Cancer Treatment Expenses
Hello, friends. I have been diagnosed with ovarian and cervical cancer. Even with insurance, the out of pocket costs have been adding up quickly. I'm terrified of my diagnosis and I'm also terrified that I won't be able to cover my bills in order to pay what is necessary to fight this disease. I was hoping for better news after my surgery, but that's not the case. I'm looking at more surgery and imaging to see how far the disease has spread.
I live alone and care for three cats and a dog. I do my best to do right by my fellow earthlings and wish them all joy and happiness. I feel so bad asking for help, but any help would be most appreciated. Thank you.
Please forgive my silence across all social media platforms. This is a difficult time and I really don’t have much to say about how I’m feeling right now. I have suffered a tremendous loss and I’m just trying to pick up the pieces while continuing my own healthcare. So, if you send me a message or tweet at me, please do not take it personally if I do not respond.
I have noticed that some people continue to write to Barry on his social media accounts. Unless I know who the sender is, I do not open it because Barry worked with a lot of abuse survivors. Their privacy was important to him and it is to me, too. To be clear, it’s not an issue of shame, but, rather, an issue of not knowing who has disclosed what. I err on the side of caution so that I do not violate anybody’s privacy.
For now, I’m continuing immunotherapy once a week and working on moving again. Barry really wanted us to be in upstate New York when the worst happened and thankfully we were. My husband means the world to me so I was willing to do anything that was going to bring him happiness. Now, I am in a strange place on my own dealing with some very devastating stuff.
I had been running on a lot of adrenaline the past few months and am starting to pay for that physically. As sick as I have been, there was no denying that Barry’s illness was much more insidious and cruel than lymphoma. I had to take the reins and look after both of us in every way. In a way, it served as a distraction from my own health issues. I’m working on getting back on track, though.
I will leave you with this…
I was alone with Barry for his final moment on Earth. I’m quite protective of that moment because it belongs to him and I. I know for certain that he knew how much I loved him and that it was okay for him to not fight anymore. We stared into each other’s eyes until he closed his and all of the battles here were over for him.
Be kind to each other.
I’m happy to report that I have been getting better, but I am absolutely devastated to report that Barry now faces his own cancer diagnosis (the #1 reason for my delayed response). Thankfully, his health insurance through the Writer’s Guild kicked in on January 1st, so we are both receiving the best care possible at a significantly lower cost.
For now, we are enjoying each other every day and are incredibly grateful for the friends we have helping us navigate all of the madness.
While I don’t wish this on anybody, there are times when I can’t help but think that there are individuals who deserve this rather than us. The only reason Barry didn’t see a doctor right away is because he didn’t have adequate health insurance and he didn’t want to rack up huge medical bills while we were already dealing with my huge medical bills. I lobbied for him to go despite what it would cost, but he had made up his mind to wait until he was covered. The American healthcare system really screwed both of us. Maybe the individuals who decided that profit over people was the way to go deserve this crap?
Thoughts, prayers, positive energy, etc. are all welcome. Questions, psychic predictions, a doctor who promises a miracle cure if you subscribe to his newsletter, etc. are not welcome. Anybody who needs the details about what is happening already has them and the other stuff is just silly and totally useless to all of us.
All in all, we are doing well. We appreciate all of you and send our love.
All the Best,
Helen has StageIV non-Hodgkins B Cell Lymphoma. That's as bad a diagnosis as you can get for that illness. The doctors proposed a new chemo combo that, after the first course of this treatment, is helping. Helen is again producing mature white cells, which is major. So they've told her she needs at least another three months of this regime, plus immunotherapy. The copay for these medications is $22,000 a month.You read that right. 22 GRAND, This is beyond all the other incidental costs of trying to keep a cancer patient as comfortable and unstressed as possible.
We are overwhelmed by the kindness and generoisty of each good wish, each donation. All that people have done for us makes us feel greedy to ask for more. Except we aren't asking forourselves, we're asking for help paying off those very monied concerns that put profiteering before the human right of healthcare. And so we have no choice but to become mendicants who must beg for my wonderful wife's life. There is enough indignity in illness, this extra layer of insult is difficult to deal with, particularly in public. But we have no other choice but to continue to rattle this cup until we can secure the possibly life-saving medications Helen so desperately needs.
Happy Holidays! (Sorry, Don)
Thanks so much,
Barry "Helen's Husband" Crimmins
I cannot express how overwhelmed Barry and I are by your generosity (I’m working on individual “thank you” notes, I swear). I have been doing okay, most days, but the difficult days are getting a little more, well, difficult. Thankfully, Barry has been extremely patient and caring. I get angry about the situation at times and can be a little cranky, but we’re both doing our best and taking care of one another as we go along.
Getting the news that even with decent health insurance, the copay for one new medication is $13,000 for a one month supply of new oral chemo meant to target Stage IV B Cell non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is a real punch in the gut. The $6,000 copay for the other new oral chemo med made me wonder who is refereeing this match. But you all have been amazing and made a huge impact on easing the added stress of dealing with the financial side of cancer in the United States.
For now, things are looking up. I’ve started the aforementioned latest round of oral chemotherapy. It can be brutal, but Zofran, an antiemetic (anti-nausea) medication, has been a good friend despite the unwelcome side effect of massive headaches that keep me awake. Barry, Alfie the dog, Dagmar, Greta, and Cookies the cats keep me smiling and laughing.
I felt pretty well today, so I dragged Barry out to go pumpkin and apple picking. We made it as far as the pumpkins (Barry said he had a line on where they sell pre-picked apples). I’ll get him into the Autumn spirit if it’s the last thing I do! I’m kidding, of course. Being the wonderful person he is, he happily squired me to a lovely pumpkin patch and helped me pick out some real beauties. He even reminded me to NOT try to pet the rooster that was wandering around near us. Country boys occasionally come in handy.
And, of course, as many of you know, Robin Ince has been an amazing friend and ally during this trying time. For those of you who don’t know, he has organized a wonderful event (I so wish I could be there—the lineup is outstanding!) to help raise money for us and for CLIC Sargent, an organization that helps children with cancer. So, if you see him around, give him a huge hug from us or give him a shoutout on Twitter (@robinince). He deserves so much for everything that he has done. You all deserve so much for all that you have done. If you can make it to the show...do it!
I will try to be better about updating this page more and sending out punctual “thank you” messages to all of you lovely people out there. Life can get busy, but you all are in my heart and mind every day.
With much love and gratitude,
I'm so sorry our health care system prioritized for profit, you deserve everything we can offer and it shouldn't cause you financial worry. Hoping for successful treatments, we are all in this together. I send my best (independently proven in tests) mojo to you. Love to you Helen and Barry.