Wednesday, May 18, 2016

One Year In

One year ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It has cost $371,838.40 to “fight” my cancer this past year.
My insurance, for which I am grateful,
changed drastically in the middle of my treatment.
My out of pocket costs unexpectedly skyrocketed.
My insurance company won’t always pay for what my doctors say will keep me alive.
I am now the face of a previously uninsurable, pre-existing condition.
If I was diagnosed a few years ago, I might be filing for bankruptcy right now.
The national debates about Obamacare and insurance continue.
While you vote for yourself, I will deal with the outcome.

Social media has told me I caused my own cancer.
Agencies who decide these things have made sure I won’t get any pain pills.
The comment section is sure people like me deserve the karma we get.
The internet has told me I can cure my cancer with weed and turmeric and enemas.
Forum posters are convinced I am an idiot for listening to my doctors.
The TV news said the mammogram that showed my cancer is a useless tool.
The lady at the store said big pharma has the answer and they are hiding it from me.
People I don’t even know have advised me to chop them both off.

I’ve thought about cancer a lot this past year.
But I’ve also thought a lot about all of that other stuff.

The most stressful part of having cancer this past year wasn’t always the cancer.

Somehow, that just doesn’t seem right.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Who You Gonna Call?

I was sound asleep 
and peacefully unaware
the instant it all violently jammed into 

My eyelids snapped back, my pupils went into full speed dilation and the whites of my eyes attempted to jump out of their sockets. My whole body tensed up. The hair on my arms stood up. I felt my heart.  It thudded in my chest.  My blood rushed.  I took a deep breath and it sounded like an airplane taking off.  My ears, they heard everything.  

They heard the voices downstairs.

I looked at the clock.  
It was 2:30.
The 2:30 that happens when it’s dark and no one but you should be in your house.
The husband snored a bit.
He heard nothing.

I found it reasonable to leave the bedroom.  I took the stairs at a snail's pace, foolish and terrified. The third stair from the bottom failed to creek. This gave me confidence. My head rounded the corner in full CIA spy mode. I scanned the front room where the men’s voices were coming from.

They did not like being bald.
They knew of a way to get more hair and more women.
I only needed to pay 3 installments of $49.95.

The infomercial blared on the television that was turned off when we went to bed.

The TV continued to turn itself on unexpectedly and repeatedly for weeks. Eventually, it started turning itself off as well.  I Googled the problem.  My expert Google friends had lots of suggestions.  The batteries in my remote were low and were sending out ambiguous signals to the TV.  My prankster neighbors were turning my TV on with their fancy computer skills.  My ignorant neighbors were turning on my TV with their garage door opener.  

Or it was a ghost.

I told the husband and the teenage boy that I was pulling the batteries out of the remote like my Google friends had suggested.  But, I warned them, it was entirely possible we had a ghost.  They raised their eyebrows and nodded toward each other with that superior look that made it clear they thought I was wacky.

Two hours later I flew out of the bedroom where I was reading and yelled to the husband and the teenage boy in the other room. “DO YOU HEAR THAT??  There are voices downstairs again! I just pulled all  the batteries out of the remote and I’m pretty sure our neighbors aren’t messing with us.  How do you explain that??”

The husband muttered a muffled, “Wow, yeah….ghost….yep.”
The teenage boy mocked me with a chuckle, “Yeah, must be your G G G GHOST!” And then he and the husband laughed a lot at my expense while they pretended to shoot each other on their computers.

I found it reasonable to confront the talking men downstairs again.

They were hunting ghosts.
They were sure there were ghosts all around us.
I whispered inside my head, “yes…....ghosts……
I knew it.  

I turned the TV off, marched back upstairs in full wide eyed nutjob mode and made the boys pause their game.  I pointed my finger at them in a scolding kind of way. “Well, not only DO we have a ghost,” I lectured them. “But we have a ghost with a sense of humor.  The movie Ghostbusters was playing downstairs.  Ghostbusters!! Now how do you explain that?”

And as they stared back at me, trying not to laugh, we heard the TV downstairs turn itself on again. As the movie went to a commercial, I heard the Ghostbusters theme song blare out of the TV.

“Who you gonna call?” Ray Parker, Jr. asked me.

The lyrics quickly
floated up the stairs 
and enveloped me.
I swear that ghost was mocking me.