Mothers of Intention — Another Change We Need in Health Care is Insurance Coverage for Lymphedema Sleeves

This is cross-posted from Toddler Planet where my amazing friend Susan Niebur, a breast cancer patient herself and a true Mother of Intention, is trying to make it possible for other breast cancer patients to obtain lymphedema sleeves and other services to manage their disease that aren’t usually covered by health insurance.  Please read on and forward this, tweet it, or post it to Facebook to get the word out to those who need help managing the cost of their illness.

Are you or do you know a breast cancer survivor? Please read today’s post and pass it on. If you can’t afford to purchase a lymphedema sleeve, gauntlet, and/or glove, and you can’t manage your post-mastectomy swelling, Crickett’s Answer and LympheDIVAs want to help.

Today, I am pleased to announce a NEW opportunity for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy and/or axillary dissection of the lymph nodes due to breast cancer and have swelling of one or both arms but cannot afford the $200-$500+ cost for two sets of the compression sleeves and gauntlets that survivors with lymphedema must wear every day to keep the swelling in check.

Although lymphedema sleeves are medically necessary, they are not covered by Medicare OR most insurance plans under current law, and thousands of survivors go without the sleeves, needlessly suffering congestion, swelling, and pain that interferes with their normal activities.

Crickett’s Answer, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in memory of Crickett Julius, has just joined forces with LympheDIVAs to help other breast cancer survivors who fight not just the beast that is breast cancer but also the fallout of side effects that includes lymphedema, which may limit survivors’ activities. By working together, they are now able to provide needed lymphedema sleeves and gauntlets to women who need them but cannot afford them out-of-pocket or convince their insurance companies to pay for them. They do this in honor and memory of their loved ones.

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Crickett Julius survived breast cancer only four months, but her mother and cousin are dedicated to helping other women enjoy their life post-diagnosis through Crickett’s Answer, a 501(c)3 organization that provides wigs, mastectomy products, oncology/mastectomy/ lymphedema massage, facials, and other pampering services as a way to help women feel feminine and beautiful after losing their hair and/or breasts.

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LympheDIVAs was founded by Rachel Troxell and Robin Miller, friends and breast cancer survivors, who wanted to create a more elegant and comfortable compression sleeve. Rachel continued to build the company during her later recurrence. Even though she died two years ago, at the age of 37, her father, mother, and brother continue to grow the company in her honor and in the hope that LympheDIVAs’ compression apparel will continue to inspire breast cancer survivors everywhere to feel as beautiful, strong, and confident as Rachel was.

To ask for help, please download and complete the forms at Crickett’s Answer, writing in “lymphedema sleeve and gauntlet” on page 2 of the application.

To help someone else, please copy and paste this post on your blog or email it to a friend (or your local cancer center!).

To donate, go here.

To help change the law so that this medical garment is covered by cancer survivors’ insurance, stay tuned for more about the Lymphedema Treatment Act when it is reintroduced in the 2011 Congress.

Because of these women, these three thirty-something women who didn’t ask to get breast cancer, and the men and women who love them, there is now help for women who can’t afford lymphedema sleeves, a medically necessary garment not typically covered by insurance. Their legacy lives on.

Note: Cancer patients who are members of the National Lymphedema Network and who are treated by an NLN therapist can also apply to the NLN garment fund, set up in honor of Marilyn Westerbrook.

UPDATE: Shortly after this was posted, Susan received the news of another cancer recurrence.  You can read more here at her blog.  Susan is one of the most amazing, positive and strong women I know.  If you have a moment, please send good thoughts, energy and prayers her way.  Thank you.

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2 Responses to “Mothers of Intention — Another Change We Need in Health Care is Insurance Coverage for Lymphedema Sleeves”

  1. Susan @WhyMommy Says:

    Thank you, Joanne! This is so great! And yes, I promise to work for the Lymphedema Treatment Act in 2011. The bill was first introduced last year, spurred on by the volunteer efforts of a mother of a little boy with primary lymphedema in North Carolina. It had 20+ cosponsors by the end of the session, but that wasn’t enough. This year, I’ll go knock on doors in person, and make calls too. One more person added to the effort won’t make it happen — but it’s a start.

  2. PunditMom Says:

    Susan, I had no idea about that legislation before you taught me about it, but I am going to also work for its passage, as well as any other legislation that will benefit survivors. Let me know when you’re knocking on doors — I’ll be right there with you. xo


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