Monday, December 17, 2012

Some bittersweet results...

My mom saved 3 binders worth of bills, results, insurance claims, temperature readings, notes, blood counts, medication, etc, while I was sick. Most of it I have to say though was bills. They are somewhere hidden in the attic at my parent's home, and I will look at them someday. They were packed away with everything else that I didn't want to remember. Funny enough, I think about it everyday.

I spoke with a client at work the other day who was having trouble keeping up with his auto policies. He confided in me that he was stressed because they found lesions on his liver, and that he had already gone through cancer treatment in the past. I felt an instant connection. You get that with other survivors, I can't explain it. Anyway, my heart sank as he was sharing his story with me. I wanted so badly to say, "I sort of know how you're feeling". I cried for my entire drive home from work that day. I haven't stopped thinking about him. Has it really come down to car insurance or CT scans? He literally had to make that choice. Is it radiation or rent? Chemo or the phone bill? Sadly, for many people, cancer makes those decisions really easy. You can't say "no, I'll skip chemo this week because At&T really needs a payment." It's not that easy. Cancer doesn't care, and as much as I love my oncologist and the nursing staff, they can't give out free treatment. Worst of all, your insurance company really doesn't care either. "Oh ma'am, that's not covered. Sorry, those shots really are 7K a piece". How can it be that hard? A cancer diagnosis is hard enough itself. What most people probably don't realize is that cancer patients and survivors are also battling it out financially. Back when I was going through treatment, I'd arrive for chemo, and they tell my mom that if we don't pay 2K today, I can't receive my treatment. It happened almost every time. It's nearly impossible to keep up with finances that come along with cancer as well as your everyday finances. To this day, I struggle with my health care finances, and I'm perfectly healthy. 

I was beyond stressed today. You know, the usual: crying at work, shaking on my ride to work, losing all color in my face, pulse racing all day, sick to my stomach. I had to go for blood work today. It's just not getting any easier for me. It's just as scary as it was the first time. I don't know if it will ever get easy. I can barely type right now as I'm trying not to tear up. Besides my anxiety about my results, I also have anxiety about my 2K balance at my oncology center. "Katherine, we really need you to start paying $700/month so you can continue to come here." "Um, don't you know I'm paying off my student loans? I have rent due... phone also... and oh yeah, groceries, gas, insurance and utilities! Can't you just let me defer it?" "No, that's not how it works, sorry." Every time I open my mailbox my heart drops because I am scared of getting more bills. I get bills from radiology centers, from the company who bought out my chemo center, from my chemo center, and for my doctors! I'm not even sick. I don't have an extra 2K lying around, and really, who does in this economy? Not a day goes by that I am not reminded how lucky i am. I am so grateful to be healthy and happy. I am also beyond grateful that I was awarded a grant in 2008 from The SAMFund. That grant really changed my life. That grant helped pay down my residual medical bills so that I could continue my post-treatment scans. That grant bought me this laptop that I am typing on right now so that I could graduate on time and have access to the programs I needed for my design degree. That grant gave me a gym membership so that I could strengthen myself after treatment. That grant did so much more than you could ever imagine. That grant gives you hope. I know you all know how involved I am with The SAMFund, but I really felt that by me sharing these intimate details about my financial worries and stress, that it might help you even better understand how important it The SAMFund is. Not only for me, but for every young adult survivor out there. I know during these holidays that it is a time for giving. I know we are all out shopping for the perfect gift. I ask that you consider making a donation to our online campaign and help me reach my goal. I am living proof of the impact that that money has on people. That money that you donate changes lives- it helps survivors pay their co-pays, their rent, their utilities, it helps with family planning options, insurance, among many other things. Survivors have gone through such a traumatic experience, let's help raise money that will in turn reduce their stress and help them move forward and take their lives back, back from cancer.

This is my campaign page. My goal is to raise 1K by New Year's Eve. Every penny counts. Please help me reach that goal.

Thank you everyone, I appreciate your support that you have always given me.


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