Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The Cost of Cancer!
Today was one of those days where the 'other side of cancer' (the financial side) really hit me as I reflected back a year ago when I was spending most of my days in bed in between chemo treatments, nausea and sleep. A time when the only vision I had was one of getting through my days one hour at a time, being able to eat more than 3 bites of mashed potatoes for dinner and figuring out a new remedy for that damn nausea.
Fast forward a year and you would have found me not in bed, but briskly walking through our house with boxes, odds and ends in my hands, directing friends between rooms and loading our belongings into the moving van and car over the past few weeks. I knew these days were coming and I somehow managed to hold it together just long enough to get through the scurry of people and boxes that were loaded into the van and taken to our new home - storage unit #888. The reality of the 'why' behind the move would swirl through my heart and mind, but frankly, I have been starting to feel a sense of financial relief.
So this is it, the cost of cancer. And no matter what your political views and opinions are about our nation's current state of health care, all I can think of is that I made it. I'm alive. The medical bills have piled up, the credit card companies are calling several times a day (from Florida & Texas to be exact!), the anesthesiology bills are still outstanding but honestly, I'm just grateful to be here.
Don't get me wrong - tears have been shed (many tears!) with my new reality of having to move out of our home, putting our belongings into storage and moving into my mom's house in order to afford our lives. But it became necessary. Not exactly what I envisioned at my age. I am an educated person, I have 3 degrees, a state license in Speech & Language Pathology and a national certification. My entrepreneurial spirit has always driven me to new heights, hence the 'major medical' health insurance coverage I have instead of full, fancy employee coverage. I don't regret my professional choices or the $800/month that we pay for 25%-50% medical coverage. My plastic surgeon didn't take insurance like all of the others but I'm forever thankful to him (just paid him off last month!) and for my new healthy girls. I have written grants and worked from bed falling asleep with my laptop on my legs, but I still managed to work, secure a grant and bring in some additional income in the midst of meds and nausea. Hil had to compromise her work and income as well in order to take care of me in the way I needed and the way she wanted.
BUT (yes, here it comes) - I'M ALIVE! I kicked cancer's a$$ - 3 TIMES!! I'm alive to write this post. I'm alive to pack boxes and move out of my house. I'm alive to call the anesthesiologist back to see if they'll work with me on my debt. Most of all, I'm beyond grateful that I have my health, I'm in remission, I have great friends and family, we have my mom's house and many new roofs over our heads to stay in and some much needed time to decompress and digest the past 18 months. AND, I have Hil. I have everything I need.
So, I leave you with what I hear my mom's voice saying repeatedly in my head these past few weeks, Is it that things are falling apart or falling into place?
I'd like to think that they're falling into place. Because even though the cost of cancer is huge, having my life and my health back, is priceless.