Considering Options

07.26.2012 | 11:23 am

photo.JPGA “Fight Cancer, Win Cool Stuff” Note from Fatty: My friend — and hotshot producer of TNT’s Leverage — Paul Guyot is fundraising for Pedal The Cause. This is a pretty awesome event with 100% of donations being divided between Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Paul’s got a great reason to hate cancer and raise money toward the fight against it: both his wife’s parents were killed by cancer last year.

And his son, “Bucky” (he’s the one on the right in the picture here) is joining him in this ride. Which I think is pretty amazing.

Paul’s got some nice incentives you should take a look at, too. And since I’m far too lazy to write about them myself, I’m just going to cut and paste from Paul’s donation page:

Not only will your donation help children and assist in finding a cure for cancer, but you could win some very cool prizes!

For every $10 you donate, you will receive 1 entry into a drawing to win one of the following:

  • An actual script from the hit TNT series LEVERAGE autographed by Timothy Hutton and the entire cast!
  • ARRIVA LEO Bluetooth Sport wireless headphones! If you don’t know, Arriva Leo’s are AWESOME and endorsed by [Note from Fatty: It’s true — my Leos are at least partially responsible for what is widely regarded as freakishly fast time on a popular MTB climbing TT) as well as thousands of others. Thank you to ARRIVA for donating TWO of these amazing prizes!!!
  • A $40 gift card to the restaurant of your choice. ANYWHERE in the United States!

Paul’s a great guy. Cancer sucks. These are awesome prizes. So I highly recommend you go find $10 bucks (or $20 or whatever) and donate now. Thanks!

Considering Options

Earlier this week, I posted about my frustration with Cigna as I’m trying to get the right level of treatment for my son’s depression.

I’ve been trying hard to not let the rage (yes, actual rage, which is weird for a person who is decidedly non-rage-y) dominate me. I even made myself sit down and write a fun post yesterday.

But yesterday afternoon I got a couple calls: one from Cigna, one from the doctor in charge of my son’s treatment. They both were saying essentially the same thing: We had escalated the appeals as high as they escalate, and the answer was the same: no.

So now I need to figure out what to do next. And honestly, I really will not be able to write anything fun or interesting ’til I get this sorted out in my own head, so bear with me.

Option 1: Do What Cigna Says

Cigna says they’ll pay for a reduced level of support — basically about 1/3 of what my son’s doing in the program he’s in now. But the thing is, my son’s really doing well in the program he’s in, and I’m not interested in pulling him out and seeing if he’ll continue to improve if we do less for him. Since this program has seen the first real improvement in his outlook in about five years, I want to stick with it — not swap out to something cheaper and assume that Cigna knows best for my son.

Option 2: Hope HR Pulls Through

The HR department at my company is negotiating with Cigna. I’m not really privy to what they’re doing or how it’s going (though I hope to hear something today).

Option 3: Go Nuclear With Legal

I could hire a lawyer and see whether that would get Cigna’s attention. But even if that resolves the problem for me eventually, it will mean considerable stress and time between now and then. And there’s no guarantee that it will resolve my way, in which case I am now on the hook not just for my son’s treatment but for attorney fees.

I’m not taking this option off the table, but I really hope to avoid it.

Option 4: Pay for Treatment Myself Plus Help from Family

I have a little money saved and a 401K I could raid, and my mom says she could pitch in. Between us, we could pay for my son’s treatment for up to six weeks or so. But I’m really reluctant to raid my mom’s savings (even though she’s been super generous in offering it).

Option 5: Fundraise

My readers have shown, time and time again, how generous they are through the various fundraisers I’ve done. My guess is that if I were to do a contest / fundraiser to cover my son’s treatment, my readers would help me out.

But I don’t like this idea much.

A while back when I decided I could and should use my blog as a soapbox to champion causes I care about, part of the bargain I made with myself was that I would use this to help other people, not to make money for me. And while it could be argued that if I did do such a fundraiser it would be for my son — not me — it’s a slippery slope. I’d rather not get near that slope.

Option 6: Sell Susan’s Novel

Once Susan’s cancer had metastasized and slowed her down so it was hard for her to do much outside, she directed her energy into writing a novel. She got about 95% of it written before the cancer got to her brain and made it so she couldn’t write anymore.

As she worked on writing the book, I promised Susan that if she got it written, I’d get it published. I had a plan on how and where I’d publish this, but maybe this would be a better use.

I am pretty sure that she’d be really pleased to know that the proceeds of her work were dedicated to helping her son.

I like this idea quite a bit. But I don’t know what people will think of reading a novel that ends without an ending.

Option 7: Pre-Sell Fight Like Susan

I’ve been planning to compile the posts about Susan’s fight with cancer, along with commentary and the parts I couldn’t / didn’t write because it was too hard at the time.

I’ve been hoping to have that book finished and ready by the end of the year, but I’ll need money for my son’s treatment before then. If I did pre-orders on the book now for a book that wouldn’t be arriving for several months, would that be a big problem? I don’t know.

I do think Susan would like that the story of her fight eventually helped her son.

I’m sure I haven’t considered all the options. I do know I want to keep my son in the program he’s in; I’m interested in your thoughts on things I’m considering, and ideas for what my next move ought to be.


  1. Comment by kellene | 07.26.2012 | 11:37 am

    I think the great thing is that you are looking at it as “options”. Just because they say NO does not really mean NO! Pre- sell the book! Publish Susan’s novel! Fundraise! Talk to HR and ask them what the charges are if you are a self (cash) pay…many times much less than if insurance is paying. Negotiate the charges…I have done it many times while working with all the transplant costs. Set up a payment plan… There is never really one good answer…fortunately you have lots of good and viable options to consider! Keep him in treatment…will be life saving and changing.

  2. Comment by Chris Engle | 07.26.2012 | 11:42 am

    I would purchase the pre-sale book, and if you took an additional year to complete so be it. Best of luck.

  3. Comment by RL J | 07.26.2012 | 11:46 am

    How frustrating! However, I applaud you for coming up with so many good options. Since you are asking for opinions, I’ll give you mine – but first, what does your son think? If he is in a space where he is able to have an actual opinion about what’s going, I’d be curious as a parent myself, as to what he thinks is the way to go.

    While I hesitate to say use your own money (because it seems like Cigna really won’t pay then) – and because generally speaking, conditions like depression are so much cured as they are managed – it might come to that. If you do – be sure to try and negotiate the price down with the people providing your son’s care. As tempting as it may be, I wouldn’t necessarily hire a lawyer unless you have one with proven success in this giving you a break. Insurance companies have deep, deep pockets and it probably won’t get a good return on the investment – so to speak.

    I guess what I would do in the meantime is use this blog as a soapbox to raise awareness about how depression/mental illnesses are treated in this country, read up on the Obamacare bill (which I believe calls to treat mental illnesses more like the on-going conditions they are), call your congress people and generally work the system. Hate to say it -but could getting your son a new/different diagnosis (which requires the same treatment plan as the one he’s on now) buy you a little more time?
    Remember – you are a person with an vast audience and resources at your fingertips. I think that people would both buy your book and Susan’s book -especially if you maybe ran a contest to write the ending – or wrote a few yourself as a sort of epilogue.
    Best of luck and know that lots of people are cheering you on!

