My Relationship With Money — A Wildfire Story
I didn’t come from money. I didn’t make much money. I didn’t have money saved for a rainy day. Needless to say, I didn’t have a great relationship with money. It came, and it went. But so did breast cancer. The only thing is, after breast cancer, I still don’t have a great relationship with money. In fact, my relationship with money is worse off than before. I have a large sum of accumulated medical bills. It’s an unfortunate thing that makes me sad.
As you can imagine, the cost of medical treatment for breast cancer is expensive. It’s expensive for those who don’t have insurance and equally expensive for those who do. Breast cancer treatment can include any of the following: surgery, reconstruction, radiation, chemotherapy, 10 billion prescriptions, wigs, new clothing, physical therapy, mental health therapy, revision surgeries, and the high cost of a new diet.
There is one thing that I forgot to mention, which is the cost of survivorship. Yes, there is a monetary cost of surviving breast cancer. Of course you’ve got the multiple surveillance appointments, three to six months apart. These appointments include lab tests and a variety of scans. Then there’s the constant flow of new medications and/or the cost of home remedy ingredients (because we have to try everything that we read up on at least once). Lastly, there’s the cost of hedonistic shopping because you have to have everything now because anxiety says, “You’re gonna die soon, so just buy everything now.”
The average person would respond, “It’s a good thing you have insurance.” My response is usually a maniacal laugh. Whether or not you have insurance, everything comes with a price. Recently, I had an appointment for a bone density scan. I canceled it because it was going to be $380. I’m so sick of saying, “Just bill me.” My oncologist wanted to know why I canceled. My response was, “Surviving is expensive!”
The very things needed to survive cancer, during and post, are the most costly. Make that make sense! I’ll wait …
I recently found a source of income that allows me to work from home (I have to work from home because I’m sickly due to cancer). I wish I could make this up, but nearly 75% of my wages are allocated to medical insurance and medical bills. I’m literally working to survive.
So, in short, no, I have not beat cancer. It is still beating me – in the pockets!
Regina “Ms. Rosewater” Matthews • Diagnosed at 34. IDC, Stage II, ER+. Life after cancer has really impacted Ms. Rosewater’s life. The luster and passion that illuminated her creativity has been washed away by the “new norm” she faces. Ms. Rosewater has requested that everyone pray for her, as she will do the same. • @whatdayisitg
Photo by Mike Quain
This piece has been republished with permission from WILDFIRE Magazine, the “Money & Cancer” issue, published originally August 13, 2022. More information available at wildfirecommunity.org
WILDFIRE Magazine is the only magazine for young women survivors and fighters of breast cancer under 45 years old. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, WILDFIRE is a beautiful, story-based bi-monthly magazine published on different themes relevant to young women survivors, from stage 0 to stage IV. Beautiful and ad-free! Visit wildfirecommunity.org for more info.