Early in 2017, while hosting a business event, I felt myself getting weak and dizzy. I didn't think it was anything beyond exhaustion. I started to feel better but a few days later I woke up realizing something was very wrong. Scheduling a doctors appointment, I figured I had an infection or illness, not realizing that next day I'd get the call you never want to get:
"We found cancer."
So many things go through your head, My dad died of bladder cancer that rapidly spread after a long battle with a rheumatoid disease, so it is impossible not to draw parallels, especially since the cancer was in the same area of the body. Even after being told the type, you still can't get it out of your head the worst case scenarios.
The cancer battle was won quickly, having been caught and removed in Stage 1A. The whole process from discovery to removal ran from February to April 2017 and much of the time is a blur to me. I was very fortunate that it was caught so early when it could be easily removed with a single surgery. The aftermath and adjustment was not so simple.
I immediately began to figure out how to pay for the upcoming doctors visits and how this would impact my family. I began to pay for co-pays and medical bills. Soon before my surgery, a miracle happened: I was approved for Medicaid. It paid the surgery and was retroactive to the beginning of the month. I never received my refunds from before the approval date since primary doctor's practice suddenly shut down after the owner (not my doctor) was arrested for fraud. I also had to take some time off work and stop taking overtime for a period of time, significantly reducing my income. My business was also put on hold since I did not have the physical energy to run it for several months after beyond servicing existing clients.
The bills backed up and money ran short. I managed to get by but live with limited income as needed to retain the insurance, but soon that will have to change as it is income based and I live alone. My mom helps me to the extent she can, but this is not a reasonable solution as she is retired.
I have a job, run a small consulting and service business (with low overhead), but cannot catch up to put myself on solid ground. At the urging of a friend who is going through cancer, I am setting up this campaign. I consider myself indepedent, and want to be self-sufficient, but she pointed out at certain times you need to not be afraid to ask for help.
I want to raise money to close the gap so I can be fully self-sufficient, pay down the backed up bills, pay for any uncovered upcoming treatments (I get bloodwork every other month, and x-rays, CT scans, doctors follow-ups, and other tests as needed every 3-4 months) and repay my mom for some of what she spent while staying with me for several weeks before during and after the surgery.
UPDATE AUGUST 2018: My latest tests have been clean, but I have yet to resolve the billing issue.
I hope when I'm back to where I need to be, I'll be in a position to return the favor to others in similar situations.
Thank you for anything you do.
- Ankit Patel
- Vincent Razzano
- Ankit Patel
- Tara McGeehan
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