When Is Enough, Enough? What Happens When Mommy Has Cancer?

trishasaccount By trishasaccount, 11th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/avyzsy1p/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Diaries

So much has happened since I last published on Wikinut, and not much of it is good. Spoiler alert/warning: I had brain surgery and I have attached my "after" photo (shaved head with surgical--closed/stapled--site). Don't worry, no bloody mess.

What has happened since we last spoke...

I know it's been nearly a year since I last published an article on Wikinut, but honestly, it feels like yesterday. And when I had the feeling tonight that I needed to vent about all of the recent changes in my life, I immediately thought of Wikinut's supportive crowd of readers and writers. So here we go...

Since we last communicated, I gave birth to our beautiful son Erik Liam Keen. He is a joy and a treasure, and we could not possibly be any happier with our little family. That is, unfortunately, the last positive update that I can give. Our little house was sold out from under us by Jerry's vindictive step-father. He had Jerry's mother (an Alzheimer's patient) declared mentally incompetent, changed her will to gain control of her properties, and sold the home that she had willed to Jerry so he could build a beach house near Harker's Island, North Carolina. We were already living paycheck to paycheck, so a down payment or larger rent payment was out of the question, so we begged my grandmother to let us move into her upstairs space. It's basically a single bedroom, which is Erik's bedroom and playroom, a bathroom, and a small "living room" that functions as our bedroom and office space. All in all, we can't complain, but it would be nice to have a home of our own. The dogs went to live with my parents, who thankfully have a big back yard for them to run around in.

Lastly, on November 23rd, I was rushed to the ER for a migraine headache that was causing me to continually vomit. It turns out that the CT scan revealed a tumor the size of a golf ball in my brain, so I was transferred to a larger hospital to consult with a neurosurgeon. It was determined that the tumor was most likely cancerous and I would need immediate surgery, so they sent me home for the weekend to spend time with my beautiful baby and come back Monday morning. On the 30th of November, the tumor--Stage 4 Melanoma--was successfully removed from my brain, and I was able to come home on December 3rd. As it stands right now, I am going to go back to a Radiation Oncologist on January 4th (for planning) and 8th (for a precautionary radiation treatment), but he is confident that the neurosurgeon got it all. Then comes the chemotherapy for additional tumors--revealed by a PET scan--under my left arm and at the lymph nodes near my neck. My medical oncologist is confident that I will be able to manage this condition, but it doesn't make it any less emotionally, physically, or financially devastating.

The Horror That Is Medical Insurance In The U.S.

Holy cow! I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to make it easier for people like me to afford health insurance, and it would were in not for the "lovely" Governor of North Carolina who vetoed a bill to expand Medicaid and adjust income brackets. So, now, as it stands, my $25,000/yr. salary (our family's only income at the moment), is too high to justify helping me with my medical bills. It's hard not to be angry about this, and please forgive me for venting. At this point, my medical insurance is a wonderful plan with a low deductible ($500), and low maximum out-of-pocket expenses per year ($2,500), but I have to pay $550/month for this plan. As you can imagine, that's made it impossible for us to save for a house.

We Can't Get Stuck At The Pity Party

Jerry and I sat down a few nights ago and decided that no matter what, we would not let this break our spirits. We have to work hard for our son, our future, and do anything we have to do to help our family thrive. So, to that end, I've come up with the first steps of what we are going to do:

1. We have been steadily paying down credit card debt since moving in with my grandmother, but we are going to take odd-jobs to finish it off (~$2,000).

2. We have gone through our inventory of products and determined that we can cut out many of our household "needs." The items that we truly need to purchase on a regular basis will be purchased through the Amazon Subscribe and Save program. And to pay for those subscriptions, I will use the Amazon mTurk, "microtask," website to fund the balance of my account. This way, we do not have to pull money from our budget to buy these items and that money can pay down medical bills or other debt. This one is exciting because the items--on average--would cost roughly $130 every 3 months, and if I make just $10/day, then not only will it cover those items, I can start covering other things as well and still have overage that I can cash out at the end of the year.

3. We will make a point to do something fun with our son every single day. He is handling all of the changes like a champ and he deserves nothing less than our best, regardless of how we are feeling.

Well, that's all for now. Thanks for reading,
Trisha

Tags

Buy A Home, Cancer, Money, Stage 4, Stress

Meet the author

author avatar trishasaccount
I'm a 32-year-old mother, teacher, nonprofit worker, partner, and all-around exhausted woman. But there's no sense in complaining when life is so much stinkin' fun.

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author avatar johnnydod
20th Dec 2015 (#)

Wow you are so brave, I wish you all the best and you know that your friends here on wiinut will all be wishing you the same

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
20th Dec 2015 (#)

I'd like to wish you the very best with your health and your family. I'm sending good wishes and blessings to you.

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