Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cancer the gift that keeps on giving - the high cost of cancer

There's a basket of bills sitting in the corner of my bedroom. I try not to look at it as I enter the room but I know it's there. Its contents spill out onto the floor whenever my husband stuffs another bill into the basket. Usually, when the mail comes, he gets it first so he can filter what I see and what I don't see. Since he's the only one working, he takes care of our financial responsibilities and while I'm thankful for that, I'm not ignorant about our mounting bills.

Cancer is expensive. Even if you've reached maintenance phase, it's costly. There are always tests to be run, blood to be taken, doctors to see. It never ends. Just knowing this will be a continual process for the rest of my life frustrates me and the alternative, death, will be my only way out.

It would be nice to know that cancer could be a once and done kind of thing but that's only wishful thinking. Everyone knows cancer is a long and very involved illness.

I had no idea cancer would be as expensive as it has been. When I was first diagnosed, I was clueless. Maybe I thought naively that our insurance would take care of everything, but it hasn't and it won't. Maybe I thought when I reached a state of remission, the bills would end, but they haven't. And now, since most insurance companies have raised their deductibles, it only gets worse.

Just the other day, I called my oncologist's office to see if it was possible to reschedule an appointment for February 2019 to this month. I explained I'd finally met my deductible and was hoping to get in under this year's insurance. I knew if I could manage to reschedule the appointment I'd only have to pay my 20%. The scheduler shot down those hopes as she "regretted to inform me that the doctor's schedule was completely booked through the end of the year." GREAT...JUST GREAT. So in February, I'd be paying the full fee because my deductible wouldn't be met.

With only one income, it's hard to pay extra expenses. Many times, we do without necessities in order to pay medical bills. We've made arrangements to pay on every single one but sometimes, they get tired of waiting and turn us over to collections. You can't get blood from a turnip, as the old saying goes. We do what we can with what we have and that's all we can do. And don'tcha think that just maybe all the stress that comes from worrying about paying for treatment might eventually contribute to a recurrence of cancer?

Thankfully, we have good insurance but for those without insurance, I'm sure the high cost of cancer is overwhelming. It's not fair, that on top of getting a horrible disease, we also have to pay big bucks for the treatment of it. But, that's what you do if you want to live, right? We have no choice. And maybe, just maybe that's why there's no current cure for cancer. After all, treatment for cancer brings in the big bucks, ya know?!

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