“There goes my money!” That came from the lady doctor-patient who was next to me in the Chemo room during my last Herceptin infusion as she gave the thick stash of cash to the Oncologist’s aide as payment for the chemo drugs. She was formerly a stage 2B breast cancer patient who is now undergoing chemotherapy again after a recurrence of cancer in the liver after 6 years. And she’s going for 12 cycles of chemotherapy again! I can feel her sense of regret or loss for the good amount of hard-earned money which could have been spent on things she was wishing to have or do after saving up. Cancer is really a debilitating illness, physically, as well as financially. For breast-cancer patients who are HER2+ like me, they have to undergo 18 cycles more of Herceptin infusion after 6-8 cycles of chemotherapy and 33 days of daily radiation. Usually, one will be using 2-3 vials (150mg per vial) of Herceptin and each vial costs 41,600 pesos or USD900+. However, one usually applies with the ROCHE RAP program (Roche is the manufacturer of Herceptin) where you are given a 40-50% discount on Herceptin. Regular chemo costs a little less depending on the type of drug you will need. And chemo drugs are not your only expense. There’s the professional fee of the Oncologist who charges high fees per session as if he is basing it on the cost of your drugs. (This, despite the doctor’s non-liability clause waiver which you have to sign before you undergo chemotherapy). And that’s not all. There are the periodic diagnostic tests and the maintenance medicines for 5, now 10 years? And God help us that nothing goes wrong or we will have to shell out more!
What a waste seeing my money go down the drain when I could have used it to travel with my loved ones, or have the house renovated, or risk it in a business, or use it for charity or help the missionaries. . I was contemplating on doing any one of these but the diagnosis outran me. If only I knew with 100% accuracy what I could have done to prevent myself from getting cancer, I would, as I know that health is wealth. It is not like the certainty of avoiding some foods to prevent getting kidney or gall stones. Looks like almost everything can cause cancer that you’d ran out of things to eat and still not be sure you’re doing the right thing. Like I was starting to go vegetarian, but the vegetables could have been sprayed with pesticide, or do I know what additives they are putting in my drink or food whenever I eat out or eat processed food and drinks. And even if you’re eating right, there’s the stress and environment factors, and genetics!
I used to hear my mother say “If the money wants to go, it will!”. She’s right!