REBECCA’S STORY: PART 2
In keeping with the theme of breast cancer month I thought I could speak more in-depth on my experiences through treatment. By the time I sat in the chemo-chair the tumor was 6cm. I was terrified of what was to come, but felt almost relieved to start treatment because this was my first step toward a solution. I don’t take too many selfies, but that day I sat in my chemo-chair and took a picture of my hair. I had spent an hour styling it and I knew I would miss it. My long thick light brown hair was one of my most defining features for sure. The first chemo appointment took nine slow hours. I had four chemo drugs and many other small drugs, such as anti-nausea, Benadryl, and all in liquid form. Each one had to be hung so gravity could force them through my port and into my body. It was such a daunting process.
I had Cancer and expected to have long hours sitting at the doctors. I expected that I would feel weak; I expected unending nausea, and diarrhea. Chemo made me ill early on, I experienced a major loss in energy, and I struggled with keeping food and liquid up, or in my body. The battle I had no clue was coming was with my insurance company. After the first few treatments my husband and I realized our insurance was denying to pay my medical bills; claiming they were only my secondary insurance. We found my old insurance, the Marketplace, was mysteriously re-enrolling me on the first of every month. Every month I would call the Marketplace and cancel the policy again. Just to explain the scale of the problem, for me one day of chemo cost about $50,000+ and by this time I had been to almost 50 doctor visits/tests scans, each came with an invoice. In total my husband and I estimated we were about $300,000 in debt, and we were just starting my treatment process.
Not only was I sick, if our financial issues didn’t get corrected it could potentially put my husband’s job in jeopardy. We spent many months and many hours of phone calls trying to understand and fix the problem. Finally after much time and effort we were advised to write our congressman and open a congressional inquiry. Naturally I was angry, and when on the phone with Marketplace I felt the need to share that we had taken this action. A few days after that phone call everything had mysteriously been fixed. Well, most was fixed, sometimes my old policy still shows up on signing in at the doctor’s office.
Originally this wasn’t a part of my story that I thought I would share, however as am sitting here recalling this past year so much of it revolved around dealing with this issue. Is this what our parents and grandparents go through? Through treatment I was receiving up to 10 pieces of mail a day regarding billing. My last few treatments were brutal; I was sleeping 17+ hours a day. I truly was in no shape to spend hours on the phone trying to fix some mysterious problem that was ruining our life. Without my husband, mother, and mother-in-law I don’t know how I would had cared for my newborn son.
In closing I want to again talk about Barbells for Boobies. WOW, what a wonderful thing to provide mammograms. You have given women such a gift to afford such a lifesaving test, which without health insurance would otherwise be impossible to get. Even though health insurance is possibly the most boring topic ever, it’s such an important one. If you don’t know the specifics of your policy I challenge you to learn more information, it may come in handy one day.