According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Myelofibrosis is rare bone cancer in which abnormal cells and fiber build up in the bone marrow. Symptoms can take years to develop. In fact, many people live for years before showing any signs of the disease. When symptoms start to show up; however, they continue to get progressively worse. Becoming disabled due to Myelofibrosis means you should apply for long term disability (LTD) benefits if you have coverage. This article will discuss the following:
- How Symptoms Can Affect Your Daily Life
- Treatment Plans and Long Term Disability
- Applying for Long Term Disability with Myelofibrosis
How Symptoms Can Affect Your Daily Life
Myelofibrosis is a slowly progressing disease showing no symptoms in the early stages – this makes early detection even more difficult. Usually, the disease has progressed once symptoms start to show. Symptoms can include:
- Fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, or pale skin (generally due to a low red blood cell count causing anemia)
- Enlarged liver
- Easy bleeding or bruising, as a result of a low platelet count
- Night sweats
- Frequent infections, due to a low white blood cell count
- Bone or joint pain
- Weight loss
- Experiencing one or more of these symptoms can cause you to miss work and need on-going medical treatment.
There is no test for Myelofibrosis. Other than a family history of Myelofibrosis, your doctor will probably notice your spleen is enlarged at a regular physical exam and order additional testing to determine the cause. Diagnosis is made by a bone marrow biopsy, examination of lab results, and experience with blood disorders by your doctor.
Treatment Plans and LTD
There is no specific treatment or drug plan for Myelofibrosis in patients. The only known potential cure is a stem cell transplant, but a patient must be young and have no health problems to be a candidate for this treatment. Since Myelofibrosis doesn’t present symptoms until patients are much older, stem cell transplants cannot be classified as an effective treatment.
The main treatment plan is treating the symptoms and making the patient as comfortable as possible while monitoring them throughout the remainder of their life. Some people will live on without any significant symptoms; others will need more medical treatment as this disorder behaves differently in each patient.
Some complications from Myelofibrosis are:
- Abdominal and Back Pain
- Portal Hypertension
- Extramedullary Hematopoiesis
- Bone and Joint Pain
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
Applying for Long Term Disability
The diagnosis process could take time as your doctors try to figure out what is going on. You will need to see a blood disorder specialist, have a bone marrow biopsy, and wait on your results. Once you have been diagnosed, you can apply for long term disability.
Proving your case may be more difficult as Myelofibrosis is so rare and has no standard treatment plan. Your primary evidence for your claim will be your medical records, including biopsy results, lab results, doctor’s notes, and treatment plan. Since every case is different, be sure your doctor is noting your pain and symptoms in the notes on your chart. This will be crucial to your case. Because of the prognosis, you may experience depression or anxiety. Seek treatment and include this in your medical evidence to the insurance company.
Suggested Way To Stay Organized
There is a lot of paperwork to keep track of when applying for Long Term Disability. Staying organized and saving all correspondence will help you if your claim is denied and you need to go to court. Create a binder or filing system for the following documents:
- Copy of your LTD policy.
- Copies of all letters from your insurance company and you to the insurance company.
- Why you can not perform your job duties (this will require medical documentation).
- A list of all medical providers that you have seen for this condition and a letter from each provider stating that your condition prevents you from working.
- Letters that summarize all conversations (by phone or in person) between you and the insurance company representatives, nurses, doctors, and your employer. Send copies to all parties involved in the communication via certified mail as proof it was received.
- Keep everything chronological so that if your claim is denied you have a complete record of how your claim was handled.
Myelofibrosis is a rare disorder that can take a long time to show symptoms. There is no cure or established treatment plans for Myelofibrosis in patients. If you have Myelofibrosis, you should apply for long term disability benefits.
Using an experienced disability attorney will help you protect yourself against insurance investigators. The Nick Ortiz Law Firm is based in Florida but represents claimants across the country. Receive a free consultation by calling (888) 321-8131 with no obligation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Long-Term Disability Benefits and how to move forward with the process.