I have been completely open about my cancer journey. (It's almost the One Year Anniversary of #SaveLefty) 😂 , and now it's time to talk about $$$$.
One thing I did not realize was the financial shit storm that happens with cancer or chronic illnesses- even for people like me who have insurance AND who are privileged enough to have parents and a partner who can help me when I need it. I don't have kids, I don't own a home, and I also know how to make (some) money online when I can't get out of bed. I reek of privilege (and gratitude!!) in this journey.
Occasionally I am still overwhelmed by the financial impact of grief AND cancer.
Grief - because I now remember how exhausted I was after Jim died - trying to make a living and trying to grieve.
Cancer and chronic illness - because some days this past summer & fall I have just wanted to sleep, but I had to have some way to pay my bills, so I got up and worked. I cannot imagine how bad it would have been if not for Sam and my parents.
This is NOT a pity post. This is a resilience reality check post meant to empower each and everyone of us.
In August, I was lucky enough to receive a grant to cover some expenses. Through that, I learned that most women who have breast cancer need financial help around 6 months - 1 year after their diagnosis. I'm pretty sure this for any traumatic event as well. The need for financial assistance can be for a myriad of reasons, but for many it is because they finally have to leave their job. They have tried to balance it all, and they are just exhausted. Exhaustion leads to health issues and recurrence.
Well F THAT! Life is too short. (not that anyone who is reading this needs to be told that lol)
Are there financial resources out there? Yes! But when patients or grievers finally have the energy to ask for help, or apply for it, it is almost too late. Their credit score has been adversely affected, they may be in collections, or they may be SO embarrassed that they just ignore their phone and the debt hole gets deeper.
So what I am saying is:
If you are in this situation, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is no reason to be embarrassed. You can be angry, you can be sad, but damn it, don't add embarrassment. YOU did not cause this shit storm. Resilience means putting that feeling aside and asking for help. You can do this.
When you see a goFundme, 99% of people do not want to do it, but they have to. If you see one, share it. If you see someone going through financial troubles because of health, they're not being irresponsible. Sometimes they're still working THROUGH chemo and treatments, and a GoFundMe is the least exhausting thing they can do to ask for help. When you share or donate any type of fundraiser, you are giving them a small win that boosts their (and their family's) resilience.
I've started to be able to do seminars and shoots again, and damn it feels good, but as I get better, I am opening my eyes to how I (and others) can and do fall behind while just trying to stay alive.
Be kind to yourself and others. You deserve that.
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