  4. Comment by MojoRider | 07.26.2012 | 11:49 am

    keep up the fight…the funding options are good ones. there are many supporters that will help you. Consider also how to use medical savings accounts and all those tools.

    lawyering up will be cathartic, and very expensive. That’s an arms race you won’t win, as Cigna has more expensive, more numerous lawyers than you coudl come up with.

    finally, it’s never “the last appeal”. If there are others in town that have fought the insurance comapnies, then there are docs they know that are willing to go to battle. So, rather than “lawyer up” “doctor up”.

    and i’ll buy all the books

  5. Comment by centurion | 07.26.2012 | 12:00 pm

    Option 5,6,7 all sound viable to me. Let Susan help her son. Got dust or something in my eye, damn.

  6. Comment by ScottR | 07.26.2012 | 12:04 pm

    As long as you set a hard date for Fight Like Susan (ie, will be available by Jan 1), and a preorder sounds like a great idea.

  7. Comment by Sara | 07.26.2012 | 12:16 pm

    These sound like the most viable options to me:
    -Pray for Option 2 to work out.
    -If not, negotiate the charges.
    -Option 6: Finish Susan’s book yourself (you can put a disclaimer before the ending and make it clear that you wrote the ending. This gives people the option of either stopping and knowing that only Susan’s words had created the story, or finish reading the story, knowing that it may not be the exact thing Susan had in mind, but it might be close)
    -Option 7: Do the pre-order

  8. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.26.2012 | 12:24 pm

    No war was one with a battle on a single front; consider/use all options, but perhaps stagger and use as needed. That is, hold back on hiring a lawyer, but take what you can from Cigna, get a book out, fund raise, etc., etc., etc. The way to eat an elephant is one bite at time, so starting eating!

  9. Comment by Papa Bear | 07.26.2012 | 12:25 pm

    Fatty, I think that finishing Susan’s book with a disclaimer or even a “Written by Susan Nelson with Eldon Nelson” or something would be great. I would also do the pre-order on Fight Like Susan.

    Lastly, I think all of your readers would agree that fundraising for your son is a viable option. In fact, if you have an ethical problem doing it yourself, let me do it for you. Let me write a guest post and set up a fundraiser to help him out. I would be happy to do so. Email me if you would like to go this route.

  10. Comment by slowRider | 07.26.2012 | 12:31 pm

    Fatty, you’ve spent a lot of energy helping others, it’s time to let others help you.

    If things don’t go right with HR, do a fundraiser, take pre-orders for Fight Like Susan. I don’t think it’s right to dip into your 401k… you’ll be paying exponentially more for the treatment if you do it that way.

    I’d be cool with you selling Susan’s novel (and I think she would be too) to pay for the treatment, but I think fundraising should be your #1 focus since you’re not hurting your future financial security by doing it.

    Soldier on, Brother.

  11. Comment by jon | 07.26.2012 | 12:38 pm


    I had keyed a response to your previous post… Never submitted…

    Numbers 2 and 5 make the most sense. Channel “The Incredibles”… You must “penetrate the bureaucracy”.

    Do not give up on a strategy polite persistence – the hope of every insurance company is that the claimant will go away… Also, (although I would imagine you already have) read the policy and applicable amendments and fine print with great care… The policy is a contract, and it is important to ensure they are living up to their end of the bargain. Also, to the extent you can find areas (sounds like this is) that provide for subjectivity, start to craft your argument. Then, keep on top of them till the cows come home…

    I would not engage an attorney – unless they have violated the terms of the above reviewed agreement – it can be costly in both time, $, and emotional energy with no guarantee of getting closer to the right answer.

    Finally, I feel that a long sleeve FC jersey with a disclosed premium to benefit your sons treatment is a great idea… Forget any opinions of Ron P.’s politics for a moment (hard for some, I know) and consider a statement he made (that I am butchering in the attempt to abbreviate) – something about healthcare and that we can’t equate society to government – he was suggesting that healthcare was a need that communities often banded together to provide when a member needed help… This is the case with the community YOU have created… Nothing wrong with a few friends helping out… (And, I would really like a long sleeve jersey as the seasons will soon (not soon enough for us CLYDESDALES) start their inevitable change…

    Either way, your struggle is in my thoughts (And, as a father, I get the rage part).

    Keep spinning!

  12. Comment by dirtengineer | 07.26.2012 | 12:40 pm

    Good luck on all fronts. I will pre-order FLS at any time if it would help.

  13. Comment by Jeremy G | 07.26.2012 | 12:50 pm

    “Ride to Nowhere Fights Depression” fundraiser?

    Why not set it up so that you have a non-profit that divides up the funds among those who need it. Your family could be one of the recipients. I’m sure some lawyer reading your blog can help you with the legal issues of gettig it setup. In addition, while I’m an accountant, there are bound to be other accountants online, that are local that can help you with the accounting/tax side.

  14. Comment by UT Lawyer | 07.26.2012 | 12:53 pm

    Fatty-you are right about the stress and uncertainty of a lawsuit. However, you are most likely incorrect in your assumption that you would have to pay Cigna’s attorneys’ fees if you lose. In my experience with insurance policies, the insurer never recovers attorneys’ fees and doesn’t have the right to recover insurance fees in the first place. Also, if you go with the litigation option, it could very well change Cigna’s calculations immediately because Cigna will start weighing the cost of covering your son’s treatment against the cost of litigating, along with the risk that it might lose. I don’t know what your son’s treatment costs are, but I know that litigation will be very expensive for them. Thus, there is a decent chance that they will change their current position once you make it clear that they will be paying their own lawyers to deal with you. I would strongly suggest that you talk to Brian King (, and at least get his take on the issues so that you have a fuller understanding of what your options are. I have worked with Brian before and he is a great person and excellent attorney (no, I am not Brian King).

  15. Comment by Marcel Beaudoin | 07.26.2012 | 12:53 pm

    slowRider has the right of it. You have fought, kicked and scratched to help others. Now let us help you. If you want to do it on another website or blog, to keep it separate from FatCyclist, do so, but let us help you.

    Be it through pre-sells of Fight like Susan, selling he book (put a disclaimer) or simply a link to a PayPal account so that we can give you money…let us help you.

  16. Comment by hopdevil | 07.26.2012 | 1:00 pm

    Presell both Fight Like Susan and her novel. I think a large number of people would purchase it and read it without ant ending. I’d pre-order both with no definite delivery date and wish you and your son the best.

  17. Comment by Jennie | 07.26.2012 | 1:00 pm

    I would first exhaust your abilities to reason with Cigna (HR included). After that, definitely consult with an attorney. See if you have a case. You might only have to pay for a few hours of their time, which if you network, you might be able to find someone who can help you out for free or a reduced rate.

    After that, think about why your readers give so much to your fundraising efforts. They give because they care about people in difficult situations. Often, those are other people. But there’s nothing to say it can’t be you. You’ve said yourself that your family has been the recipient of charities you’ve supported through fundraising efforts here. And really, we owe you something for your contributing so much to our lives.

    As for Susan’s book, I support you publishing it but it needs to be when you’re ready to. You can’t rush that experience. I hope you find a good solution!

  18. Comment by Henrik Wist | 07.26.2012 | 1:00 pm

    as commented on the last post, go for option 5) and continue to hope for 2) to work out. Do not touch your and/or your family’s savings. We’d be happy to help and if it bothers you to run the fundraiser on, others offered help already to set it up somewhere else.

