Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Ugly Part 2

I usually don't have a problem telling how I feel or what I go through physically.  I do however, have a  hard time talking about the financial aspect.  I fear if I express myself freely people would think I am asking for handouts or they may feel obligated to help.  Which is not what I want.  So, I usually try to re-frame from talking about our fiances.  I realized I am not being honest in not sharing.  Since, I said from the very beginning I will share everything I am going through.  Hiding the fact that cancer had made me bankrupt is one of the common realities with some of us people who are fighting cancer.

Tonight, as I am writing this I find myself cautiously convening my thoughts and carefully choosing my words.  I find it more embarrassing that I am not able to afford being sick then the fact I have colon cancer.  It seems like lately the financial part of it has been consuming more of my time then my cancer itself has. When I was first diagnosed, almost 3 years ago, I had HMO. Paying for my treatments and medication was not that difficult.  The next 2 years, HMO went away and I had to choose a  different insurance provider.  The premiums went up a lot.  As well as the co-payments and medication.  With the switch, I am now required to pay additional  co-payments for chemo treatments and a $250 co-payment for each procedure. Plus there is no cap on out of pocket expenses.  This year I had several procedures which all added up.  Now the diabetes and because of that I have an additional $200 a month for medication and supplies

Sally and I tried for months to spend wisely. But yet, we did splurge some on taking our kids places to make memories for them.  The holidays we have been doing a little extra, in case it's their last one with me. I want them to remember it especially.  

To be honest, Sally was the one in charge of all the bills.  She made the payments and kept track of all of that.  She 95% of the time she would tell me we are fine.  I found out later she did a lot of juggling to keep me from worrying. When I was working it was easy for her to keep up the pa sod.  Now that I am home. she can't hide it. I hear all the phone calls now.  I knew it would be a struggle to be on disability leave.  Sally assures me it will get easier.  In the mean time it is very frustrating for me.  I went to file for bankruptcy. I   was able to scrape of enough to pay it in full.  However, I can not file bankruptcy until we are current on our morgage.  I went to take money out of the 401K.  However, I can't unless the house is in foreclosure and that is only for the amount we need to get the house out of foreclosure.  Then I was told if I get a letter from the IRS to prove I am perminately disable I can withdraw the entire 401K.  So I applied for social security.  If I am approved I won't be able to start collecting until March. My concern now is getting the approval letter so I can get the 401K.  So now I am waiting for the letter.  Hoping the letter comes sooner then later. 

In the mean time we are struggling to keep our utilities, feeding the kids, and paying for my medical.  And not to mention the phones constant rings because people want their money.  I don't answer because I have no clue what is going on.  About a month ago Sally applied for food stamps.  It is a slow process. She faxed in all the information and it waiting for an answer.  She was told today it may take up to 4 weeks for an approval.  Sally said she thinks we will get denied because of the 401K I have that I can not touch.  In a way it's almost comical.  She did contact a couple of agencies for help.  We are waiting to see if they will contact us.  There is so much paper work involved in all of this.  It takes hours to fill it all out and gather all the information for each time we try to get help.

The worse part of it all is the kids.  It's upsetting when you are not able to provide for them and give them everything they need and a little of what they want just to be able to be just a kid. We were not able to sign them up for soccer.  They were both disappointed but we could not afford it. We cut back on everything we possibly can.  Except for the internet, but to me it's more of a need,.  Then there are the kids' speech therapy, Kaity's pre-school, and her dance lessons. They can live without it, but it's important for them to continue.  It feels like we have to agonize about every penny that is spent.  I now know how hard it must have been for my mom to raise 4 kids on a waitress salary.

A couple days a go we were on our way to an oncologist appointment.  I was driving on the express way and another car hit us.  The guy that hit us didn't stop and he was going to fast we couldn't get his licence plate or a good description for the car.  There is a nice dent in the front fender.  We decided not to file a police report because we feared our insurance would go up.  Lord knows we can't afford paying more.  Plus, I couldn't afford to fork out the deductible.  Maybe in the distant future, I can have the dent pop out.

Sally doesn't complain with what is going on.  She still manages to find things to make for dinner.  As long as she has a bag of flour she said she can always figure out something to make.  I know she feels bad that she can't buy Kaity dresses for the winter. She always tells me we will be OK.  But whenever we talk about going to Disney and Christmas I can tell she is worried. She has been fighting a lot of head aches lately and stomach issues. I think it's due to stress.  To be honest, I do worry about our fiances but I do not lose sleep over it.  God has always taken care of us and I know He will continue.  

Like I said from the beginning.  I am not asking for, hinting, or wanting help. I feel like a fraud keeping this part of my life hidden.  Especially, since I have been open about my illness.  This is another aspect of my life due to my illness.  No ones plans on being this ill for this length of time.  I shouldn't be embarrass because of my predicament but I am.I am hoping someone else who is battling an illness reads this and realizes they are not alone.  I will get through this and so will they.

I don't want people to feel uncomfortable from asking about how we are doing. It is still nice hearing from all of you that care and are making this life lesson easier to cope with. All we need are the prayers and we will be fine.Love ya all.     


  1. Hi Bill and Sally,

    I think it's good that you've shared this side of cancer.
    People do not realise the ongoing effect on your finances that a cancer diagnosis can have. I admit to not fully understanding your system as ours is very different here in the UK - but there are many people out there who will be able to relate completely to what you've said.

    Fighting the cancer is one battle physically and mentally - to be frank, it's more than enough to be dealing with without the additional worries about income.

    I wish you both well and hope you find an answer to solving things on a financial level.

    I do find it really shocking that you have to wait SO long for disability payments - especially considering how long you continued working for after your diagnosis.
    It seems that if you try to help yourself, no-one then stands back and says 'After helping himself for so long this man needs OUR help NOW''s quite disgusting really :(

    My thoughts are with you Bill xxXxx

  2. Hey Bill,

    This is the type of stuff the Obama administration needs to hear. More people who are in the same situation need to share their stories. The medical crisis in the United States affects all different types of people of all walks of life. But the people who are the most affected are people like you. Fighting cancer or any long term illness is a battle in it self. Then you have to add the stress of how are you going to come up with money for the medical care that is necessary to stay alive. And to top that off, you still want to maintain the lifestyle prior to getting sick for your family. I once heard a saying that dying was easy but living is hard. And it really shouldn't be that hard!

    Things will get better. Right now I dont have any answers for you, but somehow God does intervene and miracles takes place. I have experience this many times in my life. Because of this, I have reached a point in my life not to worry about things especially when it is out of my control. I really like the song from Carrie Underwood, "Jesus Take the Wheel". That is truly how I feel, just let Jesus take the wheel and everything will be ok.

  3. Thank both for your comments. Believe me when I say this that Sally and I aren't stressing so bad. We are putting everything in God's hand. That's been working for almost three years now so far and I know it will continue.We have complete faith that has never wavered.
    God Bless you and thank you.