The Cost Of Cancer 10-6-16 (reblogged from 10-6-14)

I happened to watch a segment on the escalating cost of cancer last night on 60 minutes. According to the doctor who was being interviewed the average person fighting cancer can not afford to fight to stay alive. Why? Because the drug companies charge an unprecedented amount of money for the drugs needed to fight cancer. In addition, some health care providers receive a commission for prescribing the medications. The doctor shared one of the number one causes for filing bankruptcy is health care debt that stem from co-pays and out of pocket expense. The segment talked about how many families have lost their homes and lively hood from trying to fight cancer.
In July when I was home in Washington visiting my family, I met with the patient coordinator in Wenatchee. I had hoped I could transfer my care so I could be closer to my family. The patient coordinator shared the cost of my treatment would more than likely leave me bankrupt. She went on to explain how she had seen so many families lose their homes and lively hood after fighting cancer. She encouraged me to continue my treatment in California. She said I was so lucky unlike so many others. She explained the coverage I’m receiving in California would never be a luxury I would receive at home. The cost of the drugs is so phenomenal and unaffordable. I have been fortunate to be living in the state of California. I have insurance through Covered California (Obama care) and through the grace of god, I qualified for a program through the state that is covering my expenses after insurance. The program did not become effective until June. I was diagnosed in April and already have expenses that have left my finances in disarray, but I have to thank god for the program. Especially since my treatment includes chemo, radiation and infusions for a year.

A few days ago, I happened to see my explanation of benefits. My chemo treatments have been billed out at over $11,000 each, however my last treatment was billed at over $14,000. I still have 2 chemo treatments left. The 10th day after each chemo treatment, I am required to go in and have my finger poked to check my blood counts. Those visits are billed out at $4,500. It’s my understanding that radiation and the Herceptin drug I will have to receive every 3 weeks for the next year are more expensive than the chemo drugs. Why? Because they are a “newer” drug. I have been told my radiation treatment will cost well over $35,000. I don’t even want to know the cost of Herceptin or the cost of surgery to have my port removed when I’ve completed treatment. To date, the cost of fighting cancer has cost over $165,000 and I’m not even close to being done. Fighting cancer comes with many other side effects and additional expenses not included in the cost of treatment that can be very costly. Prescriptions, acupuncture and massage to help with the body aches, wigs, lotions to help with the dry skin, counseling….the list goes on. It infuriates me that we live in a health care system that is more concerned with money than saving a persons life. As a country we send billions of dollars to help other countries. If our country could reserve some of those dollars to help our own, especially those fighting cancer, maybe more patients could afford to fight to live. If you think about it, as patients fight cancer to live, they end up destitute and sometimes worse, homeless. Where is the benefit in that?!!! Our health care system sucks sometimes!!!!

I’m lucky and I know it but my heart goes out to the families who are fighting cancer and do not have the help that I have been so fortunate to be blessed with. I can’t work. I’m financially strapped and I’m struggling to pay the medical expenses Ive incurred but I’m not homeless. Thank god. I have food to eat and I’m receiving the treatment I so desperately need to fight this disease. After watching last nights segment, I can only hope that when I beat this cancer, I’m able to help others in need. Cancer sucks but not as much as the greedy drug companies do. I complain a lot. I feel sorry for myself a lot and I miss my family a lot. I’d love nothing’s more than to go home but after seeing the cost of my treatment and watching last nights 60 Minutes, I have to tell myself it would take a miracle, either that or a Publishers Clearing House check made out to “Fighting Cancer”.

Next time you’re at Safeway and they ask if you’d like to donate to MS, Cancer or anything medically related say yes if the money is going to a program that will assist families in covering the cost of health care. A dollar goes a long way to helping others. I’m not sure that I would like to donate to these drug companies anymore. They are greedy and more concerned with money opposed to other peoples life!!!! But that’s only my opinion. I’m free to think what I want to think and so are you.

Going Salsa 9-28-14

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer my partner has behaved rather aloof towards me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s taken me to all of my chemo appointments but he’s been very distant. In fact, I have felt on many occasions he no longer finds me attractive. Besides the insults, the temper tantrums when it comes to wearing my wig, my partner has gone out of his way to blatantly check out other women when we are out. And not just any women, he is infatuated with young girls in their 20’s. He has gone out of his way to slow down while we are in the car and gawk every time he sees a young woman wearing a short skirt or dress. I’m not going to lie, it has been very hurtful. The other night we were on our way home. There was a young woman in her 20’s getting in her car. She was wearing an extremely short dress. My partner not only slowed down to look, he stopped the car and stared. He must have accidentally taken his foot off the break because the car began to move forward while he was still staring and he nearly hit a pedestrian. I was nothing short of insulted!!!!

