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No Hill For a Climber, How Much Does Breast Cancer Cost?

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What does it cost to have breast cancer?

Lord, I have no idea how to even quantify the question of how much does it cost.

Since my dear wife Loraine has been diagnosed, what kind of price can we place on the mental burden, the fears, the personal and life changing decisions she must make. What worth can be placed on sleepless nights from pain and worry?

What price can you place on your breasts if you are female?  What price can be placed on a part of yourself that is a large part of your femininity?

What price can you place on coming to grips with your own mortality and the impact all of this is having on your family?

As her loving husband, I only wish I knew the price I could pay to make all of Loraine's pain and mental anguish go away. If there was a monetary value that could be placed on all of this, I bet it would be so astronomical that it would only be a pipe dream anyhow. But I would make every effort to get there anyhow.

What will the ultimate financial burden be when all is said and done?

I have not a blooming clue, but it is going to be quite high. We are fortunate in that I have a good job that provides top quality insurance that is going to cover a good portion of our expenses. However, here is just a snapshot in the picture below of a portion of what has been billed to our insurance already:

On just this portion, there has been charged $32,493. This does not include some of the other initial costs from our personal care physician.

If you have guessed this is kind of terrifying from a financial point of view, you would be correct. These charges have come before Loraine had even made up her mind whether to undergo a full mastectomy or just a lumpectomy.

Absorb this for a moment. With this insurance statement along with the prior statements we have received, there have been in the neighborhood of $40,000 charged, which despite having great insurance, there are high dollar bills already rolling into our mailbox that we must pay. I am thankful to be blessed with a well paying job, but these bills could easily become overwhelming over time...

Loraine has decided to have a double mastectomy, a decision I fully support. We will be meeting with a plastic surgeon in a little over a week who will be in the room when her breasts are removed. Once the mastectomy has been completed, the plastic surgeon will immediately begin a reconstruction process in order that she may retain her femininity after this horrible surgery. It is an amazing thing that this service is available to her, but there are many questions to be asked before it is actually done. Questions such as:

Will reconstruction increase the healing time or add any additional complications?

If Loraine has to undergo radiation treatments afterwards, will reconstruction have to wait until a later time after she has been through treatments?

What kind of additional risks are associated with reconstruction after a mastectomy?

Right now, we have been having sleepless nights. The burden of the unknown can weigh heavily on the soul. While we do know the type of cancer she has is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, we do not know if it has spread to anywhere else in her body through the lymph system. We will not know this until her mastectomy has been completed and a few of her nearby lymph nodes have been removed for biopsy. This is worrisome as the tumor is about the size of a golf ball and located at the 2:30 position of her breast, near the lymph nodes under her left arm pit.

As if mastectomy is not bad enough, to add insult to injury is the complications which come from lymph node removal. When you have lymph nodes removed as she must have done, you stand the risk of developing Lymphedema.

What is Lymphedema?

When axillary lymph nodes are removed during breast surgery (with sentinal node biopsy or axillary dissection) or treated with radiation therapy, some of the lymph vessels can become blocked. This may prevent lymph fluid from leaving the area.

Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid collects in the arm (or other area such as the hand, fingers, chest/breast or back), causing it to swell (edema).

The swelling may be so slight it’s barely seen or felt. Or, it may be so great the arm grows very large.

In severe cases, lymphedema can cause pain and limit movement. Also, it can be quite upsetting to have one arm larger than the other, even if the change is small. (1)

Until Loraine has had her surgery, we will not know for certain the staging of the breast cancer. Until then, we will also not know if she will only have to have hormone treatments only, or if she will have to also have radiation and or chemo treatments. If she were to only undergo a lumpectomy in order to save her natural breasts, six weeks of radiation treatments, five days per week are guaranteed with a possibility of chemo also being needed. With a full mastectomy, provided the tumor is entirely contained and has not spread, hormone treatments that suppress estrogen production are the modern treatment which has been found to be successful.

What is costs for a loved one to have breast cancer is terrifying to say the least. It seems the sky is the limit in how much is going to be billed to us. My daughter Molly has suggested I set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the financial burden. I have not ruled that out, desperation at a later time could drive me to this, but I do not want a handout from anyone, we are survivors. Currently, Brenda Sue and I are building a Market Place here at David's Way in order to help out with the massive financial burden Loraine and I are facing. If you feel it in your heart to help, please consider online shopping here at David's Way. We are marketing breast cancer awareness items, health and beauty supplements, healthy ingredients for our recipes that your store might not carry, fitness gear and much more. We will soon have all our market categories up for your shopping experience. We currently have our breast cancer awareness and CBD markets up and running for you.

I have dedicated countless hours and hard earned cash, along with all that Brenda Sue has brought to David's Way. We have built this website as a labor of love to help others in losing and managing their weight through healthy lifestyle changes. I have pledged from day one that all of our informational content to you will be 100% free, and this will never change. Our content will always be free to you as promised.

Please pass the word to family and friends about my website. We have over 665 nutrition, health and fitness articles for you that have all been written by Brenda Sue and myself. We have a wide variety of healthy recipes for you to try as well. Our mission has been to help as many people as we can, please help us by spreading the word.

God bless and thank you for reading.

(1) https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Lymphedema.html

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