Cancer Changes Everything

November 3, 2012 at 9:07 am (Uncategorized)

My life and my debt journey have taken a radical detour. 2 months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my entire outlook is now focused on my health and making it through treatment over the course of 8 months from the original diagnosis. I don’t expect to post much here for a while. I am still committed to getting out of debt, but the financial realities of dealing with cancer treatment is going to impact me for at least a year.

I am missing a lot of work in order to go to massive quantities of tests and dr appointments. Luckily I had 4 sick days and over 90 hours of vacation time when this started. However, taking a day off to see doctors not only uses up my accrued time off, but stops me from getting overtime, when I would normally be at work, working. So it’s a double whammy. My take home pay has been a lot less in the last several paychecks. I’m also having to pay a lot extra in copays for drugs and dr visits. Come spring, I’ll be recovering from surgery for about 4 weeks, not working, so that will also be something to plan for.

For now, I’ve slowed down my debt payments. I have to do my car payments of $253/month, and I am cutting down on my SBA loan to just $200/month. Outside of that, everything is going to my living expenses and health care costs. I do have a maximum out of pocket of $2500/year, but that doesn’t include copays, which add up quickly, and of course, it’s almost the end of this calendar year, so I’ll have more expenses¬†starting in January.

This is going to be a hard winter for me, and I should be done and recovering by June in 2013, at least that’s the schedule. I am currently going through treatment – I have 5 months of chemotherapy, then 2 weeks to recover from the drugs, then surgery, and about 6 weeks of radiation after that. Whew. Not a fun process.¬†I am only 41, was pretty fit, and relatively healthy, but now my entire world has shifted on its axis.

I’ll probably start this blog up again next summer, once I’ve recovered from treatment and start getting back to normal. It’s going to be an interesting time. Best wishes to you all…

7 Comments

  1. Leanne said,

    Hey there…I just read your post that came in via my email and wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you as you go through this fight. You are a strong woman and I have faith you’ll get through this expertly. You’ve made great strides in getting yourself in to a better financial position to get through this. I’m not sure you remember, but I, like you, am 40 (I know you’re 41) and recently divorced and living in the Seattle area, so we have a lot in common. I just had my first mommogram a few weeks back and am thankful that mine was fine, hearing your story will remind me to do this year after year. I’ll be thinking of you and just wanted you to know. :) Take care!

  2. tazarat said,

    Thanks Leanne, appreciate the thoughts. Yes, not something I ever thought would happen to me. Anyone that reads this, PLEASE get mammograms after age 4o, and please make sure that if you don’t do self-exams (which is how I found out, rather late in the game), that you see a doctor regularly to get them done.

    Cancer treatment is horribly expensive. I am super glad I have decent insurance, but there are a lot of out of pocket expenses (I expect it will cost me about $10,000 by end of next year), too.

  3. Ms. S said,

    I will certainly be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. What’s very ridiculous is that they are changing the age to start getting mammograms to 50 so eventually, insurance companies won’t cover mammograms from ages 40-49. Sad.

    Thinking of you.

  4. tazarat said,

    Thank you, Ms. S. It’s gotten a lot tougher than I expected when I wrote this post. All of it is dealing with the drugs they pump you with and all the related side effects. Going from being able to hike a mountain for 6-8 hours to having to rest after going up 1 flight of stairs is a big, awful change. I’m 1 month in to treatment with 4 to go, and it’s depressing to think what I still have to go through. But I’m doing the best I can, usually in good spirits, and with help from some wonderful friends.

    Thank you for stopping by – and good luck with your own debt journey. I can already tell from your blog that you’re going to be successful and out of debt really soon. Best of luck, debtmaven.

  5. Leanne said,

    How are you doing? I was thinking of you again the other day, my mom was diagnosed last week and she is very fortunate that hers was caught early. She’s going in for surgery on the 23rd and will also have IORT (interoperative radiation therapy) and if the pathology report is clean after her surgery, she will be done with treatment at that point. Hers was found in her mammogram and I am encouraging EVERYONE I know to get theirs done and to do self exams. I hope you are doing well.

  6. Chitown said,

    Praying that you’re doing well.

  7. tazarat said,

    Leanne and Chitown, thank you, I am doing well! I finished treatment 1 month ago and have healed enough to join back in with society (mostly). Back at work full time, starting to go out and socialize a bit, but still going to need a lot of time to recover close to normal. Whew, been a long 11 months!!!

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