  19. Comment by UT Lawyer | 07.26.2012 | 1:01 pm

    Fatty-just perusing Brian King’s website, and I found this blog about a recent case Brian had against Cigna. The issues sound nearly identical to what you have described with your son. Take a look:

    “Insurers Have to Use the Correct Criteria in Evaluating Medical Necessity
    Last week I received an excellent decision from Judge Dale Kimball in federal district court for the District of Utah, James F. v. CIGNA Behavioral Health. I’ve placed it in the website library.

    James’s daughter, C.F., had serious mental, emotional and behavioral problems that required acute inpatient mental healthcare. When she had stabilized her treating doctors recommended that she be treated inpatient on a sub-acute basis at a residential treatment center. Her parents admitted her to Island View Residential Treatment Center. CIGNA Behavioral Health (CBH) refused to authorize coverage for Island View asserting that C.F.’s condition did not satisfy CBH’s internal medical necessity criteria. Thus, CBH said C.F.’s residential treatment was not covered.

    “James retained me to represent him and we brought suit against CBH to recover the unpaid medical expenses. Judge Kimball reversed CBH’s denial. He ruled that CBH had utilized improper criteria in evaluating C.F.’s condition. He also faulted CBH for cherry picking C.F.’s medical records and ignoring the opinions of her treating physicians. Finally, CBH attempted to present for the first time in litigation reasons it denied the claim. Because these reasons had never been communicated to the family when the claim was initially denied, the court refused to consider them. The court ordered CBH to pay C.F.’s residential treatment at Island View.

    “I wish I could say that how CBH treated C.F.’s residential treatment claim was uncommon. But the fact is that insurers regularly use improper criteria to evaluate coverage of residential treatment.”

    I will cease bothering you now. But you really need to talk to a good lawyer about this. I think you may be underestimating the strength of your position.

  20. Comment by Nate Theobald | 07.26.2012 | 1:04 pm

    I wish I had a solution for you… Check out To Write Love on Her Arms, see if they can offer any support. And if you decide to presell the book, I will happily buy multiple copies. Good luck, and keep us posted. We’re here for you, through the funny and the sad!

  21. Comment by Susie H | 07.26.2012 | 1:11 pm

    Can I first just say that I love your integrity? I completely get why you don’t want to do option 5 because of that very integrity. That said, let’s hope option 2 comes through for you, but if not, then I think options 6, 7, AND 5 are all very viable. I would support each of them, and I am quite certain I am not alone. Strange though it may seem, we love you. Some of us have been fortunate to get to know you in person, but ALL of us have seen your heart here on this blog. Go with that heart, Elden, and know that we will stand behind your decision.

  22. Comment by Demonic1 | 07.26.2012 | 1:14 pm

    I’d pre-order Fight like Susan if that would help.

  23. Comment by Miles Archer | 07.26.2012 | 1:16 pm

    option 6a. Finish Susan’s book or find someone to finish her book. You have a pretty talented extended family. If you’re not emotionally up for it, i’m sure you can find someone who can do it justice.

    I think your best bet is to do a number of the options simultaneously. I’m with you on not using this forum to raise money for yourself (or your immediate family). I think a lot of the power here is that you are helping others.

    Having said that, I’ll help you out if you ask.

    Good luck.

  24. Comment by ClydesdalePilot | 07.26.2012 | 1:24 pm

    I’m in agreement with most everyone who has commented. Hope for the best, and if need be, do pre-orders for FLS and Susan’s book (with or without ending). Even if there is no date for when the book will be ready, I don’t think we would care.

  25. Comment by Lin | 07.26.2012 | 1:24 pm

    I’m in.

  26. Comment by Mark J. in Dallas | 07.26.2012 | 1:36 pm

    Bucky rules. Great kid.

  27. Comment by Alan Canfield | 07.26.2012 | 1:38 pm

    Fatty, there is an additional option to consider: self-publish the book in chapters, like episodic video games and comics.

    This would give you time to work on the ending, while polishing the existing material, and generating a swell of interest. You retain all the rights so you can pull it together for a traditional publisher and sell the entire volume.

    You might be surprised at the sales volume in ebooks. It has allowed an unknown guy like me to share the same page on Amazon as some big names in cycling.

    If you decide to offer presales, I recommend incentivizing preorders with a signed copy or other add-on.

  28. Comment by Stephen | 07.26.2012 | 1:47 pm

    I would pre-order a few copies of Fight Like Susan. Especially if it meant it would get done faster. Especially especially if it would help your son.

  29. Comment by Dr.Bryce | 07.26.2012 | 1:51 pm

    Ask the provider of the services to your son for all options regarding a scholarship, hardship, cash paying discount on his care, lowered fees and options towards non-profit subsidy to his care.

    Many of the providers of services operate under a non-profit status anyway and you need to know what access you have to their resources in addition to what Cigna will reimburse to them.

    Ask for help in your son’s favor, first from the provider, then consider your sources to fundraise in his behalf.

    Best of luck!

  30. Comment by Mark J. in Dallas | 07.26.2012 | 1:51 pm

    BTW, I say do options 5 or 7.

    I recommend avoiding spending all your mom’s money and yours unless you think this years-long depression can miraculously be ‘cured’ in the 6 weeks you can afford to pay for it.

    If it can, which is absolutely not guaranteed, then do it may be worth it (how can you put a price on him being well), but I doubt that’s realistic.

    You’ve provided enough enjoyment to me personally over the years I wouldn’t have a problem donating to a straight fundraiser.

  31. Comment by Dr.Bryce | 07.26.2012 | 1:52 pm

    Also, negotiate a payment plan with the provider for what is the non-covered portion of his care after Cigna kicks in their 30%. Then you’ll know what or how much you might need to fundraise.

  32. Comment by Tim | 07.26.2012 | 1:55 pm

    You could even run a contest for authors to complete the end of the book. Copyright what you have, and then run a contest by having folks read it and write an ending. You can choose the one you like the best, or have a group or the family combined vote on the best ending.

  33. Comment by keg | 07.26.2012 | 1:56 pm

    Lets hope Option 1 and/or 2 works out in your favor. I would support options 5,6,and 7 (all three or individually).
    Good Luck

  34. Comment by Justin L | 07.26.2012 | 2:01 pm

    I say do a fundraiser for your son on this website. I love your blog and it provides me alot of entertaiment. I would be willing to help you out. I don’t have much with 3 kids of my own, but i would want the help if my son was in your son’s situation. It’s your blog and your family, and that is numero uno. How about a run of fatty stickers with the cylde horse on them, or some glass mugs or some other cool gear. It can be support fatty gear…….brainstorming here. There are a few websites you can do that for free (I forget the name) but when we order stuff you get the profit. Then its kind of like a fundraiser but not

  35. Comment by Mike C | 07.26.2012 | 2:09 pm

    Elden, I really respect your opinion that you don’t want to use your blog/fundraising for what you might consider personal gain. However, I know that so many of us would want to help is whatever way we can. I, personally, would not think it selfish to accept some of the goodwill of your readers for this purpose. But, I can certainly understand your reluctance.

    I’ll just say that I want to help. So, whatever your are selling, I’m buying. I look forward to reading yours and Susan’s upcoming books.

  36. Comment by Saso | 07.26.2012 | 2:13 pm

    I will be happy to pre-order. Good luck in your fight.

  37. Comment by Kristina | 07.26.2012 | 2:13 pm

    Do whatever you have to do to help him. Depression requires a battle that I imagine may be much like the battles required by cancer.

