This story begins on June 30, 2013 when I discovered a lump in my left breast. That day has changed my life forever – some ways good, some ways not so good. If you would like to read the journey about my battle with breast cancer from the beginning, click here.
If you only want to read the post right before this one, click here.
What Next …
Reality Begins to Enter the Picture …
Road Blocks Ahead
Even though we had some fore-knowledge (the phone call I mentioned in this post) that the news we would be receiving was “not good” (That’s an understatement!), we left the doctor’s office in a state of shock. It was hard to believe that this was actually happening. I had always been so “sturdy” – “good pioneer stock” – and strong my whole life. It almost felt like I was in a daze or in a dream … a very bad dream.
One month and two days after discovering the lump, I went home and started preparing for the battle I now knew lay ahead. I went to the store and purchased a juicer and lots of veggies to begin fueling my body for the fight.
It did not take long until I would begin to realize just how not having insurance was going to impact my ability to fight this disease. The very first phone call I made in the pursuit of overcoming cancer was to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Their commercials had always touched me, and I felt that they would be able to offer compassionate care and hope … I mean, that’s what their commercials say …
But I felt like I was told that if I did not have insurance, they would not be able to help me. I felt like they were saying that their cancer treatments were just too expensive for someone who does not have insurance!?!
What? Where was the compassion? And, where did that leave me? Without hope … no, I refused to believe that … there had to be hope. Without hope all was lost!
I must confess; I found it hard to believe what I had been told. The organization I saw presented on TV seemed to be so much more caring, so a couple weeks later I did call them back. I thought surely I had just spoken to someone who did not know the full benefits offered … maybe someone new … or maybe we just miscommunicated. Surely there was financial assistance or payment plans for someone like me …. Surely!
I did get a slightly different answer. Yes, they did work with people who did not have insurance, but you had to be able to put up a sizeable down payment; you had to have a good credit rating; and, you had to have someone else agree to be a guarantor. With all those stipulations, it may as well have been … we cannot help you if you do not have insurance. I would never ask someone to be a guarantor and risk their financial future as well in the advent that I could not pay! I knew the costs were going to be astronomical.
A little thought snuck in as well that if I did not survive, all was for naught anyway and I just did not want to put anyone else in that predicament. That was another of those thoughts I had to command to leave …. I just could not allow it to get a foothold. It sneaks back occasionally, but I have to keep “kicking it out to the curb” and beyond.
Despite the outcome of these conversations, I believe they (Cancer Treatments Centers of America) would have been able to provide the type of care that I desired … It really all boiled down to money, I just could not afford the care.
Next I called the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They gave me some numbers to call, who gave me some numbers to call, who gave me more numbers to call … if you do not want to do chemo or radiation, your choices on how you can fight and fund those choices are much more difficult to locate.
It was a hard, scary, and discouraging day … to find out you have cancer and to come to the realization that you may not be able to fight it …
But as they say, I had only begun to fight …
Click here to read the next post in my cancer journey.