When I went to create this post today, I realized that I’d already done it four days ago.
Opening that draft led me to a page just as blank as the brand new one I started. This is the level of shock I’m in. Because two days before that, on the 29th of March, I found out that my chemo will definitely be starting this Tuesday instead of maybe starting as soon as the week of the 12th.
Will Chemo make me broke?
It may seem petty, but the fear that saving my life will also cost me more than I take home in three years over the next six months has been real, present and petrifying until lately. As I’ve said before, the point of conquering cancer, only to bring other huge pains upon yourself and your loved ones is lost to me.
Dealing with this has been a huge stumbling block but my burdens appear to be lifted.
My previously borderline inept insurance carrier well exceeded my expectations.
After bumbling or delaying almost every single test that had been ordered to confirm or give details about my diagnosis up until then, they turned around the subsequent order for all the medicines I will need in about four business days, when they were expected to take about two weeks.
These are not cheap or few drugs. There’s
- separate chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs for the actual treatment regimen,
- the various things they give you to make the experience less stressful or to prevent an allergic reaction, which one of the drugs causes in 70% of people,
- as well as the *just in case* items they order for the more dangerous adverse reactions.
I’m truly amazed that no bumblefuckery took place in getting them through my insurance process. It’s been my main worry and I’m so very grateful for this.
Although I’m aware that it’s possible for the insurance company to backpedal at some point and state that they refuse to cover some costs of treatment, that I have to pay for some or all of this out of pocket after the fact.
But being that they actually order and ship the drugs, and the fact that the best treatment for me happens to be both one of the cheaper ones for this disease, and quite effective, I’m 99% sure that I dodged that bullet.
And now that this worry is mostly lifted, the layer of mixed emotions underneath is bubbling to the surface.
So Many Chemo Feels
Before I’m able to process an emotion, another one hits. Sometimes one cancels the next after a time, but mostly, the conflicting feelings linger, battling inside me.
Relief that the waiting is over.
Panic over. Well. Everything and anything that could happen.
More gratitude for this unbelievable wave of support and love that keeps coming at me.
Fear that I’m not as strong as I think I am, as everyone believes that I am.
Irritation at the insistence that I conform to the image of strongness that people seem to want me to keep projecting.
Anxiety over the actual process these first two days of treatment.
Even a little excitement at having a new experience.
(Some cancers are already considered “curable“, highly treatable, or have such long remissions that if you’re diagnosed in your golden years, natural causes would get you before cancer ever could. Cuba even has a lung cancer vaccine.)
And then I remember
I have a type of Lymphoma that’s chronic, and considered highly treatable rather than curable. Almost half of the Americans (or Brits, and probably Canadians) I know will probably go through some version of what I’m going through at this point.
And some of them, like me, have a high likelihood of beating their cancer only to have to go through the same process every two, nine, fifteen years.
For now I’m trying to comfort myself with the fact that it remains to be seen how big a deal that is. I have to factor in the reality that this could be way worse. Especially in my circumstances. It’s crazy but if about two dozen different factors hadn’t lined up exactly right, I probably wouldn’t have even discovered I had cancer until the conversation was about how long I have left to live, instead of how long I would have between relapses.
So yeah. All types of feels in the cancer hood.