    Work with HR. Hire a lawyer.

    Have a fundraiser. If you’re not comfortable setting up a fundraiser for him, tell/ask us to do it — I’ll set up a website. I don’t know how, but I know people who do. I never cared enough to figure it out, but I can care enough for this. And I’d bet you have readers who already know how themselves, without seeking a third party.

    Sell Susan’s book. I thought I remembered you saying she told you how it was supposed to end, so you could write it? Write the ending, add a disclaimer if you want, publish it, sell it. Charge a reasonable price with options for additional donations. I’ll buy it.

    Presell your book. Same deal, price-wise. I’ll buy that, too.

    Hold nothing back on this one. Nothing.

  38. Comment by Kukui | 07.26.2012 | 2:30 pm


    I’m totally behind the fundraising, selling Susan’s book, and pre-orders for Fight Like Susan. I think Susan would have liked to know her stories are helping her son. I also think it would be cool if you finished Susan’s novel.

    I read through the posts and liked a couple of the other ideas, namely:
    - hosting a Ride to Nowhere for Depression. This could potentially mean donations at low/no cost to your family
    - posting a premium on Fat Cyclist gear
    - and my favorite…

    Have your readers, who love and respect you and your family, generate a fundraiser outside of Fat Cyclist. I don’t know at all how to do this, but would be more than happy to help design a “Treating Fatty’s Son’s Depression the Right Way” campaign.

    If someone has any idea how to do this and are interested email me at and I’ll help in any way I can.

  39. Comment by Laura S | 07.26.2012 | 2:38 pm

    I respect your desire to avoid using your fundraising mojo for your own (family’s) benefit, but I hope the comments above show you that many of the rest of us would be in full support of you doing so. No matter what, this is going to be hard. Do what you need to do in the way that works out best for you and your family first. Options 6 and 7 are great ones, too. And I like the idea of having you finish up Susan’s book (if you’d have time for that). Also the idea of selling Fight Like Susan in serial form is a great one – a smaller but more steady income stream might be welcome since you’ll be getting the bills in regular steady amounts…

  40. Comment by fult23 | 07.26.2012 | 3:07 pm

    1. Keep faith in the HR department!
    2. Have Paul Guyot finish Susan’s novel. I hear he is a good writer. You are too close to the situation, plus you’ll be busy with my next idea. (Please do this whehter #1 works or not; I wnat to read it.)
    2. Do the pre-order for Fight Like Susan, and getting busy finishing that up.
    3. Do a fundraiser; slippery slope or not, desperate times call for desperate measures.

  41. Comment by owen | 07.26.2012 | 3:09 pm

    pick up your Fight Like Susan book where her book stops ..combine them into one and charge more for it. I think people would be interested in reading both together as they are linked. But first let the HR route run its course. Also fundraise with a percentage of money going towards your sons treatment and another percentage to a depression treatment oraganization helping people in similar situations.
    On a selfish note I hope you will still be in Leadville as I want to yell stuff at you when you fly past me coming down Columbine.

  42. Comment by Anon | 07.26.2012 | 3:29 pm

    Until recently, I made my living suing insurance companies. If HR doesn’t work out, I encourage you to find someone who specializes in this — don’t rely on a regular litigator, as there are lots of weird little tricks of the trade. Having said that, converage lawyers are often too costly for individuals, so you may want to reach out to a firm that does the kind of work you need and see if they’ll take you on pro bono or at a reduced fee. If you find someone creative enough, maybe they’ll take you on free or for cheap in return for pr on your blog . . . Good luck!

  43. Comment by Tim | 07.26.2012 | 3:49 pm

    Put up a donation button on the blog and see what happens. No need to publicize it, just put it there, like a “Buy me a coffee” button… It’s not about charity in that case, it’s more about appreciation…

  44. Comment by Kyle | 07.26.2012 | 3:51 pm

    I vote for pre-sell the book. I’ll take a copy.

    Another option: You can sell or run a contest for opportunities for readers to write a review of your next book before they read it and publish them in the book. I’d write one.

    Hopefully it all works out. Good Luck.

  45. Comment by Islandrunnergirl | 07.26.2012 | 3:54 pm

    Option 6 or 7 would definitely work. Although I hope HR pull through for you and I think a fundraiser is perfectly acceptable in these circumstances. If the fundraiser was to buy you a new bike, it would be different, but this is help for someone who needs it. Who just happens to also be your son.

  46. Comment by Lesley | 07.26.2012 | 3:55 pm

    If Option 2 doesn’t come through, I think 5,6, and 7 are all viable. There isn’t a parent out there that would not understand doing everything you could in your circumstances. The most important part is what you’re already doing, which is asking for help. I think you will get it, and probably in multiple ways.
    Your son and family are in my prayers. I grew up in a family with a lot of depression and finding a plan that works for an individual is so very rare. I do not blame you for wanting to continue, and I am proud of you for doing everything you can.

  47. Comment by Clydesdale | 07.26.2012 | 4:21 pm

    KEEP THE KID IN TREATMENT! No Question. You will find a way, one way or another, to pay for it.

    I’ll buy both books, finished or not.

    Maybe it’s an opportunity for you to write another book for parents on coping, supporting and helping young people through these things. Proceeds going to help others who can’t afford good treatment or organizations that help support.

  48. Comment by Jerry | 07.26.2012 | 4:53 pm

    i have been reading your blog for years, 1st time i have commented. I would go with all of the above options. I would start with a fundraiser becuase you will see imediate money to keep son in treatment. Sell Susans book and pre-sell your book. Once you have sold Susan’s book or pre-sold your book, donate those moneies to a cause like livestrong or world bicycle relief. Then you really aren’t using this blog to benefit yourself. I personally do not have issue with you fundraising for your sons treatement. You have all been through hell. Use the lawyer as your last option. CIGNA has far more money than you do to fight in court, usually the guy with more money wins a legal battle. Good Luck!

  49. Comment by Another lawyer | 07.26.2012 | 4:54 pm

    You need to at least talk to a lawyer. A lawsuit doesn’t happen all at once, it happens in stages, and there’s a cost for each stage and many decision points along the way. Stages include initial analysis to see how strong your case is; letter from lawyer with backup from doctor explaining your position; negotiations to come up with a solution/settlement between open-ended yes and absolute no; drafting/filing a lawsuit; negotiations; reviewing legal response(s); negotiations; doing discovery; negotiations; trial; negotiations; judgment; negotiations; appeal; negotiations. (See a pattern?) Getting up to filing a lawsuit isn’t that time-consuming/expensive. It’s the discovery/trial that takes a ton of time and is expensive, but you’ll have plenty of opportunity before then to convince the other side that settling with you is better than litigating and for making a risk/reward decision yourself.

    Tailoring your request may be key as well (i.e., doing so and so many more weeks of this therapy and then re-evaluating or having a “neutral” doctor appointed to review the case file to determine “medical necessity” or whatever the trigger for coverage is).

  50. Comment by Tom S. | 07.26.2012 | 5:15 pm

    Publish Susan’s novel as is, let the reader finish the story for themselves. That way everybody gets a personalized edition!

    I would pre-order any book you decide to publish now or in the future.

    From my experience with PTSD,half treatments and abbreviated sessions don’t really do anything but keep your guard up. If your son is relaxing enough to open up and improve then that is the path that needs to be followed.

