I’m a cancer survivor. I think of myself as a tough minded man who doesn’t scare easily. I can tell you though, nearly dying from multiple myeloma has put a chill in my bones that will never leave me. Nearly dying several times can do that to you.
The first time I was diagnosed we were fortunate enough to have insurance coverage that covered the most expensive portions of my chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. We didn’t, however, survive the ordeal completely unscathed. As a result of the thousands of dollars of “co-pay” drug payments, hospital bills not covered, loss of income due to complete disability, debt collection and God only knows what else; we survived economically, only just. Hand to mouth, payday to payday, cash and carry describes our life since the advent of my illness. I survived the first time, but my credit score is now D.O.A. But that’s okay, we’ve gotten by.
Now, however, comes ‘round two.’ Knowing what’s coming is no comfort. In fact in some ways it is worse than the cancer. We’re about to go into a financial spiral that we may or may not recover from. The strain that my illness has and will put on my family has been the most stressful and painful part of my illness. Cancer doesn’t just destroy bodies. It destroys families and lives. Sometimes the economic aftermath of surviving cancer is as devastating as the disease.