Insurance and Assurance - Both Essential With Cancer

Insurance. It is essential when you have an illness like cancer, and I’m not just talking about medical insurance to help with the finances. When I say insurance, I really mean “assurance.” So why didn’t I just say assurance? Because it’s my article and I’ll do what I like.

Cancer procedures are expensive

I’m not saying financial medical insurance isn’t important, it certainly is. I mean, without it you probably couldn’t afford half the life-saving procedures that you need when you have cancer. Sad, but true. Cancer procedures can cost more than a house. More than two houses in some areas, and if you don’t have Medicare or some other insurance to fall back on it can get ridiculously expensive. You’d think that hospitals would give you a break on the bill if you are self-pay, but they don’t. Why? Because if people knew that they could get away with charging less than they charge insurance, then insurance wouldn’t pay the prices that they do.

In addition, since insurance pays only a percentage of what the hospital bills, the hospitals naturally inflate the prices so that they can get more money from the insurance companies. The insurance companies then further reduce the percentage they pay, and the merry-go-round spins in circles as the patients suffer… and that’s insurance in a nutshell.

My lymphoma safety net

Assurance, on the other hand, is really what I mean to discuss with this article. Assurance is basically the safety net you have when you are diagnosed with cancer, which can include medical insurance but there’s more to it.

Lymphoma and all other blood cancers are a heavy lift, heavier than 10 elephants in a dump truck. Heavier than a suitcase of uranium. Heavier than the Japanese Olympic Sumo wrestling team (and just as slappy!). It’s not something that any human being can do alone, and I know there’s a portion of you that have to do just that which is why it’s so important to develop a safety net. Like a high-wire walker over the Grand Canyon, if you fall off the cancer horse and there’s no net to catch you, you’re going to take a dive and it might be your last. This is why it’s so important to have assurances.

Relying on friends and family

Many of us rely on family and friends. Now, that may seem like the perfect and most easy solution but it isn’t without its flaws. Friends come and go and there’s nothing as good as cancer to show you which friends don’t have what it takes to step up when the, err, cancer, hits the fan. I had friends who I thought would be the first in line to help turn out to be the ones who disappeared faster than a bag of chips at a marijuana festival. On the other hand, I had friends who I saw maybe once a year (during leap years) show up for me on a weekly basis. It was mind-blowing and I never would have guessed who ended up in what column.

Family, the other option, is, well, family. I think we all know what it’s like dealing with our family members and the accompanying familial issues. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to discover that having cancer doesn’t make those issues any better. In fact, if anything, it exacerbates them. That family member who always makes it about themselves is still going to make it all about themselves. “Yes, Sissy, the fact that you got skipped in line at the DMV is exactly the same as me having lymphoma. We are both having a really bad year.” It’s FAM-I-LY, it’s what they do and what they will continue to do, but you’ll need them and the help that they provide.

Consider joining a patient support group

Alternatively, there are some who don’t have friends or family to count on when the Big C comes calling, and that’s fine too – you can cultivate other relationships. They have patient support groups which are a great way to meet others in your situation, sometimes in different stages of the process and sometimes in the exact same stage (so either way, you’re covered). It’s a fantastic way to meet people who participate in a mutual support network.

You can also rely on neighbors, acquaintances, and even co-workers. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to step up with kindness when given the chance. I know everyone says the world sucks now and everyone is awful all the time, but as long as you don’t bring up politics you’ll be fine. Or religion. Or abortion. Or sports. You know what – just to be safe keep it to the weather and favorite flavor of ice cream. Unless it’s Rocky Road then those people can go to HELL!! Ha ha.

A last resort safety net

If you are left with no other option at all, you can always go for the classic, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” monitoring service. I know, I know – it’s going to make you feel helpless and nine thousand years old, but you can just carry your cell phone around your neck at all times and enable voice control if you don’t want to join the ranks of the fallen and can’t get up. Still, though, it’s a last resort safety net and it will help to quell some of the anxiety about what happens if you suddenly need help and there’s no one to call.

Insurance through assurance. It’s an all-important part of that keeping that positive outlook that the docs are always going on about when you have cancer. It staves off the anxiety of worrying about the financial, social, and physical consequences of living with a life-threatening illness. No matter who or what you end up using to provide that net, it’s important to cultivate and it might just result in some life-long friendships you never expected. Talk soon.

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