    Let us, your loyal readers, know what we can do for you and Team Fatty will always pull together for the win!

  51. Comment by Fat Chick on a Bike | 07.26.2012 | 5:58 pm

    1) I don’t believe you have escalated your appeals as high as they escalate. Within Cigna, perhaps you have but there should be some option for external review. But good for you for excluding “do what the insurance said” as an option.

    One option that I don’t see on the table, is to negotiate (perhaps your HR could help you) a reduced rate and a payment plan for your son’s treatment. If you can buy a car or a house and make payments, why not medical treatment? Perhaps you could negotiate a payment plan that you could cover yourself without raiding retirement or your Mom’s savings.

    This would buy you time to consult with a lawyer, figure out the appeals process, publish a book, etcetera.

    I read somewhere that 30% of all medical claims are denied and almost 90% of those that appeal beyond the company (state review, arbitration, lawsuit) are eventually covered.

  52. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 07.26.2012 | 6:02 pm

    There should still be an option for an external appeal according to Utah’s Insurance laws. Check into that.

    On the book, there are several local authors I know that might be willing to jump on board and finish Susan’s novel. I think having a complete work will sell better and have longer-term results for you.

    And get over it on the fundraising hesitation. It’s great you have it, but this is NOT about you. It’s about Brice. HE is a cause you are passionate about, is he not? HE is the one that needs help and WE, the Fatty Nation want to help. Don’t you DARE deprive us of that Fatty! Clydesdales, mount up!

  53. Comment by oreneta | 07.26.2012 | 6:07 pm


    I think you could fundraise without getting on a slippery slope, there has been at least one instance of that on here before that I can think of, get a prize out…maybe one of your bikes so you feel you’ve put something into it too…put it out there to us and see what prizes we might come up with (though I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, I could try) and fundraise.

    Presale of FIght like Susan sounds like a genius move, sign me up for a few…

    Just, please, keep your son in the program and let us know how we can help. You’ve done so much for such a range of causes, let’s put it out there and get this sorted out. I’m with Rodneeds2ride, Clydesdales, mount up! Maybe we’ll have to get another 100 K whipped out soon, like this weekend!

  54. Comment by Dave T | 07.26.2012 | 6:17 pm

    Fatty many of those are good ideas. An initial consolations with a lawyer would not cost you very much and should provide you with a lot of helpful information. I know it was a great help for us after our son’s accident even when we did not use them. You can count on my help with which ever option/s you choose. Hang in there.

  55. Comment by Li-Chin's husband | 07.26.2012 | 6:52 pm

    Please choose option’s #6 and #7. Also, for option #6, do the best job of finishing Susan’s book that you can (this method has been done for famous symphonies, right? So, why not?) and write a note in the book’s Foreward describing what you did. Good luck.

  56. Comment by JodieA | 07.26.2012 | 6:58 pm

    Fatty, pretty much everyone who posted today would like to help you. Whether you sell one of the books or fundraise, you’re sure to get enough to cover his medical bills. Assuming most people are like me, they are just looking for an excuse to help and preordering the book is an excuse to help you out. I agree continue to fight with Cigna through your HR rep and look into hiring a lawyer, but definitely keep that kid in treatment until one of these things works out. You wouldn’t really have to fundraise, just provide a link to a PayPal account or to someone else’s page who will fundraise for you and that will sort itself out. I’d be happy to help out.

  57. Comment by dave | 07.26.2012 | 7:29 pm

    Fatty, Keep your son in treatment no matter what if it is helping him. Do not dip into your family’s retirement. Let others help you by buying the books. You have dedicated so much energy and time helping others through your blog and fundraising for such great causes. Everyone needs some help sometimes. I will help out when you decide how you want us to help. It is clear after reading all the comments that there a ton of people like me who want to help. Thank you for everything you do for others and for keeping me entertained and inspired 5 days a week.

  58. Comment by Walter | 07.26.2012 | 8:03 pm

    So sorry to hear about all this. I’m no health insurance expert, but publishing Susan’s novel and/or preselling your book both sound like fabulous ideas — I’ll take a case (do books come in cases??) of each.

    Hang in there!

  59. Comment by Ian | 07.26.2012 | 8:05 pm

    I’m in for 5, 6, and 7.

    5 – It’s for your son, so you aren’t breaking your rule. Plus, it’s for your son so break the rule anyway.

    6 – Will take longer than 5 and 7 but do it anyway.

    7 – Sounds good to me. I could use at least 4 copies.

    God bless and stay positive.

  60. Comment by BamaJim | 07.26.2012 | 9:05 pm

    Hope the HR people can negotiate with the insurer, but…

    I’d support a fundraiser – you’re being transparent about it, it is for your son, and it is totally voluntary.

    I’d go in for a book pre-order also, but I hope the pressure of needing to finish the book (or books) wouldn’t end up being too much stress in a situation that is already plenty stressful.

    Praying for the family

  61. Comment by Jared | 07.26.2012 | 9:57 pm

    IMO, you should start option 3 now, just to get the ball rolling. Lawsuits take time. If it comes to litigation, the sooner you start, the better.

    Pray, hope, and sacrifice a few chickens for option 2.

    Options 6 and 7 seem like the best bet.

    I think most readers have no problem with option 5, but if it’s something you’re hugely against, hold off for now. You can always go back to it if you need to.

  62. Comment by Scott S | 07.26.2012 | 10:24 pm

    I would happily pre-order a copy of “Fight Like Susan”.

    I would happily pay a significant premium to pre-order a copy of “Fight Like Susan” that was autographed, had a gold star on the cover, had my name in 4-point type on the dedication page, or some other special “feature”.

    I think you should also consider fund-raising. I would happily contribute to such a fundraiser! I know your fundraisers usually feature fantastic prizes. If it were me, I’d feel a little bit strange about soliciting prizes to help myself or my family. So skip that: just make it a simple donation, with no prizes attached. Or use prizes that you donate: Fat Cyclist eBooks, a 1-day MTB/road riding clinic (travel/accommodations not provided), Fat Cyclist Spring 2013 training camp (BYO Everything), etc.

  63. Comment by Grueny | 07.26.2012 | 10:26 pm

    Fatty, I’m a big fan of Doctor Who. And a quote here comes to mind:

    The sky is full of a million million voices, saying, “Yes of course. We’ll help.” You’ve touched so many lives, saved so many people. Did you think when your time came you’d really have to do more than just ask?

    I just want to say a note about “Fundraise”. I don’t think you need to run a contest. Many of us will donate just to help you out. But I understand not being overly comfortable with that. BUT, I also understand a more immediate need for the cash to pay for services being rendered now while Cigna are being words that I will not type here. So, a thought. Fundraise. And when Cigna’s head pops out of their rumps …. and they pay you back, then donate the money to LiveStrong, Kamp Kasem, whatever. Let the money serve a dual purpose. Fatty’s Army stands ready to take up arms at your side.

  64. Comment by lauren | 07.26.2012 | 10:35 pm

    Elden, as others have already said – you’ve done so much to help others so let us help you. It’s not a slippery slop to ask for a little help to keep your son in a treatment that’s working for him. He has every right to have a normal, healthy life and it make me so mad that an insurance company is going to deny him that. We all know that as soon as you have what you need, the donate button will magically disappear (to hopefully never appear again).

