So I made a deal with Korey when I started treatment that we shouldn’t talk about how much things cost. I knew that I would avoid going to certain doctor appointments and certainly fight hard on going to the ER when I had fevers. It just didn’t make sense for me to know all the details financially as it was added stress from what I was already enduring.
I remember when we first went into the plastic surgeon’s office they assured us that since I had a breast cancer diagnosis everything would be covered under insurance. I guess I just assumed that EVERYTHING would be covered under insurance. I didn’t realize that we still had a cost. I had absolutely NO idea that every time I went to Dr. Criswells over the past two years that we had a $40 (now $50 co-pay). I didn’t realize that every time I had an infection and had to have surgery (total of eight times last year) we still had to pay hospital bills. I had no idea that we paid for pain medication or postoperative services. In my head, everything was covered. Damn, it’s not. I seriously don’t know how my husband’s head is still attached. I don’t know how he dealt with the financial aspects of this disgusting disease and still maintained his sanity, while by the way taking care of our two little girls. Every day.
In addition to this, I have had bone scans, CT scans, my ovaries checked once a month, blood work every four months, etc. The appointments have slowed down since treatment, but for the next five years, I will still have a significant amount of checkups. Yes, this is submitted and partially covered by my insurance, but there is still a cost. Insurance does not by any means pay for everything. Look, I’m super grateful that we even have insurance. I’m not complaining about that. It’s just that my initial reaction to having BC and knowing that insurance had to cover me was misunderstood. Although I’m glad to have found this out after I went through everything, I do have a tremendous amount of guilt about it.
I know I didn’t raise my hand and ask for cancer. I wasn’t standing in line hoping I would be chosen. It just freakin’ happened. But I still have guilt about it. Guilt, it’s a vicious cycle to shame. I know this, but I’m still learning not to get caught in it. I feel like now that treatment is over and I’m “better” I owe everyone something. This is crazy, right? I should be a better friend, be a better mom, be able to pay off my medical bills, be a better wife, cook better, take care of my body better. I mean, I beat cancer, this other stuff should be so simple. Right? Everyone says, “you are the one who went through it,” “you had such a difficult year.” It was difficult. It sucked. But I feel like it sucked for everyone around me too. Now I deal with the financial annoyances that just remind me how this is not over and the finish line is still so far. It’s a new normal. I hate that saying, but it’s true. My life now after cancer will forever be changed. I’m on a constant watch from my doctors, who are unwaveringly cautious, while trying to avoid it costing me a fortune in medical bills. This is the anxiety. This is the frustration.