Cancer care is expensive. Skip the latte and get an annoying duck or something……..
Fortunately Sam has medical insurance thru her employer. As long as she can keep her job it covers a fair amount of some of her treatment costs. At least after her catastrophic cap was met for the year. It did not take long to reach that!
We all consider the deductibles and copays, and prescription copays. But make sure to check your policy on investigative drugs. Medical trials. Travel and time off work. Did you know that many insurances do not cover care if the “Standard of Care” doesn’t work? Some don’t cover food unless it’s eating out instead of buying a loaf of bread and lunch meat. Some only will cover hotel rates available to AAA members in the 1950s. Some will pay a portion of their dreamt up idea of what your gas should cost and only on the DATE of your appointment, even if you had to drive out of State the day before or after.
Pray you never need to know the intricacies of your health insurance. Even if you mange to jump thru the right hoops and snag every receipt it would take a team of dedicated government trained legal assistants to maneuver thru the paperwork, and then you can wait for over a year for any reimbursement.
Moral of the story. EVERYONE. Including your 20-something year old child should have some type of additional policies, because my 20-something never been sick in her life, had to use her insurance for the first time and we learned a very hard lesson. Chronic health issues and Cancer do NOT care your age, your gender, your race, your educational level or your income bracket. Buy that add on policy you pray you never have to use, yeah it’s going to crimp on picking up that name brand mayonnaise, so maybe dont’ upgrade your phone or skip a few cups of designer coffee to get it because you don’t know how important it can be. Pray you never need it, never have to walk this walk or fight this fight while being financially sucker punched at every turn.
Traveling 400 miles for treatment in Houston, TX at MD Anderson alone adds up. Lodging is expensive. On her third trip out of State, she and her mother were in Houston away from home and family for several weeks straight. After that weekly visits for treatment and tests will go on for the foreseeable future.
Imagine you are just finishing college. You’ve invested all these years into student loans and grades and worked from the bottom up in a field helping others, so you’d be all set in your field after just 1 more test. Your 20-something, you’re invincible, you’ve never been sick. You’ve got all your ducks in a row and have considered every possible decision. You have spent your entire life on college student budget working your own way thru school accumulating debt but in a field where you are guaranteed to be a super star, soon, you are going to kick open the doors and rock the world. You dream of the vacations you didn’t take because you had to write papers, and pay for copies. You go to sleep at night dreaming of how great it’s all going to be now that you’re done and once that last test is passed you can consider your future. You have conversations with your parents about how one day not only will you buy a house, but it will have a little retirement cottage in the back for them, and they wont have to worry about anything. You tell your baby brother to keep up his grades, and bribe him, and tell him he too can work his way to and thru college but that you will be there for him if there are any hiccups along the way.
Your phone rings on a Friday afternoon as you’re in a store looking for a pink bow tie for your little brothers Prom this weekend. It’s the Doctor you saw. He says you have cancer and he will see you next week. You’re alone. You’re holding a boy tie for the baby brother that you adore and have dressed his entire life. Your life just changed. The air is sucked out of the room, and nothing moves. You walk over to the dress shirts and begin looking for his size, but now you can’t remember for sure if he has that adorable little boy neck or in the week that passed he has now grown into a lumberjack. You call your mom to check, but instead. I have cancer falls out of your mouth. Everyone’s life just changed and it all hits you.
Imagine how difficult it could be on yourself to drop everything and live in a city far away for a month while still having to pay rent and utilities, car payment. Leave your bed, pets, plants, and family behind. Be afraid of checking the mail or answering the phone, there will be bills in there with numbers that look like jackpots for the powerball.
See things you never wanted to. Learn a language you didn’t want to learn ( Cancer Speak). Realize you aren’t invincible 20 something with the world at your feet and depend on the kindness of strangers while not recognizing yourself in the mirror.
