Thursday, December 16, 2010

Loves Acupuncture!

The last couple of days have been kinda tough. I'm worried about the satellite lesions as well as my finances.

As I said in one of my posts yesterday, both the wound care nurse and the surgeon felt that I've plateaued and/or the cancer in the skin in the wound is growing again and that Abraxane may not be as effective as it had been. That's not the kind of news one wants. But it confirmed what I've been feeling for the last week or so. I also feel as if my body is not able to clear the toxins from the chemo as well as it had been - my kidneys were achey as were my leg muscles. So, my acupuncture treatment today was partly geared toward removing the toxins, partly toward giving me energy and partly toward supporting my immune system to fight the tumors. Afterwards, I feel as if a big weight was lifted off my shoulders and I felt happy. I actually felt quite chipper. I finished a lot of paperwork at work today - the final report at NSF, the IRB close out, a change of grade for a student whose final paper got lost in email, and I updated my CV. Yay!

I also realized, as I lay on the acupuncture table, why I have been feeling conflicted about talking about my finances. A couple of friends have asked if there was any way they could help. I was not sure how to answer.

On the one hand, my medical expenses have been well over $5,000 this year. This month, for instance, I've spent about $400 in acupuncture treatments. I'll get reimbursed, eventually, about $200 from insurance (they pay 70% of the actual treatment, but not the herbs). But there have been about $60 in unreimbursed acupuncture treatments and $140 in herbs. The five-mushroom blend that I take is about $65 - and three of the mushrooms have anti-cancer properties. There are herbs that help me sleep, help with digestion, boost my immunity, and for energy. I also had my out-of-pocket expenses, plus travel to Seattle (and a couple of trips to Portland for my son), plus I've had to get 2 crowns replaced ($800 out of pocket) because cancer treatment affect the level of saliva in my mouth, which means that bacteria can thrive and so I ended up with cavities under the existing crowns. While I had help with some of my expenses to Seattle, which covered about 2/3 of the expenses, I still had about $750 or more in out-of-pocket expenses. That represents about 12% of my total take-home pay this year. (I just realized one reason why I'm not paying down my HELOC as fast as I might like - a lot of my discretionary money is going toward medical bills.)

On the other hand, I have splurged on myself - buying hats and scarves, taking little trips to the Coast or to Central Oregon, buying myself a Mother's Day gift, etc., stuff for the house. So, obviously I can afford to do those kinds of things which some people might consider to be luxuries, I obviously do not need to ask readers for any donations. In other words, if I scrimped and saved and didn't spend money on things like I have, then maybe I wouldn't be as stressed out about my finances like I am. It's my fault so therefore I should just tighten my belt.

So, when people offer to help me financially, I don't feel like I can ethically accept money from them because if I can afford to buy myself a hat or a pair of pants, then I don't need the money after all. That's why I feel conflicted. Plus, in our society, unless things are really bad, it's not right to ask for money. I am much better off than a lot of people.

This is why I love acupuncture. I feel lighter and happier today. In fact, after my treatment, my left shoulder and upper arm (which had been feeling heavy) felt lighter and healthier. I plan to start putting a turmeric/aloe vera gel paste on the wound since turmeric has anticancer properties. I also realized why I felt conflicted about the finances. I'd like to ask for money, but I don't feel like I should ask for money because I have splurged on myself. Just realizing why I am conflicted makes me feel better! I want to thank my acupuncturist for helping me today! Thanks, Brodie!

Man, having cancer is complicated! Isn't it?


Spirit said...

Girl, your allowed to splurge now and again.....don't be hard on yourself. Some of these expenses were not planned. Wish we could help more! Try not to worry about your wound needlessly! *Harder to do than to say, I know!

Dee said...

Thanks, dad! I'm feeling better!