“Cancer” is a scary word.
The bill for cancer, may be just as terrifying.
Every time a doctor comes in the room you wonder if you’re wearing a sign on your forehead and questions that can’t seem to make their way to your tongue linger in your mind.
Does the doctor know we don’t have insurance?
Are they even taking care of us if they can’t get paid?
How much is all of this going to cost?
You push the questions in the back and worry about the main issue at hand, the most imortant thing in that moment and that was getting Joe better.
But there is an uneasiness you don’t want to talk about but we both were thinknig it.
Will our new life together be spent paying medical bills?
As a new business owner, Joe had bought himself a pretty basic insurance that would cover something catastrophic, you’d think something like cancer. Yet that’s not the case. In fact, even though his dad has cancer Joe wasn’t eligible to get screened for cancer and his colonoscopy wasn’t covered.
(Cue my political rant here)
I remember being a kid and my mom taking me and my brothers to the doctor. We went when we had a cough or needed shots for school. We were never told we couldn’t go because we couldn’t pay for it. I never even knew doctors cost money. We just went because our mom made us, we got our suckers and it was over.
Being a kid was awesome.
As an adult you quickly learn it does cost money. Every x-ray is more than a car payment. A scan is 6 months worth of groceries. Then add in every time a doctor pops his head in the door, countless numbers IVs, and anesthesia. One surgery is every penny of a downpayment on the cute first home we wish we could afford.
We were in the hospital for 13 days and on the day we got home there were already bills waiting for us in the mailbox. A rainbow of envelopes from different M.Ds and offices.
I went back to work and Joe spent his recovery time on the phone with financial aids and doctor’s offices. He figured out the cost of cancer was steep and the cost to keep the cancer from coming back was going to be just as difficult of a climb.
Chemotherapy comes with a couture price tag. $5,000 for each treatment and he’d need 12 of those luxurious stays at hotel chemo.
As if cancer hadn’t been a smack across the face this was the real sucker punch and it stung.
It’s funny because at this point we thought we had a grip on the cancer stuff but the thought of never being able to go on vacation or get a new car?! Here we were 2 college graduates, just getting our careers going. Was this sweeping all of our hardwork away? The worry left a nagging feeling in our guts we couldn’t shake.
We did a little research and found out that my insurance through my job happened to cover the costs of cancer.
The trouble was our wedding was 2 months away and Joe needed to start getting back into the doctor as soon as possible.
Joe and I got home from the hospital on a Sunday.
Joe figured out we were finanicially screwed Monday.
Tuesday we learned my insurance would cover him.
And Wednesday we were married.
Can you say whirlwind romance?
You can’t tell from this picture but I spent the whole night before crying my eyes out.
A courthouse wedding was far from the fairytale I had imagined and to be honest it was the nightmare my mother had warned me about my whole life.
My parents were married in a courthouse. Not because of cancer but because of an unexpected visitor, little ole me. 🙂
This was my mom and dad’s wedding day. May 20, 1983. I was born December 14, 1983.
Deep down they were happy but my mom never got to have the big wedding day every girl deserves, so she always promised me I would. I think it sometimes it meant more to her than it even did to me.
We all knew why we were rushing to get married but it was hard, it wasn’t what was suppose to be happening, it wasn’t the plan.
It was in the middle of the night before we headed to the courthouse that I curled up on Joe’s shoulder and soaked his shirt with my salty tears. I didn’t even know why I was crying. Maybe it was the first time I had really let it all sink in. I was mad and just more than anything, I was heartbroken my story wasn’t turning out the way I written it.
Joe told me while he stroked my hair, everything would be okay and he brought it all back to earth from my dramatic rant.
He said, “Babe, thank you. You are saving my life. For richer or poorer or sicker and in health. I think we got this thing.”
And he was right, we knew what it meant to really say, “I do”, and it didn’t matter where we signed the papers.