Last night on our way home from seeing the Motown Musical, rather than driving home, we kept driving around the block at Union Square. The entire time my partner was slowing down to gawk at all the young girls in their 20’s wearing short dresses. I had finally had enough so when I saw 2 young girls in their 20’s wearing short dresses walking towards us on the sidewalk, I blurted out “here come 2 young girls wearing short dresses! You better look!” My partners blurted out “where?!” When he came to his senses he asked me what I was trying to say. I explained that I felt it was very inappropriate, rude and disrespectful towards me for him to continually be so blatant about checking out other women. Especially young ladies in their 20’s. His response was “I’m not blind and you’ll just have to deal with it!” He didn’t deny it at first however when I asked him how he would feel if I was doing the same, his response took a turn. He began to call me names, he insulted me and even accused me of being a liar and a manipulator. I kept my cool. I didn’t argue. When we got home I explained to my partner that he was free to gawk & lust over whoever he wanted and I was free to voice how I felt about the situation. I explained to him that I found his infatuation w young women in their 20’s to be extremely disgusting. I also felt he exhibited pedephile behaviors and he would be perfect to be on 60 minutes. I explained that if a 68 year old dirty old man was lusting over my 21 year old daughter I would literally kick his ass!! As usual, he tried to manipulate the situation and blame me. He insulted me repeatedly. He even accused me of being a pedephile! Of course my response was “that’s highly impossible since unlike you I don’t spend my time lusting over young boys in their 20’s!” I laughed at him. The whole time I kept my cool and did not allow him to get the best of me. I was a cool cat. I didn’t let anything he threw at me to get the best of me. I stood up for myself and for every parent with a 21 year old daughter who should be protected from the likes of any dirty old man. My partner was furious that he could not break me.

This morning I woke up and thought I’d give him a taste of his own medicine. I put on my short salsa dress and slipped on a pair of high heels. When he woke up I greeted him with nothing but sugar and love. A feeling that was certainly not reciprocated. He began to argue with me and call me names. He accused me of “playing with his head “. Are you serious, dude?!!! I laughed at him and said “get over it! Quit being a drama queen!!!” He accused me of lying about the situation. I responded “you admitted it so in what way am I liar?” Grumpy was in full force. I remained cool and continued to be sweeter than sugar. He didn’t get very far so finally he stormed out of the house. He was gone for over 2 hours. When he returned he started in on me again. At this point I’m laughing. I continued to act nice. He told me that from now on I would just have to accept him looking at other woman. I looked at him and replied “that’s fine. But as long as you’re gawking at other girls I’ll be wearing short dresses, just the way you like it to give other men a reason to gawk at me!” Clearly he was spitting bullets. He told me to go downstairs the way I was dressed so men could look at me. I seized the opportunity to be a smart ass and replied “no, I’m not in the mood. I’m actually going to wait until mass tonight and go dressed like this so the men can gawk at me there”. He was furious saying “that’s just great. You’re going to mass dressed like that?!” I responded “yes. What’s the big deal?! I’m dressed just how you like it!” He walked in to the living room and threw himself on the couch.

I have spent the entire day dressed like I’m on my way to a salsa club. I have to admit, I don’t feel comfortable. My feet are killing me but I’m determined to make a point. I’ve continued to be sweet going as far as making my guy a sandwich. For the next few days I’m going to wear short skirts, high heels and this ridiculous wig. I know it’s driving him insane but I don’t care!! After all, why should I? He clearly has no regard for me so I will dress like a salsa dancer every where we go. That includes Safeway, costco and even my doctors appointments. I may not be 20 something anymore. I may not be that sexy hot chick anymore but I’ll say this. I still have class and a little bit of respect left. I’ve been through hell and back for the past few months and while I’m tired, haggard and no longer sexy, I still deserve respect. We all do!!!! And as far as I’m concerned he can kiss my ass!! Lol

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Stick This In Your Fuse Box

I love AC/DC! I’m 48 years old but I’m proud to say they are still my all time favorite rock bands. If you graduated in 1984 like me you can relate. AC/DC was a staple cassette playing in your car playing every weekend on your way to a party!!! AC/DC still has a way with bringing out that feisty, free spirit I was when I was in high school every time I listen to their music.

