Cancer By the Numbers


1 Number of times a doctor told me, “best-case scenario, you’ll be stuck with a ‘frankenboob.’ ”

0 Odds he gave that I’d be able to get chemo in time to save my life.

3 Months that doctor predicted I’d live

10 Age of my daughter when I got his prognosis.

9,342 Number of miles I drove for cancer treatment in 2014, not including travel for radiation therapy, after Stanford Hospital agreed to take me as a patient.

250 Cost per pill for post-chemo nausea medication.

0 Amount per pill reimbursed by insurance.

2 Number of pills needed per chemo treatment.

8 Number of chemo treatments.

5,859 Cost of hotel stays during chemotherapy.

1,300 Tax deduction allowed for hotel stays.

117 Hours I spent on hold, listening to in a loop, during cancer treatment

0 Number of doctors, clinics, and hospitals in my area that would accept my health insurance after Obamacare passed.

300 Dollars I paid for one hour with the only oncologist who agreed to see me, on the condition that I pay cash in advance.

4 Days I had to avoid human contact after each chemo session to prevent infection.

2 Trips to the ER during chemotherapy for a zero white-blood-cell count combined with fever that nearly killed me.

1 Pairs of shoes stolen from my hospital room while I was in surgery.

2 Nipples saved from amputation during my breast cancer journey.

7 Number of pinprick-sized tattoos I got in preparation for radiation.

6 Weeks of daily radiation.

141 Miles from my house to radiation treatment, one way.

460 Monthly insurance bill for my family of three, pre-ObamaCare


1,900 Monthly insurance bill for my family of three, now

1 Number of times during treatment I discovered oil barrels stored in the living room of a rental property my family owns

427 Number of times I’ve been felt up over the past five years.

26 Line-item cost of two Advils at a hospital where I was treated

1 Number of times during treatment that a tenant texted me a photo of a rat he speared in his kitchen

7 Cost of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

37 Number of times I crossed that bridge for medical travel.

.56 Amount per mile the government reimburses for business travel

.41 Amount per mile the government reimburses veterans for medical travel

.26 Amount per mile my family was allowed to deduct for medical travel

57 Approximate number of long-term side effects from chemo, including sore tendons, short-term memory loss, early menopause, and a tendency to like people more than I used to

3 Number of friends who died during my cancer journey, not all from cancer, and not including my mom.

900 Monthly cost of renting cold caps, the “technology” designed to save my hair during chemo.

-30 Temperature the cold cap needed to be before I Velcroed it to my head.

15 Minutes each frozen cap was on my head before it had to be replaced with a fresh one.

35 Cost of a wig from the American Cancer Society after I lost my hair anyway

11 Cost of the skull cap for when I wasn’t wearing a wig.

1 Number of skull caps I purchased because I didn’t want to give cancer an extra dime.

2 Number of times I had my hair done by a genius in Minneapolis who figured out how to put extensions on freshly chemo’d heads.

2 Number of houses I lost to wildfires during cancer

.5 Number of houses my insurance company reimbursed for the losses.


$50M Amount paid to PG&E Fire Trust Administrators


$7M Amount paid to fire victims


$0 Amount paid to my family

2 Number of cars that crashed into rental properties my family owns during cancer

1 Number of cars that crashed into the coin laundry my family owns during cancer

1 Number of those drivers who were insured.

4 Number of times my car was broken into during cancer

0 People apprehended for any of these crimes

170 Approximate number of essays I’ve written about cancer.

42,000 Cost of the shot I had after each chemo session

310,000 odometer reading on my car after cancer

1 “Recovery Journals” I’ve kept since my diagnosis.

0 Regrets.


I am happy, grateful, and at peace.

This piece was published first on BreastCancer-News

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