  65. Comment by KanyonKris | 07.27.2012 | 12:09 am

    Elden, if you don’t do a fundraiser one of us will (looks like Papa Bear was first). Priority #1 is keeping him in the program.

    As mentioned, see if the folks at the program will give you a discount given the Cigna situation. Then get the money to pay for it fast and easy = fundraiser.

    I can understand you want to give people something (eg. a book) but I say don’t wait, let’s raise the money now. If you really feel like giving something for the cause, raffle one of your bikes, if there’s one you could part with.

    Is IndieGoGo the best way to do a fundraiser?

  66. Comment by Tony | 07.27.2012 | 12:23 am

    Will T6 create a “Fight Depression Ride A Bike” tshirt with proceeds going towards treatment costs for your son? I’d buy one.

    Also, I’d buy the Fight like Susan book.

    You’re a good man, we’re here for you.

  67. Comment by Grant | 07.27.2012 | 12:58 am

    I like the presale idea. And I’m sure if you set a “minimum” price, we would be able to chip in a bit extra… (please make electronic version available!)

  68. Comment by Grant | 07.27.2012 | 12:59 am

    … also like the comment above from Tony about “fight depression, ride a bike”

  69. Comment by Kari | 07.27.2012 | 2:18 am

    I agree with several of the options given as well as ideas posted in comments:
    -He is your son, break the rules and do a fundraiser. This is a matter of “help him heal,” if it were “line Fatty’s pockets” then it would be a differenT matter so don’t feel bad. Just go for it!
    -Sell Susan’s book with an added ending (maybe with a “written by guest author, Fatty” disclaimer)
    -presell your own book by all means! Hard copy, digital, deluxe with authors signature, whatever you can do! All versions work for us and we will buy them & in multiples!
    -I like the idea of selling/auctioning a bike or other equipment you aren’t quite so fond of since upgrading to sleeker & lighter gear. You could always raise the price that much more for signed, authenticated “Sports relic belonging to famous blogger-cyclist Eldon Nelson” I’m sure you could dig up something out of the garage, basement, backyard or even a friends stuff even if they have to sell it to you for a lowered rate specifically for the purpose of reselling and the profit goes to Brice’s care
    -another 100MoN or similar specifically for fighting depression
    -ask for donated items then raffle those or auction them. Plenty if friends, family, riding buddies or just us readers would donate or buy raffle tickets at the very least.

    It doesn’t matter which one you choose or how many. We will help. You have done so much for the cancer community; karma has come back around and all you have to do is open up the way for the reward to come through to you.

  70. Comment by Tommysmo | 07.27.2012 | 5:01 am

    I like the idea of selling Susan’s unfinished novel. You could even set up a blog site where people create their own endings!

    I’d pre-order Fight Like Susan. Planned to buy it anyway.

    Anyone got Fatty’s snail-mail address? Just send him cash with no return address and the specific instruction that the cash be used for his son. Just remember to wrap the cash in a piece of paper so it’s not visible through the envelope.

  71. Comment by Tommysmo | 07.27.2012 | 5:06 am

    Oh yeah. If you haven’t bought Comedian Mastermind by Elden Nelson, do so. This adds to Fatty’s income and makes covering his son’s expenses easier.

  72. Comment by pammap | 07.27.2012 | 5:16 am

    Fatty, even though you’ve been talking with HR, your company has an insurance agent/broker who sold them the policy but this means that they are now your insurance agent/broker.

    Rather than assume HR is relaying your story correctly, you can contact your insurance agent directly and get their help. Some are more willing to help than others but it might be worth a try.

    Insurance agents and carrier representatives run in the same circle, know each other well, and the agents know who has the clout, etc. If the agent is one that is less helpful than another, it would be a dead end. If they are a caring person, they could prove to be a great ally. Just another option.

  73. Comment by neca | 07.27.2012 | 5:41 am

    Fatty, There is already loads of good advice. I would agree that using multiple options is the way to go. I love 6 and 7. Let someone else do 5 if needed, etc.

    Do you have a legal plan at work? If so, contact an attorney through them and just sit down with questions. You don’t have to file a lawsuit (hopefully), but a good attorney might be able to provide you with additional insights and options.

    You and your famiily remain in my prayers. I hope this goes well and I’m glad to hear your son is improving. I can’t wait to read some post-Tour funny posts. Maybe you could write one on why exactly the American ambassador was dressed like he was going to wash his car rather than presenting the white jersey???

    Take care.

  74. Comment by Chris | 07.27.2012 | 5:55 am

    I would stay away from Option 5 but I thinking selling Susans book would be an incredible tribute to her and your family.

    You’re in my prayers.

  75. Comment by mwmike | 07.27.2012 | 5:57 am

    I know that you avoid politics like the plague, but the pain and suffering that you and millions of patients and family members are suffering is completely avoidable. We have the technology and we have the means. What we also have is greed. And until that changes, we have to rely on book sales, bake sales, car washes, etc. I feel for you – too bad the corrupt millionaires, billionaires, and corporations don’t.

  76. Comment by Tripod | 07.27.2012 | 6:18 am

    I think you should seriously consider option 5. As much $$$$ as you raise to help others, I think it is time others step up and help you. I will be in for whatever. Keep praying. Good Luck!!!!

  77. Comment by N | 07.27.2012 | 6:22 am

    I went through something similar with my son.I paid for his care out of pocket because the insurance wouldn’t cover it. Luckily, all the places I worked with had sliding fee scales. Unfortunately, the last place he was didn’t give the promised level of care. It can be very frustrating and I know you are not the only one in this position. Just a thought-but what if the fundraising was not just to help your child but to set up a fund for others in the same situation? Or maybe a percentage of the money you raise could be spent lobbying for change in the way mental health is covered by insurance. In this way you can help not only your own child but others struggling with mental illness. I’m a terrible fundraiser but this is cause I would help with any way I can. Feel free to email me if you want assistance. Good luck and hang in there. My struggle is not over but getting better. I have no svaings but an steadily getting out of debt.

  78. Comment by Deb Mc | 07.27.2012 | 6:32 am

    Fatty, we all want to help. Please let us.

  79. Comment by Tes | 07.27.2012 | 7:21 am

    Love this idea:

    Comment by Tony | 07.27.2012 | 12:23 am

    Will T6 create a “Fight Depression Ride A Bike” tshirt with proceeds going towards treatment costs for your son? I’d buy one.

    I’d buy the gear, the book and whatever else I can do to help your son. I’ll even design it if T6 can’t take it on.

  80. Comment by Dave | 07.27.2012 | 7:24 am

    Fatty has done so much good for so many people I think it is our turn to do good for Fatty. What if a Fatty follower set up a fundraising site dedicated to raising money for Fatty’s son?

    I’m willing to set it up assuming there are no legal issues and we understand the tax issues that could come up for Fatty.

    Does anyone have anyone know what if any legal issues there would be? I have a decent handle on the tax side, but that would probably need to be discussed with Fatty himself.

  81. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 07.27.2012 | 7:34 am

    I understand your reluctance to do a fundraiser for yourself.

    My two cents. Susan left you a legacy, use it. Use it to help someone who was important for her. Take a look at “kick starter” ( lots of artists use that to preraise funds to do a project. Seems like this would fit nicely into that.

    I love the t-shirt idea if the guys at Twin Six would do that. Heck, I’d over pay for that T-shirt. Bike jersey would be super too.

