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Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« on: November 20, 2019, 08:18:53 pm »
Long story short, I had a CT scan and it came back as suspicious. My doctor said it was a 50 per cent chance it is lymphoma. With my symptoms presenting as lymphoma, I fear it will be too. I had a biopsy done yesterday. The results will come back next week. If it is cancer, I want to leave Korea ASAP--like the next day ASAP. My healthcare back home is free, I don't want to wait any longer for treatment, and I don't want to go through this with out my family.

This might sound hypochondria-cal but I am gearing up for the worst-case-scenario. How do I leave Korea ASAP and still get things like pension and severance? I've worked here for for 2 years and 7 months at the same school. If I need to leave Korea without much notice, will I not be eligible for such things?

Thanks for the advice!


Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 09:19:13 pm »
Really sorry to hear about this.  You know what is best for you and by the sounds of it you are ready to fight it head-on with the help of your family, IF the results are not good.

I think your school will understand if you explain it to them.  You won't have time to work notice, but as it's the end of the year, teaching is fairly inconsequential now.  Severance should be easy to fix as it can be transferred to your Korean account and then you can get it transferred to your home account.  Pension may take longer as you may have to apply for it when you are back home, as usually you have to go in person to the tax office and then your school will provide your employment pension termination letter and then it's done after.  But if you leave in the next two weeks, that may not be possible.  But it is very possible to do it from home, but it takes longer.

Thoughts!!  :-*  Hope it all goes okay and not as worst-case scenario as you think.  :-*


Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2019, 09:27:57 pm »
Thanks so much for your advice & kind words <3

I suspected it might take longer to get the money but that's not a problem right now. I do hope I am worrying for nothing and I'm able to finish this contract through.

Thanks again!


  • Cohort 2019
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2019, 01:38:46 am »
Sorry to hear, what did the doctors say? Was it discovered while it was in its early stages?
incumbo studiis


  • KimDuHan
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2019, 01:45:42 am »
Long story short, I had a CT scan and it came back as suspicious. My doctor said it was a 50 per cent chance it is lymphoma. With my symptoms presenting as lymphoma, I fear it will be too. I had a biopsy done yesterday. The results will come back next week. If it is cancer, I want to leave Korea ASAP--like the next day ASAP. My healthcare back home is free, I don't want to wait any longer for treatment, and I don't want to go through this with out my family.

This might sound hypochondria-cal but I am gearing up for the worst-case-scenario. How do I leave Korea ASAP and still get things like pension and severance? I've worked here for for 2 years and 7 months at the same school. If I need to leave Korea without much notice, will I not be eligible for such things?

Thanks for the advice!

Are you sure your healthcare is still active in your home country?

Canada has usually like a 3-6 month period where expats returning pay out of pocket. Id check your country to make sure you dont get stuck paying the bills.


  • JNM
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2019, 02:19:17 am »
Long story short, I had a CT scan and it came back as suspicious. My doctor said it was a 50 per cent chance it is lymphoma. With my symptoms presenting as lymphoma, I fear it will be too. I had a biopsy done yesterday. The results will come back next week. If it is cancer, I want to leave Korea ASAP--like the next day ASAP. My healthcare back home is free, I don't want to wait any longer for treatment, and I don't want to go through this with out my family.

This might sound hypochondria-cal but I am gearing up for the worst-case-scenario. How do I leave Korea ASAP and still get things like pension and severance? I've worked here for for 2 years and 7 months at the same school. If I need to leave Korea without much notice, will I not be eligible for such things?

Thanks for the advice!

Are you sure your healthcare is still active in your home country?

Canada has usually like a 3-6 month period where expats returning pay out of pocket. Id check your country to make sure you dont get stuck paying the bills.
... Saskatchewan allows returning residents to qualify right away.


  • KimDuHan
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 04:15:41 am »
Long story short, I had a CT scan and it came back as suspicious. My doctor said it was a 50 per cent chance it is lymphoma. With my symptoms presenting as lymphoma, I fear it will be too. I had a biopsy done yesterday. The results will come back next week. If it is cancer, I want to leave Korea ASAP--like the next day ASAP. My healthcare back home is free, I don't want to wait any longer for treatment, and I don't want to go through this with out my family.

This might sound hypochondria-cal but I am gearing up for the worst-case-scenario. How do I leave Korea ASAP and still get things like pension and severance? I've worked here for for 2 years and 7 months at the same school. If I need to leave Korea without much notice, will I not be eligible for such things?

Thanks for the advice!

Are you sure your healthcare is still active in your home country?

Canada has usually like a 3-6 month period where expats returning pay out of pocket. Id check your country to make sure you dont get stuck paying the bills.
... Saskatchewan allows returning residents to qualify right away.

Case by case but can be upto 3 months in Saskatchewan too.

https://www.ehealthsask.ca/residents/health-cards/Pages/Eligibility-for-Health-Benefits.aspx


  • zola
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 08:17:19 am »
Would your home country really turn you away? "Sorry, we know you have a cancer diagnosis, but you have to wait 3-6 months."

One of the guys who posts here, Forever Paradise, had a lymphoma diagnosis while living and teaching here in Korea. He actually decided to stay and get treatment here. He went back to Canada after the initial treatment and I believe he had follow up treatment there also. Maybe he'll see this post and chime in.

