Cancer By the Numbers


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

0 Odds that doctor 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 this 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 Total cost of hotel stays during chemotherapy.

1,300 Total tax deduction allowed for hotel stays.

117 Number of hours I spent on hold with insurance companies, listening to bad music playing 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 Amount I paid for one hour with the only oncologist who agreed to see me, on the condition that I pay cash in advance.

4 Number of 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.

24 Number of cupcakes my daughter and I distributed on my last day of radiation, mostly to strangers.

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.

460 Monthly insurance bill for my family of three before Obamacare

1,740 Monthly insurance bill for my family of three after Obamacare

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

1 Number of times during my treatment that a tenant texted me a photo of a rat that 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 I was allowed to deduct from taxes for my 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 a lot 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 got too warm and had to be replaced with a fresh one.

35 Cost of a wig from the American Cancer Society after that technology failed me.

11 Cost of the skull cap I wore 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.

2,334 Miles I flew from my home to the hair genius in Minneapolis.

2 Number of houses I lost to wildfires during my cancer journey.

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

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

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

1 Number of those drivers who were insured.

4 Number of times my car was broken into during my cancer journey.

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 treatment

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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