  82. Comment by Mike Griswold | 07.27.2012 | 7:35 am

    I would happily support options 5,6,and 7.

  83. Comment by Erik Stoneham | 07.27.2012 | 7:42 am

    A novel without an ending. I would read it, understanding that the writer died while writing it is fine. Adds a real emotion to the book. Good luck fatty. We are here for you !

  84. Comment by BigShorty | 07.27.2012 | 7:43 am

    Option #1 – SCRAP – They only REALLY care about money.
    Option #2 – Hope/Wish/Pray
    Option #3 – SCRAP – Only the lawyers really win.
    Option #4 – Last ditch effort
    Option #5 – Not the worst idea.
    Options #6 & #7 – Wouldn’t Susan love the idea that her work, fight, efforts could help her family after she is gone? I’d buy the pre-order in a minute and her book when it hit the shelves.

    I saw the tweet about Paul and Bucky. I’m also doing the 50 mile route for Pedal the Cause. I’m am the epitome of a true “fat cyclist” and can now add the fear of finishing after a 9 year old to my training motivation. I saw them ride the Original Tour de Donut in 2011….I have my work cut out!

    Big Shorty
    Pedal the Cause rider #14712

  85. Comment by Tim Joe Comstock | 07.27.2012 | 7:58 am

    One thousand friends is a lot, Elden, and you seem to have more than that. I am, however, wondering if Little E is reading all this and what he makes of it. I also am clinically diagnosed bipolar and off my meds and let me make sure that everybody knows this: being crazy hurts. It hurts a lot and nothing tastes right and it never stops hurting and aspirin won’t fix it. Riding and writing helps me but it still hurts. My treatment options ran out a long time ago and I ask for no sympathy, I have learned to embrace the pain. Anger helps but it makes for a lonely life and a lot of carnage.
    I have little to offer, but I offer this: shoot me the rough draft of Susan’s book and ten days later I will send it back and it will be a wondrous creation that will make your readers laugh and cry and dance and sing and then, while everything will still not be alright, it will maybe be a little bit better.

    And tell your son he has a friend in Florida.


  86. Comment by Patrick | 07.27.2012 | 8:14 am

    Let us help you Fatty, if you want to keep it seperate from here, that’s cool, just do a tweet with your paypal details and let us pay what we can to help you.

    And tell Cigna to go F themselves.

  87. Comment by Gillian | 07.27.2012 | 8:16 am

    I haven’t read the preceding eight-some comments, so forgive if I repeat.

    #1 An editor could tidy up and finish Susan’s novel for publication. Everyone here would buy it like crazy, I hope you know.
    #2 Ditto with presales of your book. Selling these two books would be a fundraiser ish way to do it. Set a price for the books like you did with Comedian Mastermind – the poor folks’ price, the price for those who can afford to give a bit more, and then maybe do a write in price. Those that have means would happily write in a high dollar figure, I’m sure. We have all lost people to cancer. We all owe you for the work you’ve done for Livestrong.
    #3 Keep up the fight. I don’t know how Brice would feel about you using the media to your advantage, but perhaps you could, to put some pressure. Again, this would be for Brice, but ALSO for all of us who have had crappy insurance companies fail us in our time of need. (Me? Cigna, failing to pay for my 3 yo’s needed glasses. His eyes were crossing, but oh no! United, another company, also failed to pay when I broke my back in a fall down some stairs, because when the 911 operator sent an ambulance, they had the gall to send one that was out of network!) It’s tough when you have a son who is virtually an adult – it’s his story as much as yours – but cancer isn’t the only blight in this country. Devious insurance practices are harming as many people as cancer. It’s as worthy a fight.

  88. Comment by off-roadie | 07.27.2012 | 8:22 am

    Fight Like Susan and Susan’s unfinished novel would be a powerful read together. Knowing the story of her fight, and what was going on as she wrote the words…I’m about to cry just thinking about it.

    Also, rock the fund raiser dude. What goes around, comes around; you have sent a lot of good around.

  89. Comment by Bill H-D | 07.27.2012 | 8:25 am

    What about a fundraiser for the treatment facility that is treating your son? Perhaps they would agree to an arrangement whereby you use your considerable reach to spread the word about their work and help them raise money. Might they take this in trade for ongoing treatment?

    It would perhaps have the momentum of option 5, without the squick factor that I think you are concerned about.

  90. Comment by Daddio-O | 07.27.2012 | 9:14 am

    Forget about #3, use #5 last, but do all the others.

    You know Bill H-D has a good idea and if they are a non-profit then you might get people to donate who have companies that will match the donation. Mine does.

  91. Comment by Fat Cathy | 07.27.2012 | 9:21 am

    Hey Fatty

    Didn’t have time to read the gazillion responses, so forgive me if I’m repeating other answers:

    1. Wait to hear back from your HR before hiring a lawyer. If the answer is still no, then definitely find a good lawyer and go from there.

    You are going to need money for your son’s treatment or lawyer expenses no matter what happens, so in the meantime:

    2. Hire an editor/writer to finish and polish Susan’s book for publication. Self publish the e-book (saving yourself the costs of paper publishing) if you can’t get a publisher to take it. You know everyone here will buy a copy.

    3. Sell pre-orders of your ‘Fight like Susan’ book.

  92. Comment by Jenni | 07.27.2012 | 9:27 am

    Dude. Put one of your bikes on eBay. Then send us all the link. Then send it to Johann, Levi, Lance, and anyone else.

  93. Comment by cece | 07.27.2012 | 9:48 am

    I w ill support you whatever way or ways you choose.

  94. Comment by Clydesteve | 07.27.2012 | 9:55 am

    Fatty – I would buy a pre-order 2-book deal in a heartbeat.

  95. Comment by Michael | 07.27.2012 | 10:05 am

    2 suggestions:

    Is there a further appeal to the insurance commissioner in your state? When I had exhausted all appeals on mental health treatment for my son, I appealed to the D.C. insurance commissioner, as I had a right to do by law. In support of my appeal, I submitted voluminous medical records, and I merely made the point that my son’s doctors knew better than the insurance company what he needed. The insurer immediately wrote to me and to the insurance commissioner throwing in the towel (even though they had a good argument that the treatment was beyond what my coverage was – they just didn’t want to fight).

    Talking to a lawyer is also a good idea. When my insurer tried to cut back on my own mental health treatment some years earlier, I, as a lawyer, researched the law and determined that my insurer was not complying with D.C. law re utilization reviews of mental health treatment. I wrote the insurance commissioner complaining of this violation of law. As a result of my complaint, my insurer eventually wrote to the insurance commissioner saying it was discontinuing utilization review of mental health treatment in D.C. They never bothered me again. You would need a layer to know what your legal rights are.

  96. Comment by Maile in Florida | 07.27.2012 | 10:09 am

    I’d pre-buy Fight Like Susan in a heartbeat.

    I’d have to think about Susan’s unfinished novel, because I’d much rather see it finished, edited, accepted by a commercial publisher, and on the NYTimes bestseller list. With all the self-pubbed novels out now, I’m afraid it might get lost in the noise if you self-pub it. But if that’s your decision, I’m sure in the end I would support it.

  97. Comment by Kim | 07.27.2012 | 10:20 am

    Love Tony’s idea about the T6 t-shirt. I’d buy several.

    Skip the lawsuit for now. Lots of $$ and LONG battle.

    Options 5, 6, and 7!

