtube link I found useful, don’t know if it’s correct though.

    My issue is more with the California Disability Claim which my Oncologist need to certify that I am unable to do my work. I wonder if anyone’s Oncologist is willing to certify a patient with distant metastasis who is on anti-cancer medication (Letrozole and Ibrance) alone. Because the medications are causing chemo-like brain fogs.

    Yeah, MO I meant medical oncologist. Maybe I should be more clear. Let me see if I can change the title to be more concise

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @exbrnxgrl Wow, 12+ years, that’s amazing! Congrats on fighting the stage IV cancer for this long. And thanks for sharing your experience. It really give us a lot of confidence of what’s possible. :)

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @amel_83 Sorry about the confusion. I did mean medical oncologist. I have just updated my thread title.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
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    wengellen,

    Unfortunately, no one knows why I, or other outliers, have done so well. I am not a fighter (not a fan of pugilistic terms) as I have done nothing exceptional or extraordinary to keep bc at bay. You will be surprised to learn I have never had chemo in either IV or pill form. I had rads to my bone met and then went straight to AI’s for 12 years. I did have a port installed but have only used it for a bone strengthening drug which I stopped years ago. I have been off all meds since this past November. I believe we have at least one other stage IV member who has gone off all tx as well but we are simply unicorns. I wish there was a better explanation for this but for now at least, it’s just been pure luck. Take care

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @exbrnxgrl, you must have done something different, maybe you have a positive mood?? But no matter what, that’s just amazing that you are able to stop taking all the meds now. The best medicine is no medicine. Even those harmless looking Letrozole is causing me a lot cognitive problem…

    Thanks! Enjoy your freedom away from meds as well.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
    edited February 28
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    wengellen,

    Let me be the first to say that a positive attitude does not stop the progression and eventual death of any stage IV patient. I wish it did. Imagine if that was the key… but it’s not. The other problem is that if someone progresses they might think they had contributed to it by not being positive enough. Sadly, the self blame can be very real for some especially if your health has already created stress in your life. There are too many positive, loving, amazing women who have lost their lives to bc. Their attitudes did not save them.

    I must have done something? I’m afraid not. I have probably done less than most in terms of leading an anti-cancer lifestyle. Perhaps it will be figured out one day but I have done nothing other than what my mo recommended. It really is just luck and I am simply an outlier, nothing more. Do I wish we knew why I’ve done so well? Absolutely but again, we don’t.

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @exbrnxgrl thanks for sharing your experience and a unique point of view as someone who has been through it, for many years. But true, there are just too many factors to know which ones are the contributing factors.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
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    I almost laugh when I remember how naive I was about bc prior to my dx. I thought mammograms were the answer, had NO idea that breast cancer had various types and sub-types, hormonal profiles etc. It is a very complicated disease with a lot of unknowns.

    I think of all the uber positive, strong, brave , and kind women I’ve known. Far more positive and worthy yet despite this, they still succumbed. Again, being positive has likely made my day to day existence easier but has nothing to do with my longevity.

  • wengellen
    wengellen Member Posts: 12
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    @exbrnxgrl me too! I had learned so much from the web and this forum.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with me.