Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cancer Question #4

Some folks have asked what I have learned now that I'm over half way thru with my chemo treatments. I haven't written about my leukemia since last fall so here are four things I have learned.
I can hardly believe the cost of my treatments. So very expensive! For instance, each month at the end of my chemo treatment week I get a neulasta shot to help build up my good white
blood cells. Guess how much this shot costs. Nearly $8000! No, you read that correctly.
Not $80. Not $800. Nearly $8000! Can you believe this? What the heck is in the neulasta? Must be gold, platinum or diamonds.Before I'm done with my chemo I will have had 6 neulasta shots. 6 x $8000 = $48,000. Gee, for $48,000 I could have bought two new cars!
This is what the hematology lab charges us. Since I have my husband's federal health insurance plus my medicare the hematology lab accepts the going rate that the insurance company will allow. However, those poor folks without insurance coverage would be charged the whole amount because they don't have anyone negotiating a fair rate for them. So what would you do?

My total costs for each month runs to around $28,000. I think if you didn't have insurance, you
would be tempted to just go without treatment so that you didn't leave a financial burden for
your relatives to pay long after your death. And I'm sure people have done this in the past.
There are popular cancers that get lots of attention in our nation and then there are other
cancers that are not so popular. I like to think that the unpopular cancers are like the
stepchildren who don't get much attention from the stepmother. Probably the most popular
cancer is breast cancer and it gets the most awareness across the nation. Is that because we Americans are obsessed with breasts? Maybe. Or it because so many women get breast cancer?
But the reason given by a very young seven year breast cancer survivor is that women who get breast cancer are on the average young. This breast cancer survivor's daughter did a term paper in which she learned and wrote that women who have breast cancer are still young so when they finish their treatments they get involved in promoting breast cancer awareness.

In contrast folks who develop lung cancer after many years of smoking or being exposed to
bad fumes in the air are usually older. So even if they beat the disease, they are not young
and fit enough to get involved in promoting lung cancer awareness. And then there are the poor folks who have anal cancer. I think some people blame the victims for this disease---like it had
something to do with their sex lives. Ditto for colon cancer.
Doing chemo gets tougher with each successive treatment. For me the first month was the very easiest to endure. My fourth treatment in February really left me wiped out. So I didn't mind all the snow keeping me stuck at home. It was just a great time to sit on the couch and get caught up on a lot of reading.
Many cancer patients lose all their hair from the chemo treatments. My hair has thinned
but I still have enough that I don't need to don a wig. My problem is covering my grey
since hair dyes will not take with the chemo treatments. So I have resorted to using an eyelash brush in a color that matches my own hair color. Oh, how vain I am. LOL!


Melinda said...

hey there Joann--have you ever tried using natural Henna for hair coloring? It is completely natural....and covers gray...and comes in many color choices. No chemical involved..all comes from a plant. I use Henna for hair shampoo and conditioner and also sometimes to add color or highlights. I have done my entire head...and it does cover gray hair! NO chemicals is what appealed to me and no drying of the hair like with hair colorings. I get mine from Henna by Cynthia here:


maybe that would work for you for hair coloring if you want to try it? It is messier to use...but so worth it! Your hair get so thick and full and the color is amazing!

Melinda said...

oh and my hair comes way down past my waist...and I have covered it all with Henna many times...and colored it all with Henna too. I will never use anything else probably ever because of the harsh chemicals and toxins in hair coloring and some other conditioners and shampoos

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joann: Keep it up and the treatment will be over really soon.