  98. Comment by Jim | 07.27.2012 | 10:44 am

    Fatty, pre-sale your posts/book about Susan’s fight with cancer, and her novel. Put up a PayPal account today, and let us give back. I can’t think of a better place for $50-75, heck I’ve spent more on way less important causes. Finish the manuscripts when you can, without extra pressure or stress. Let us help, we are aching to do so!.

  99. Comment by Christina | 07.27.2012 | 10:44 am

    I say partner with The Blogess and Regretsy to take down Cigna in amazing fashion, the same way Regretsy took down PayPal. I say The Blogess, because she has been so open about her own battle with mental disease. I like a good public shaming. You give so much to us for free, why not let us go to bat for you?

    That said, I’m hoping the plan with HR works.

    I’m also really hoping you sell Susan’s book. She is so inspiring and I bet the book is fantastic. I was also planning on purchasing your book about Susan. The parts you posted earlier brought me to tears.

    And, I’m a whore for t-shirts, especially Twin 6 t-shirts. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses their health coverage” has broad appeal.

    Keep fighting, like you always do. Are you okay? It seems like you’re always holding someone up. I want to make sure someone is holding you up. Stay strong.

  100. Comment by Jim | 07.27.2012 | 10:52 am

    Just read most of the other posts…

    I’d buy a special edition t-shirt, pre-pre-sale digital copies inthe book(s), and pre-sale copies of the book(s) in a heartbeat. You can follow up with raffle, eBay, fundraiser as well.

  101. Comment by Jodi | 07.27.2012 | 11:11 am

    During one of my stays at your place, Susan asked me to read her novel. I did.

    It is awesome. As is, it is awesome. I was totally captivated, and not in a “I have to finish this because Susan wants me to” way. It was “I have to finish this because WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?” And I do think it’s resolved enough. Not entirely tied up, but that’s ok. The major points are resolved.

    Put it out there for sure. No question. And let everyone help because that is the caliber of your audience. Lucky you.

  102. Comment by Shawn McAfee | 07.27.2012 | 11:34 am

    Fatty, I read your blog every day. You even helped inspire my own site.

    I am so sorry to hear about your son and the mess that Cigna has created.

    I do online marketing for some small businesses and I believe that you should really push for the last option. To pre-sell Fight Like Susan. I highly recommend that you visit and check it out.

    I’m sure you already know about what they do there, but they will make it incredibly easy to pre-sell the book. They also have a huge audience that just browses the causes and starter projects on the site, this could end up helping as well.

    Best of luck, your family is in my prayers.

  103. Comment by Paula Webb | 07.27.2012 | 11:36 am

    I would offer a variation of 3. Go Nuclear. In a way, you have already done that by letting us know. Now let everyone else. Corporations, insurance companies in particular, hate bad press. Call anyone you know in the media and get this on air. People will scream bloody murder. You can also have people flood their Facebook and Twitter, which helps in some cases too.

  104. Comment by FatJeff | 07.27.2012 | 12:16 pm

    Pre-Sale of Fight Like Susan. I’m in. for 2 copies. Just show us where & when.

  105. Comment by Christina | 07.27.2012 | 3:17 pm

    Can we call it “100 Miles of Somewhere”? That makes it feel more hopeful for this one.

    I’m bipolar. I’m also bicycling. I’m also glad that Cigna hasn’t cut my med coverage, because without that magic pill I am 30%normal, 35%manic and 35%depressed. That 70% is hell on my family, my work, my life. I’ve done reckless things while manic and spent days in bed while depressed. It’s crippling, the same way as if I had some other disease that people are okay talking about.

  106. Comment by hartofak | 07.28.2012 | 8:28 am

    Oh, pre-sell for sure. We’re in.

  107. Comment by Jac | 07.28.2012 | 11:01 am

    Fatty, I have way too much experience with both cancer and depression so I say:

    Do whatever is necessary to endure your son gets the very best treatment for him!

    I will buy/pre-buy books & t-shirts, contribute to NAMI in honor of your son and all who are faced with mental health issues and support fundraisers that provide nothing more than the knowledge I am thanking you for supporting and giving me another avenue to support causes very close to my heart.

    Fight, Fight, Fight!

  108. Comment by Miles Archer | 07.28.2012 | 5:01 pm

    Sometimes the insurance company does the right thing:

    Continued good luck…

  109. Comment by Cat_Rancher | 07.29.2012 | 4:44 pm

    Pre-order, for sure– you already have your product and a publisher, so there you go.

    I agree with Christina that 100 Miles of Nowhere is not the greatest anti-depression slogan, although a fundraiser is good. My idea is to have the riders complete the most challenging uphill in their area, as that is a better metaphor for fighting depression– maybe people could wear your son’s favorite color and/or take pictures at the top? To offset the uncomfortableness, maybe people could donate matching funds to a local mental health care facility? That could create an awesome amount of local good!

    My dad had great success with having a lawyer help him negotiate the “legalese” of the hospital system, and was able to cut his bills by over half as an uninsured small farmer with Stage 4 colon cancer. That lawyer also made sure my mom did not lose the family farm to pay the remaining bills after my dad died. It can’t hurt to just talk to someone about it.

    Just the ramblings of a crazy cat lady… YMMV

  110. Comment by Al | 07.30.2012 | 4:52 am

    Hey Fatty

    I’d preorder. Both because I admire what you do here and because I hate depression like we all hate cancer. 4 years ago my wife was diagnosed with depression; 3 years ago she moved out. Our two boys, then 9 and 12 stayed with me; 2 years ago, the boys started living half the time with her (good) which means they only live with me half the time now (bad); two years ago we had to sell our family home.

    Of course, as you and others know, this story doesn’t begin to tell what the disease is like and how it can destroy lives and take away joy. Nor what it means to love someone with illness and hope every time you see a smile that it is real and not fake and that it signals a return to health.

    You are a kind, generous and modest guy and you have had more than your share of bad stuff happen from what I can see. Even with the blessings of your great kids and the Hammer, it’s still unfair.

    So, dude, how much are these books gonna be :-)

  111. Comment by Christina | 07.30.2012 | 9:37 am

    Ooh, I like the hill climb idea!

  112. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 07.30.2012 | 11:18 am

    I’m totally down with options 5, 6, and 7. I understand the tough call with fundraising for yourself, but it is for your son – not you. And I kind of think you deserve a little help for helping so many others over the years. I also think it’s really sweet that Susan’s book or your book could not only accomplish their original intents but also help your son. How cool is that? So go for it. One or all of the above. :)

  113. Comment by Laura | 08.6.2012 | 1:30 am

    I don’t know how open to this you are, but it seems like there has been some small successes with people petitioning insurance companies through I don’t know if it’s just the public shame element, or what, but even if its just a chance…

    My own parents went through a similar battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield when I needed a fairly long-term inpatient treatment program for depression when I was 20. Like you, we had hit “final appeal”, but my mom had called one of our senators and gotten his office involved. Thankfully, he intervened and BCBS approved treatment that day.

    God bless. I know how crippling it is to live with depression, and I have seen how frustrating and paralyzing it is for the loved ones of the depressed person. Your son is lucky to have such a strong anchor in you.

  114. Comment by Tommysmo | 08.8.2012 | 6:43 am

    Just got my copy of comedien mastermind in the mail! My little contribution to “Cigna sux, support fatty’s son” campaign. And, I’ll get to be entertained!


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