Have I told you I had breast cancer? I'm still undergoing treatments so life is a series of ups and downs right now. But of all the support groups out there and people who have been through it, I don't know that anyone told me the real cost of this dreaded diagnosis.
Oh I've been through cancer before - almost 9 years ago now - and the surgery was the hardest part. Having had my children and not wanting any more, losing my uterus was not alarming. But there was still a cost to be paid. It just wasn't as high a cost or as noticeable as the one now. Breast cancer is a beast. Yes any cancer is not good, but this kind takes away something very visible and important to a woman. And although it may not be costing me any chump change out of my pocket, there is still a cost.
Like the cost of time. Time away from work. Time spent not sleeping because you hurt - physically or mentally. Time spent away from doing the things you love or even the things you think you need to do like wash dishes or rake the yard. Time going to doctor's appointments and fetching medicines. Time spent in sorrow when you just can't move anymore. There is even a cost of time to others around you. Your husband driving you to those doctor's appointments. Time lost in sleep to get up and check on you. Your co-workers are charged time - time taking up your work load while you're out. Even sick leave time donated so you can have a full paycheck.
And there is the cost to your physician team. One more patient to have to see. One more patient to process insurance payments for. One more patient to spend 5 hours in surgery on and then rounds the next morning. The cost of having to tell that patient the surgery wasn't enough.
Then there is the cost to yourself. The moments lost and frittered away on something you had no control over and something you rage at. The moments you look in the mirror and realize nothing about you will ever be the same. The tears shed standing in front of your clothes as you pick through trying to find someting to hide the freak you feel you've become and may always be. People ask if you're ok. You answer yes, being polite and knowing that your pain is not theirs and you don't want them to know how you really feel. But you want to shout - NO! I'm not ok! This is not ok! Does this look ok to you? The moments between you and God lost because you refuse to speak to Him. He knows you're mad so why tell Him. And if you dare to thank Him for anything will He just take it away the way He took away your health and self-confidence. In the end the cost must be paid.
Time passes and your doctors do their best and you feel eternally grateful to them. They caught it in time and they were willing to be aggressive to save your life. How awesome is that, right? You realize that yes, you will live. You will go on. You will get past it. You will be a survivor. But you won't know the final cost until it's all said and done. And maybe, just maybe, it may be a cost much higher than you expected.