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.
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 came out to Greater Chicago to help her earlier this year simply because we were friends and I didn’t want her to face any more travail alone. Our love came as a surprise to both of us, one that has already brought us great happiness.
We planned to get married when Helen got through her last bout with cancer. We expected the docs to clear her. That’s not what happened and so my darling faces continued health challenges. Anything beyond that is our business and we thank you in advance for respecting our privacy.
Since this is America most of the burden for this falls upon us. The comedian family-leave plan just isn’t what it should be— like in existence. we have decided to renew Helen’s gofundme page because she still can’t work and the less time I have to spend on the road, the more time I can spend with her. So if you’d like to send us something in honor of our marriage and love, GoFundMe would be the best way to do it.
Thanks and love,
Helen and Barry
PS- Watch for news of our wedding soon!
Okay, so, this will be my final update for this campaign. I wanted to give it one final push since I am so close to my goal! The goal changed because I was not aware of the actual expenses involved. Deductibles and maximum out of pocket expenses are dirty tricksters!
I am happy to report that as of right now, I am finished with chemotherapy and will be getting some final blood work and imaging done in two months. My insides are full of staples, so an MRI is out of the question until those completely dissolve. I can tell all of you that I feel great even though I will still have some physical limitations for another five weeks. That is no big deal compared to the crap I just endured.
I did my best to remain upbeat and not complain about the pain, the nausea, the exhaustion, the confusion, the loneliness I experienced through all of this, etc. But, I'm beginning to digest the reality of what just happened and all I can do is hope that every single one of you beauties never have to navigate your way through this. You all have been so helpful and crucial to my sanity through all of this and I will do anything I can do to help if you find yourself in difficult times.
I found it helpful to concentrate on the wonderful doctors I worked with, the friends who were at my door to help walk Alfie or bring groceries when I couldn't do anything for myself--that's not meant to diminish anybody who helped me financially! It was just great to know that things were taken care of around here.
Also, I got very lucky to have a friend who is a wonderful stylist and helped me keep most of my hair and my nails through chemotherapy. It took a lot of time and dedication, but it's the little things that help...
Okay, getting to the end here, I love all of you and I'm here! I have a few less organs now, but my heart remains full. Expect many hugs when you see me!
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.