Monday, April 30, 2007


I think for the most part I've tried to refrain from posting on here when I'm really angry or upset about something.
I figure then it'll just sound like me whining. And even though my nickname as a child used to be "Becca-Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnneeerrrrrrr", I really hate whining.
When I do it, I hate the sound of it coming out of my mouth. So I've attempted to not come on here and gripe like it's my fourth grade journal.

But I'm just in about the foulest mood you could ever imagine right now. There isn't much else to do BUT whine in this instance.

Here's the scenario. I don't have health insurance. I had COBRA insurance from my former employer before getting diagnosed. It was crappy crappy coverage, but it was still coverage. However, COBRA ran out in February (coincidently just about when I finished chemotherapy. although that didn't really matter much b/c the COBRA benefits had been maxed out for months prior to that).

I cannot NOT have insurance. I need follow up PETscans and Upper Endoscopies pretty much indefinitely. So it was imperative I get insurance. I can't get it through my current employer b/c I am parttime, they are non-profit, etc etc.

So I hear about this program through the state of Illinois called ICHIP (Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program). If you're approved, you can get covered, with no pre-existing condition, etc etc.

I applied, and got approved. Great news right? All worries solved for now?


The premium is $425ish a month. A MONTH?!? I can BARELY make $350 a month for rent, let alone regular utility bills, cell phone bill, and we're not even looking in the direction of my more than $40,000 in student loans. Nor am I even thinking about the way more than $125,000 still remaining in medical/surgical/treatment bills.

I just don't get it. I truly just can't see a solution. I do not have this amount of money. I do not have the option for making anywhere near enough at my current job. I am struggling to find a second job, or just a whole new job all together, due to the demands and constraints of this new plumbing system I had installed. I can't seem to be able to work a normal 8 hour shift with regularity. I'm lucky that my current employer is so understanding and flexible and has been there with me through it all already.

I don't apparently qualify for Social Security, SSI, Disability, Medicaid, etc. For who knows what reason.

I just don't understand. I feel very defeated. Very discouraged.

I don't know how people do it. How am I expected to pay this? It'd be one thing if I was just a normally broke fresh out of college kid. But I don't get a fresh start on this. I get to be held back by a year of treatment and surgery, barely able to work, and of course incruing massive debt well beyond even the most well established persons income. (let alone that I was not well established previously)

You always hear how a medical crisis just shatters people, not merely emotionally and psychologically, but financially as well. And I know the stories. But it's hard to fathom when it's you in that position. It's hard to dig yourself out of that pit of worry, anxiety, and fear. This wierd obligation I have. I've never imagined the statement "stuck between a rock and a hard place" to ever be so true. though for me it's essentially a life or death kinda true.

And well. That's it. I don't even have anything more to say. I barely can muster the energy to be angry. it's just too heavy. I'd rather just sink into a corner and disappear. money, insurance, the health care industry...all be damned.


  1. Don't give up Becca, this will all work out. I know it doesn't look like it now but things have a way of working themselves out. I will pray for you, that always helps. There has got to be an insurance out there that will cover you. Check with the people you met through your organization and see if they have any contacts? Maybe you can get some money from the American Cancer Society?

    Just remember to keep your head up and keep fighting. Everyday that you have breath in your body is a day that you can change things that you don't like in your life.

  2. It's better than nothing. I'm really lucky, as I live in Maryland. Our health insurance plan is $145 a month, $1,000 deductible, and $2,500 out of pocket maximum.

    Maryland also has a sliding scale based on income. (Lower premiums and out of pocket maximums for people who make less). I don't know if Illonois has that or not.

  3. Hi Becca,
    I too have stage iv cc, and a blog. Funny, tonight I figured I would visit my regular blog readings prior to posting in my own blog - something that I too have been avoiding because all I want to do is whine. To top it off my name is Wendy - previously known as Wendy Whiner!!!. Although my issues are not my insurance - it is my recurrance and having to start chemo all over again. NOT A HAPPY PERSON!!
    I am not going to tell you to keep your head up - as I am having enough problems keeping mine up! Just letting you know I am following your battle.


  4. Hi Becca,

    I was lucky to have health insurance before all this started. But it costs $375 a month plus a huge deductible, about the same as my monthly rent, so I know how sucky that is. I own my own business, so I pay for insurance out of pocket and have an individual plan. My genetic counselor (my colon cancer was caused by Lynch Syndrome, a genetic form) told me to never ever give up this insurance because no one would ever insure me again. It sucks that because of random fate I am stuck with expensive insurance and still have medical bills that are more than I can afford.

    If I had it, I would give you a million bucks, Becca.

    And feel free to whine a bit when you need to. Cancer isn't all daisies and chocolate, like they promised us. Sometimes it just sucks.

    You will figure a way out of this - you seem like a smart cookie. It may take time but I'm sure after all you've gone through you are an expert in patience.

    BTW - Feel free to read my whinings at

  5. It's damn infuriating.

    I've been in your situation (insurance-wise)...long before I got cancer, I had a very serious kidney disease that was discovered after I flunked a health insurance urine test. So I went through several years of tests & scans without any health insurance at all. How it worked for me: I went back to college. I had access to the infirmary there, which was cheap, & I went to the town's teaching hospital for workups, since they also had a sliding scale.

    I was lucky to be at a large company when I got cancer...that's the best deal. If you work at a large company, health insurance doesn't cover you for pre-existing conditions for the first 6 months, but after that, they have to.:-)

  6. I just ran across your blog from the colondar site. i know what you mean about the insurance we have had our difficulites. Our insurance said my husband cancers was pre-existing. So they wouldn't cover it until the 1 year waiting period was up. Fortunatly we fought with obudsman and they got it covered. It think there was a bit of force there. Anyway my heart goes out to you and I know that is not much. I've searched and search and have not found any place that helps. You might be able to get some help from the american cancer society or livestrong. I know they help with copays and bills. What I have never found was a place that helps with everyday bills. Our insurance is expensive also and if my husband doesn't work he doesnt't get paid. I've had to borrow to keep our policy in force or it would get worse. Anyway i'm not gonna fill up your blog with this. But I'm surprised you say that you can't quilify for services. You can contact me through myspace if you want.

    Keep strong.. Karen

  7. Hey Becca,
    It's been a while since I've checked in on you and I hope all is well with you and your insurance battle... I was thinking, couldn't you just rack up all of those bills and then claim bankrupcy when you're done with this crap?? I'm not sure how it works, but maybe it's an option?

    Hang in there girl! Hope you're feeling fabulous!

  8. I am trying to find you some help Becca. I feel so bad for you being in this situation. The good old USA isn't very good at taking care of it's own...Sue

  9. I just found your blog. I have a J-pouch, installed just 6 months ago. I am stunned you got colon cancer at 26. I had my surgery when I was 33 to avoid it, because they had found pre-cancer after 15 years of UC. That was enough for me (well, that and 9 months of scavenging research and talking to three docs) for me to haul ass to the Cleveland Clinic and have the surgery. I was insanely lucky; 6 weeks later and I was back at work. I have barely missed a day since and the J-pouch is very nice to me (thus far).

    I am impressed by your wit and candor. I don't know you, but you have huge hugs from a girl in Ohio who knows the hell of the J-pouch surgery. I am hoping that it's gotten better for you since this post.