Friday, July 24, 2009

Two Down!

Well, today is Friday, so I'm finished with two weeks of radiation. Four and a half to go. Things continue to go very smoothly. So far, the two big side effects I've been warned about, skin irritation and fatigue, have not manifested themselves. I figure the longer I go without side effects, the better.

My nausea is much, much better! I found out that some of the beams they give me are stronger the first week as kind of a jump start to the treatment. I think it must have been the radiation making me feel so sick and not the new chemo. It's a big relief to me because I will be on the chemo a lot longer than on radiation. Now, the issue of the pills and getting the insurance to cover them isn't any longer an issue. Phew!

I did want to tell people about a conversation I had with my radiation therapist this week. They called and moved my time up, earlier in the evening. When I talked to her about it, she said it was because they were slower right now and didn't have as many patients. She said they have felt the effects of the poor economy. I expressed surprise that something like radiation would be effected by the economy and she explained to me that when people are out of work and have lost their insurance or can't afford to continue their insurance, they have to make decisions about what they can and cannot afford. She said many times patients will decide to forgo radiation. Wow. Can you imagine having to make a decision like that?

Also, this week, I got a phone call from a breast cancer organization based in Mesa that helps cancer patients who are having trouble paying for their treatment asking for a donation. I have to be honest. In the past, I may have said I'm sorry, but not right now. It seems like we get so many of these phone calls or people at the door asking for money for this or that. I often say, I'm sorry, but we make our charitable contributions through our church. Not always, but more often than not.

Cancer treatment is expensive. I was talking to my friend, Carol, and she said she saw a program that said the average cost for a breast cancer patient was between $200and $250 thousand dollars. I'm sure that is pretty acurate. Even with insurance, there are a ton of expenses. Hardly a day goes by that one medical statement or another doesn't come in the mail. However, Joe and I have been very fortunate and although the expense is definitely an added burden, there has never been a question of whether or not we would be able to find a way to pay for my treatment.

I made a small donation to the organization that called this week. Next time I get one of those calls or someone is at my door, I won't be so automatic in my response. I'll try to imagine the real human beings behind the call and try to imagine what it would be like to be faced with maybe dying because I couldn't afford to pay for my treatment.

It's kind of weird. I don't know if there is some grand plan for each of us or if I got cancer for a reason, but I do think, I fervently hope, I am becoming a better person because of it. I'll always hate that I got this horrible disease, yet at the same time, I'll always be thankful for the lessons I learn daily from this experience.

Pam and my niece, Mary, arrive tomorrow for a two week visit. They are going to help me get my classroom ready for the new school year. I'm really excited.

Joe comes home from NJ on Monday after being gone for a little over a week. I can't wait to see him! Michael is staying in NJ for another week to visit his Uncle Jim and cousins, Connor and Brian. I miss him a lot.

Joey got a 94% on his first statistics test! He's doing so well and we are so proud of him.

I hope everyone else's summer is going as wonderfully as mine is.

Love you all tons!


Cheela said...

You continue to amaze me, Martha!

velvet brick said...

Martha, I always learn something from you.... you are a teacher, whether in the classroom or not...I always learn something of value from you!! : ))


p.s. have you done your photography 'homework' yet?

Lydia said...

Het there, I was thinking about you and finally found your blog throught Sheila's. I'm glad that the radiation hasn't been to bad. So, your coming back this year...Yeah. I can't wait to see you. I was always impressed with you as a teacher. Especially in the writing. The kids are so lucky to have you. See you in two weeks!