You've Got Mail...
Reflections on this comic: 6/24/2016
If you don't believe there's major issues with our health care system, you'll probably change your mind after a cancer diagnosis (or any terminal/chronic diagnosis for that matter).
Medical bills in the United States for cancer patients is sometimes the worst thing about having cancer. As a husband and a father, the first real wave of absolute terror and worry that I got after I was diagnosed with cancer was not about dying early. It was not about what would happen to me physically. Money problems scared me more than anything else.
I highly believe that every cancer patient should have the option of not working during treatments. Working while undergoing chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiation is like a special kind of torture for many.
I still worked full time as a therapist, which requires an extraordinary amount of focus, attention to detail and patience. During treatments, I often missed appointments and mandatory meetings just by sheer forgetfulness or confusion. Between sessions, I would sneak a nap on a therapy couch. I would practice sitting still and relaxed while a patient (who was unaware that I had cancer) would be sobbing in my office and my whole belly was painfully agitated from ostomy bag leaks. I had to apologize more times than I was comfortable. I watched performance awards given away to everyone but myself.
During times where I was became awfully dehydrated, I often had my oncology staff encourage me to take more time off, but I had to decline.
I had to work.
To pay medical bills. And this comic is hardly an exaggeration. These bills come by the dozens on a near daily basis. And getting them all consolidated is a feat in itself.
I was very fortunate in that I enjoy the work that I do, and that I work for wonderful people who accommodated me as much as they could. But many patients are not so fortunate.
If you're reading this and someone you know is going through cancer treatments, you now know that they're dealing with bills. If they don't have a Gofundme, consider starting one for them (with their permission of course). Medical bills are the other "cancer" that needs help too.