Cathy's Cancer back for 4th time

28919Two weeks ago I went to the doctor for my yearly checkup and script refill when I was told my thyroid level was dangerously low and that the cancer had returned. Without health insurance, the cost for just the body scan (shots, pills, etc) is $6531. I will have to take chemo pills again for a year and doctor visits every month along with blood tests every month. All this cost for the next few months we estimate to run over $10131. Wonderful friends have helped with $2400 for the deposit on the scan!


June of 2005 found me in the Endocrinologist office being diagnosed with Stage IV Papillary thyroid cancer. (and my husband just thought I was a pain in the neck!!) I had a thyroidectomy July 5th, then radioactive iodine treatment in August. 4 days of isolation in a hospital room was not my idea of an pleasant escape from the world! Luckily I had health insurance that covered everything.

November 2006 during a scheduled scan, the cancer was again showing in the neck area, so I had another round of RAI, but this time was able to stay secluded in our bedroom at home. No pets, no kids, no husband got really lonely knowing they were on the other side of the door. Chris enjoyed threatening to put my food tray down and knocking on the door and waiting to see who got to it first; me or the dogs! Again, health insurance was there to cover everything!


Round 3 came in March 2011 when I had another scan showing the cancer had metastasized to my right lung. Since I had already received 2 massive doses of radioactive iodine, that was not an option again. Luckily when thyroid cancer metastasizes, it remains thyroid cancer and does not change to the organ cancer. Since it was in the lung, the Doctor prescribed Iressa, a chemo pill that I would take for 6 months. I was secretly hoping my hair would fall out and maybe come back curly, but no such luck; it only made me tired all the time! A scan in September showed no signs of the cancer cells. Thanks goodness for health insurance, although it was not all covered, we were able to take care of the additional costs with our savings.


After losing my State job, and now working as an independent contractor, we can no longer afford health insurance. Pricing insurance with Chris having heart disease and my cancer causes serious sticker shock and not feasible in our budget with 2 in college and another getting ready for college!
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Cathy Boyce Olsen 
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