Good news and the cost of cancer
First of all. MY PET SCAN IS CLEAR! aka there are no signs that the cancer has spread to any other organs. It’s still there in my boob and lymph nodes but I’ll tell you what–if you want one cancery boob to seem as delightful as Thor in a G-string, spend a a few days pondering a stage IV situation.
So, yeah. I’m doing the happy dance right now. And I have to give massived kudos to my oncologist Dr. Cappuccino (who henceforth will be known simply as “Dr. Cap” for Captain America because he’s going to save my life) for sending me a message at 11pm last night to let me know the good news. Let me set the scene for you: After coming home from the PET scan, I pretty much went to bed. I was too worried and freaked out to function at all. I know that sounds dramatic, but aside from the BRCA-negative, I have flunked every test I have taken on this journey. This week I read two accounts of women who started with my exact flavor of breast cancer (ER+/PR-/HER2+) and were relieved it was caught early and did everything they were supposed to…and yet. Their cancer spread and they’re dying.
So I’m in my bed. The house is quiet. My husband is snoring beside me and the cat is sleeping on my knees. I can’t sleep because my mind won’t stop spinning horror scenarios. I’m telling myself “If I can just live another 10 years the kids will be okay. They’ll be 33, 29, and 15 and they’ll miss me, but they won’t need me.” I’m pondering getting up to take a Tylenol PM, but don’t want to disturb the cat. I mess around with my phone and I see from an email that I have a new test result. I’m not waiting on anything except the PET scan and I quickly log in to read this message:
Pet scan does NOT suggest any areas of cancer spread outside the breast region.
– Dr. Cap
I shake my husband awake. “Honey, honey. It’s clear. The PET scan is clear!” I shove my phone in his sleepy face.
So, now back to the task of kicking this cancer to the curb. I have a post-op appointment tomorrow so Dr. Boobcutter can check my Mediport (which itches like a motherfucker, which I guess means it’s healing?), then the MRI-guided biopsy on my left boob on Monday, then chemo begins Tuesday May 5.
I’ve talked about insurance and approvals and such, but I haven’t really mentioned the costs of the care I’ve been getting. Let me be crystal clear, I am not complaining. I’ve paid very little out of pocket and Tricare has approved every single thing my medical team has submitted. But let’s take a look at the cost of breast cancer for JUST ONE WEEK:
- April 22 – ultrasound guided biopsy of lymph nodes – $4,151.22
- April 23 – surgery to install Mediport – $17,264.98
- April 23 – anesthesia for surgery – $949.74
- April 24 – echocardiogram – $2,166.00
- April 29 – PET scan – $5,050.50