Almost 6 years ago, my hepatologist found the tumor on my liver. Sure enough, it was malignant and it tore through my life like a tornado. Nothing prepares you for the “Cancer” word. I was placed on total and permanent disability quickly. I didn’t even have to go in, but was told over the phone that with less than 12 months to live, it was a done deal. Fast forward to my 5 year MRI last fall, and I made the decision to come off of disability or SSDI. 

Getting Approved for Disability

As I met with oncologists and began being listed for a liver transplant, I also had to turn my classroom over to another teacher. The Social Security Administration called me back within 2 days. I had less than 12 months to live. It was done. I was pronounced disabled and had my first Tace procedure. It was a fall like no other. A healing retreat in Sedona kicked off treatment. I stayed with some amazing women who helped me toward my spiritual and physical path toward transplant or death. Knowing that my income would still be there made it easy. Having Disability SSDI was one less thing to worry about. I could focus on cancer – whatever that would look like. 

After close to 300 days, and multiple treatments, I received a life saving liver transplant. Nothing in the world feels better than opening your eyes every day. A generous mother made a decision at the end of her son’s life. His liver is now tucked under my heart. Thank you Shelley and Gavin.

Just before my 1st Liverversary, I donned my mask and headed to the SSDI office to check on my disability benefits. They looked at my medical records and pronounced that I was totally and permanently disabled, and would not need a review for 10 years. I raced to my car, crying and calling Joe. “This is good news! You won’t every have to feel the pressure to return to work”, said my sweet kind hubby. This was great news, truly. I just felt so so so Disabled. Yes, I was also thankful to be a cancer survivor. Like you, I plowed on.

My disability was invisible.

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This entry was originally posted on I help C on June 26, 2021, and is reprinted with permission.