Like others said, you are absolutely eligible for severance, for the more than 2 years worked. If your school has any sort of conscious they will deal with all of that for you and just transfer it to your bank with minimal fuss. Do you have international transfer set up for your bank account here?

zizivee28, I really hope everything will be ok and you get some good news.

Kpip! - Martin 2018


  • CaitV
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2019, 09:52:00 am »
zizivee28, this sucks and I'm so sorry you are experiencing this :(

I had a similar situation in Novemeber 2015, got really sick and had a tumour in my abdomen they suspected was ovarian cancer.  I returned to Canada  for treatment even though I'd been out of the country for almost a year and a half. My health card hadn't expired yet and even though they knew I'd been living out of country, the hospital I received treatment at never made a fuss about it. If your health card hasn't expired yet, I'm sure your hospital won't care either.

I was given 2 weeks of paid sick leave, and then 2 weeks of unpaid sick leave, and after that the school terminated my contract even though I had 3 months left on it. I still got severance pay and the exit allowance I think. Severance based on the year I'd already completed. My school was really great and they transferred the money directly into my Canadian bank account, as I had closed my Korean account before leaving. I had to go in person to the pension office, but I got my refund after 2 months without any issues.

I don't think you have anything to worry about with regards to severance and pension, so I hope your mind is a little at ease with regards to that. And I really hope you get good results on your biopsy :)


Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2019, 12:10:43 pm »
Thank you all for your replies.

I don't know what stage I would be diagnosed at--if I'm diagnosed at all. I just know that the doctor didn't want to say it was 100 per cent cancer without a biopsy but he also told me that it wasn't looking good.

My sister spoke to telehealth for me. Reading between the lines the nurse said that as long as I don't mention how long I've been gone for and if my health card is still valid everything should be okay.

CaitV, I'm happy to hear you're doing better. Were you in Ontario?

Thank you all for the kind words <3

« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 12:20:58 pm by zizivee28 »


  • kyndo
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2019, 12:36:31 pm »
   I'm really sorry to hear it.  :sad:
  I hope that the tests turn out negative!

  Just to reiterate what some posters have already mentioned, make sure that your health care status in your home country is 'active'. Many places require you to be home for a period of time before you're covered.

   Also, here in Korea, I've noticed that doctors tend to trot out their worst case scenarios much faster than back home. Hopefully this is just another example of that tendency!


  • KimDuHan
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2019, 04:08:54 am »
Thank you all for your replies.

I don't know what stage I would be diagnosed at--if I'm diagnosed at all. I just know that the doctor didn't want to say it was 100 per cent cancer without a biopsy but he also told me that it wasn't looking good.

My sister spoke to telehealth for me. Reading between the lines the nurse said that as long as I don't mention how long I've been gone for and if my health card is still valid everything should be okay.

CaitV, I'm happy to hear you're doing better. Were you in Ontario?

Thank you all for the kind words <3



I would check if your card is valid before going back. It might be better to get some treatment in Korea first that can hinder the spreading of the possible cancer before risking it all in your home country.

One wrong answer to a doctor could cause a series of problems.

Ex: Where did you notice the problem?

In Korea?

Did you have travelers insurance?

No, national insurance?

How long were you there?

Did you notify your state/province of your leave?

On and on, etc..


  • CaitV
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2019, 09:38:44 am »
Thank you all for your replies.

I don't know what stage I would be diagnosed at--if I'm diagnosed at all. I just know that the doctor didn't want to say it was 100 per cent cancer without a biopsy but he also told me that it wasn't looking good.

My sister spoke to telehealth for me. Reading between the lines the nurse said that as long as I don't mention how long I've been gone for and if my health card is still valid everything should be okay.

CaitV, I'm happy to hear you're doing better. Were you in Ontario?

Thank you all for the kind words <3



Yes, I was in Ontario :) I was treated at the Juravinski Cancer Center in Hamilton, they were great. And I fully told them I had been living in Korea for a year, because they ask if you've been outside the country in the last month. But since my health card was still active they really didn't care.

Also, as some of the others on here have mentioned, some doctors here are a little over-zealous in their diagnoses, so you might want to get a second opinion or talk to telehealth or your family doctor back home about what tests you did and the results. See if you can get copies of the results, sometimes the important information is in English but the numbers can be helpful too.

The doctor I went to in Korea did an ultrasound and a blood-test and said I had 2 types of cancer and would probably need chemo, when in actuality all she could tell was I had a growth in my abdomen and there were tumour markers in my blood test. They couldn't biopsy without risking it rupturing, so I kinda was in this maybeee you have cancer, maybe you don't state of limbo for a month and a half. Turned out my tumour was benign, I didn't need chemo, I had surgery on Christmas eve and was back in Korea for the start of the new school year lol 


  • CaitV
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Re: Might Need To Leave Korea - Cancer Diagnosis
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2019, 09:46:11 am »
Also, I registered with the Canadian embassy when I first moved here as a Canadian living abroad, you fill out a form on a government website, and yeah even with that and telling my doctors I had been living in Korea for over a year, my health card was still accepted no problem :)