Seniors: Cancer’s Wicked Side Affects

Feb 15th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Suffering through a major life threatening illness, such as cancer, introduces the additional struggle of coping with its side affects. Here, we refer not so much to the troubling and debilitating affects of the disease itself, but to those influences that weigh on the mind and spirit.

The diagnosis is done. The surgery is completed. The treatments are under way. The daily struggle to deal with the strange things happening within and to your body continue. But there is more, much more.

If you, along with countless others like you, lack health insurance, one of the major and most insulting side affects is dealing with the influx of bills and the sudden loss of major resources. Imagine, just a few short weeks after being told you have cancer, maybe even Stage IV, the health system begins sending, calling, making demands for you to pay up.

For those who like to criticize others for their lack of forethought, let’s not go there. Let’s just deal with what is, circumstances that none may fully appreciate or understand, but real life issues that create the real life troubles of facing not just the disease itself, but income loss, bankruptcy, and all that goes with it. What happens next?

What is worse is when the health agencies turn over their demands to unfeeling and unyielding collectors. Now, the real added stress begins. Imagine wondering how much time you have left, how the radiation and chemo therapy treatments are going, and add to that the less than sensitive caller demanding you to pay up.

Not a good scene. Now your own anxieties, real and daily, are met with being the responsible person you have always been. You didn’t ask for this cancer. One day it just showed up. One day it was discovered. One day you were in surgery. One day you were back awake and aware of your condition. Now, the real world presses in and upon you. You must now cope not only with the invasion of one of the scariest diseases in the world, but also with the question how do I get out from under this avalanche of bills and requests for payment.

If you find yourself in a situation in which you are unable to pay the medical bills that accumulate on your plate, know that there are financial assistance/charity programs in every medical services office that you can contact for assistance.  You need to approach them with total honesty, providing all the information they request.  Information you will need to provide includes most recent income tax returns, paycheck stubs, last two or three bank statements and other financial information that may be required.  The office exists to help you determine what you can reasonably pay for the services they provide for you.  A demeanor of openness and honesty is the only approach that will work.   

These are not frivolous, easy to turn off matters.  These are real and every morning they start up again.    And the fight, the real fight with cancer, goes on.



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