The Cost of Cancer

bag of money

It’s been almost 5 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and pretty much everything has healed – everything except my wallet.  Cancer isn’t just devastating physically and emotionally, but it can be financially as well.  I was fortunate to have health insurance and short term disability benefits through my job, but amazingly, I’m still paying off some bills from years ago.  I can still picture the piles of statements in my living room from doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.  I felt like I was drowning in a sea of debt.  I was worried about my health, about my family, about my future, and about how I was going to pay for it all. One day, I actually burst into tears when I was told I qualified for a $100 gas card to help with the cost of driving to and from treatment.  Everything eventually worked itself out and I’ve learned not to get totally freaked out about medical expenses now.  They are a fact of life – my life, especially – and there are people and organizations out there that can help, but you (or someone advocating on your behalf) need to devote a good amount of time to research.  Talk to your doctors about patient assistance programs, talk to the hospital about payment plans, look online for local and national organizations that assist with financial resources for cancer patients, become intimately familiar with your insurance plan and benefits and make informed choices regarding your treatment. In my resource section, I have listed some organizations that I’ve had some experience with and may be able to help you or your loved ones(s).  There’s also a great website called Cancer.net that explores issues and questions regarding the costs associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, please visit that page at http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/financial-considerations/understanding-costs-related-cancer-care.

So, let me strongly encourage you to ask for help, accept help, and pass it along by helping others when you have the chance.  It is not a sign of weakness to ask for assistance, especially when you’re fighting for your life or the life of a loved one.  Be well and be informed – help might be just waiting and hoping that you ask for it.

 

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