This is the reality for all of us. But, it is the harshness of this reality for those who are chronically ill, face a lifetime of disabilities, and those struggling to fight cancer with the additional challenges of meeting the burden of costs.
For 24 years, I have been “in the system” as a patient, survivor, a very vocal advocate for Veterans, patients, and the cost of their care and treatment.
The enormous cost of cancer treatment, multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, recovery, needing a lifetime of prescription medications, Lab costs, needed imagining (CT Scans, PET Scans, MRI) is simply immeasurable.
It is astronomical, and it is endless.
Surviving cancer is not for sissies. I am that proactive, informed, and experienced consumer so many in the health care profession groan at the sight of. I ask the hard questions; do the research, and I, know what is, what.
Hopefully, and fortunately, for most people this experience will not touch their personal lives. But, it is almost impossible for anyone to not know someone who is stuck in the quagmire and burdens of illness.
It is the quintessential “six degrees of separation.” With the fingers on only one hand you probably can name someone you know that is dealing with cancer, its effects or undergoing treatment.
Most of us don’t have money trees, although, if I thought putting a $20 bill in the ground would produce a glorious and prosperous tree, I would immediately plant that very good looking Andrew Jackson right in the ground!
But, back to reality……Recently, I was reviewing my Explanation of Benefits and Costs reports I received oh so lovingly, to me from my insurance company.
On the first FOUR visits to the Cancer Center, for meet and greets with the oncologists, consultations, several in-office biopsies, and lab work – the total was a whopping $18,650.00!
YEP! And, no, I didn’t put the decimal point in the wrong place. You read it right. I almost fainted! And, there were NINE more visits and appointments, yet to be billed.
I have begun a chemotherapy protocol that will last a year; with weekly visits, to closely monitor my blood counts, guard against any potential infections, and to make sure the harmful side effects aren’t taking over!
I am what is referred to as the “under insured.” I have the Rolls-Royce of health insurance policies. I personally pay for my insurance without assistance, employer contributions or fairy dust. Although, I might try to find some of that, at the same place I got the magic $20 bill to plant!
My policy covers almost everything, and I am very lucky. But, there is a hefty price to be paid.
In $$$’s, the struggles to make the payments, emotional stresses, and the financial impact it has on the household. Oh, yes, I forgot to add……as well as fighting for your own life’s survival.
In every way, it all adds up.
Through it all, the most important priority is to remember to live. Most of us don’t know how to just be.
It is something we haven’t learned or feel we can allow ourselves this personal selflessness. Many might say, “But, Lesli, it’s so selfish to put myself first.”
Not so. Simply making yourself the loving recipient of your time, energy, and focus is the single greatest blessing you can give yourself. And, in doing so, it benefits those around you. It is not as difficult as you might think.
Try to make yourself the “STAR” in your own life’s tapestry. Make the colors of the rainbow fill your spirit!
The single most precious commodity we all take for granted……time. And, to live your life to its fullest.
No matter the challenges, struggles, accomplishments, and major successes we achieve in life — time is the best gift in the world.
Take the time to love yourself and fill your life with the glorious wonders all around.