It's a long hard journey and several surgeries. And the bills are already pilling up. I'm scared. But I like I've been saying... I've got this. But the idea of escalating bills is making my journey scarier. I need help. Plain and simple.
I had skin saving surgery on January 11th. What was supposed to be out for two days and back to work ended up being out a full two weeks. I had complications but I got through it. I had a bilateral masectomy on January 25th. That one went fantastically I'm told. I'll be out of work for another 4-6 weeks minimum for the second surgery. I've got three more surgeries to do. At a minimum.
In case you don't know, a law was passed saying insurance companies must pay for reconstruction. Which is wonderful. Except....a lot of plastic surgeons are not in network. And the ones that are in network either chose to NOT do them because the difficulty and length of surgery doesn't prove worth it for the money. And the ones who do it... Can't get you in for consultation until March. All the ones who've looked at my files said the same thing. You have to get the mastectomy as soon as possible. And then... In five months we'll go on and start the reconstruction. This is sad. Waiting that long would cause excessive scarring and more difficult surgeries... and possibly more surgeries. Also, waiting that long is detrimental to a woman's mental health. I can tell you.. right now..I look awful. My chest is gone. It's almost concave. I have expanders in because I found one wonderful doctor who squeezed me in.. he said it was an emergency and he would take me on as a patient. He's not in my network. But his staff is wonderful and working their tails off trying to get deemed in network. I chose to go ahead and do the mastectomy and reconstruction together. It's less stress and surgeries and since I'm paying for most of it... More cost effective. Honest. But or is scary how expensive my life has become.
I've had genetic testing done and luckily I don't have the cancer gene. So my daughter doesn't have it. But that test alone was $16,000. $16,000!!! My breast mri not covered at all... That's $800. Luckily I did it because they found my cancer early. Best $800 I ever spent. The oncologist surgeon needed $1200 BEFORE my surgery on the 25 of January. And the hospital wanted $3000 before the 25th also. My debt is going through the roof and I'm basically using credit cards because I don't have endless cash lying around. And my bills are only getting bigger. I don't even know what the plastic surgeon is charging yet. He's going to be expensive because he's not in network. I'm home now and unable to do anything. It's amazing how weak you are after a surgery. You live as if you are a TRex. No arm use. And things you took for granted are difficult. Showers? Being dressed by yourself? Nope. And I tell you.. I've had so many people looking at my chest, I'm no longer shy. And I think they should throw beads. I've kept a sense of humor about this. I make jokes. I try not to let anyone see how much it hurts. How scared I am. I'm the most positive cancer patient you've ever met. On the outside. On the inside I'm a panic stricken woman trying to get through. I will. I don't have a choice.
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