In the mean time. Travel every week 3 states away, sleep, eat, get prescriptions, otc meds. Make sure you keep your job so you can keep your insurance and have a life when this is all over. Oh also, you’re fighting cancer, so we are going to dump some of the most horrible chemical combinations known to mankind into your body and you are going to be sicker than you could ever dream of.
The simple fact is, WE ARE LUCKY. Lucky that our family is tight. We pull together we pull thru. All of my kids would and have sacrificed what they have and the course of their futures for family members and this is no exception. WE ARE LUCKY. Samantha’s cancer is rare, which means she’s interesting to the scientific world, which opens us up to the option of seeing the Most Genius Medical people on the planet in her type of Cancer. WE ARE LUCKY that we were able to get together the resources to get her to the people who could try to help her in the first 3 months. WE ARE LUCKY that friends, family and strangers have taken it upon themselves to raise money, cook dinner, open their homes, offer a ride, send a card, give a hug, share a post and pray for us.
We don’t feel lucky at times. We are simply terrified, we know the first chemo regimen and treatment plan failed. We have seen the Doctors and Nurses faces when they hear her Diagnosis. We realize what it means to be in trials, and research programs, and testing studies. We know that we can only get the only hope kind of help out of state, We don’t feel very lucky because we know as a family that as the expenses, bills, costs pile up, the income has gone down on several fronts and things like car repairs, broken air conditioners and wells going out don’t stop because of cancer. We don’t feel lucky because there’s interest on the credit cards and interest on the payments, and we are paddling like a herd of ducks in a hurricane just to get thru every day. We don’t feel lucky because it’s unnatural, it’s unnatural and soul emptying to be a parent whose child has cancer. We don’t feel lucky that ” she’s grown up” We are her parents and she will always be our child. We don’t feel lucky that ” at least she doesn’t have kids”, because she loves children and wanted to be a Foster mom, because that’s who she is. We don’t feel lucky because no one who has cancer is lucky.
WE DO FEEL loved, humbled, grateful, and blessed.
You always hear people say things like, “every bit counts” or ” no amount is too small”… My grandfather had a neighbor that had an empty water jug in her closet. Every time she found a penny, or had change from the store, she would place her change in it. Her husband was quiet thrifty and they lived on a fixed income, so her jars didn’t fill fast, and it was mostly pennies, but she would say, ” a penny is a penny”. About 3 years after her husband passed, and her income was even more limited, she asked if our family could help her as her late husbands car had finally given completely up. We went over and loaded 13 water jugs of coins into 2 vehicles and drove her to pick up her new car. Our life right now is very much like those water bottles. The smallest amounts add up. the acts of kindness are the gas that powers us on this journey. Friends and family have set up online stores where you can buy things, organized an upcoming benefit for June 29th, people are donating items we can sell, or use for raffles. These acts are so humbling. It’s not that you gave or the amount you give. It’s the act, the effort, the fact you took the time out to try to help to express love, to drop off a meal, to share a post, to let us know when we are lost in the see of lonely terrifying darkness that we can feel the ripple in the water and that lets us know we aren’t alone in this. Yes the financial part is huge and if there is some secret billionaire philanthropist hiding amongst us, YES Please YES, we will come bake you a cake and wash your car. But we are just like every other family out there. We get by we have problems just like everyone else so please don’t think we expect and please don’t think there is an effort or amount that isn’t enough. Every single moment you think of us, or do something to ease our load is so immensely appreciated and it really does all add up.
There are several ways you can help.
We have added an online store section where you can find #TeamSamIAm items. Profits help offset Sam’s medical costs. Shirts are available. Some artwork / photographs created by Samantha are becoming available.
A go fund be account set up that we can update was set up in June. we will try to keep current.
Via PayPal. Any donations sent to firstname.lastname@example.org via paypal will go to Sam’s fight.
https://www.paypal.me/ThePeachy1 or use the Donate button below (and on the right side). Paypal account is NOT required.
*IF YOU PURCHASED ITEMS FROM THE Zazlle store Holly had set up, and have not received them please check that your purchase amount has been refunded. Contact Holly or us if you have questions.