I’ve been in a relationship with an older man. He’s 68. Ladies, if you’re my age and you still have that feisty spirit in you, my suggestion is do not get involved with an older man. It can really drain your spirit. And the worse part is, in my experience Listening to AC/DC is not at the top of their list. Hmmm it will be interesting to see how long this relationship will last. Again…..don’t do it!!!

I live in the city. I’ve been told the population in San Francisco is over 700,000 people. And from what I understand the population can reach a million during the work week. Yesterday I took my daily walk. It was a rather warm day so I thought “what the heck!” I took my hat off and exposed my lovely “chemo” head. I figured I’d try to get some sun and I have to be honest my head was sweating. It felt so good to air out my egg head as I walked outside. When I got home, the first thing my partner asked was “Where’s your hat?” He had this look of disbelief on his face. I replied “pardon me?” “Where’s your hat? Why were you walking around looking like that?” I looked at him and said “it’s in my pocket! I thought I’d tan my head!” (I mean really, who cares? I highly doubt a million people were going to notice or care.) Unfortunately, my partner didn’t agree. In fact, he had a slight bitch fit. I didn’t care. I just brushed him off and walked away. This morning when I got back from the gym I was greeted by “grumpy”. At this point I’m beginning to feel like saying something rude or worse throwing my Harley Boots at him but I took the high road. The building I live at was hosting a BBQ and luau pool party complete with food, drinks and a live Polynesian band. I asked my partner if he’d like to go with me. He of course said no. I knew he was embarrassed of me. Any one reading this who has either gone through chemo or is going through it right now, not all of you but some of you, can relate that our physical changes can quickly put a damper on our relationship. Some men are just so vain and caddy that it’s hard for them to view us as the “hot babes” we were pre cancer. It sucks but as I fight this disease I find myself developing a thick skin and not really caring anymore. My dad always used to say. “Velma, men are like greyhound busses. There’s always another one at the next stop, going the same place for the same fare!” Then he’d hand me a 100 dollar bill and tell me to go buy myself something pretty. As I go through this journey I find myself thinking about my dads words and think to myself “if this guy can’t see you as the beautiful person you are inside, then it’s his loss!” He’s just another greyhound bus than can be easily replaced down the road when I beat this.

Fighting cancer can be challenging. However, the positive for me is as I travel this journey I find myself becoming a much stronger woman. I’m not as worried about what others think of me, especially a boyfriend. I don’t like the person I see in the mirror but it is what it is. I can’t change it. I don’t even remember what the pretty girl I was looked like anymore. More importantly before anyone judges me based on my appearance, they need to take a walk in my shoes. Fighting cancer is a bitch!!! After my 3rd treatment, my partner got us tickets to go watch my beloved Giants play baseball. It was a baseball game so I thought I’d bypass the wig and wear a hat. I had to laugh when my partner threw himself on the couch and refused to move until I put my wig on. Seriously?! What is he 2?!!! Well I put the wig on. But I’m happy to report that as I’m further in to my treatment all of the insults don’t faze me anymore. In fact, I’m fighting back with some of my quick wit, smart ass comments that I’ve been known for. Something I had lost these past 2 years. Today however I decided to keep my mouth shut and do something better. I suppose the sight of “grumpy” finally send me over the edge. So today after he said no to joining me at the pool party I walked into the bathroom to take a shower. I left the door open and turned on my favorite AC/DC playlist and played it super loud. I took my time in the bathroom to ensure I send my guy over the edge. He’s a dinosaur remember? Rock music doesn’t sit well with him. After I got ready I decided to wear what he hates the most, my favorite pair of Gap Boyfriend jeans, (he hates when I wear them but lucky for him I didn’t wear the ones with holes), I slipped on a black top, a flowey sweater, I wrapped my favorite Harley Davidson bandana around my chemo head and topped it off with a black “sleep” hat. Then I rolled out my cutest sandals so I could expose my unpolished toes (polish is NOT recommended while going through chemo) and I walked out and went to the pool. But before I walked out I made sure to be listening to “Live Wire” (cuz I’m a live wire) and I sang really loud in the bathroom. My favorite part……stick this in your fuze box! Lol. I went to the pool party and had a great time. I hob nobbed with all of the neighbors. Then I walked to my acupuncture appointment looking like this. I’m including a photo and if you ask me, I think I look cute!! Lol. In other words. “Stick this in your fuze box Mr Caddy Old As Dirt Greyhound bus boyfriend!”

I copied the links to 2 of my favorite AC/DC songs for anyone who is fighting cancer and reading this. The next time your guy behaves a little caddy, put your big girl pants on and fight back while rocking out to only the best rock band ever. You’ll be surprised at the courage a little AC/DC will give you.

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