I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. I went through the usual chemotherapy, surgery, and radiology, and the not so heard of developed diabetes, and lost my vision for 9 days due to the steroids in the chemo drugs causing blood sugar level so high that the meters could not measure it. I finally went into remission in 2004 and returned to work. I didn't think much about breast cancer and went on with my life until I was told the cancer was back, had spread to my lungs/wind pipes, and that best prognosis was 12 months to live; that was in 2006. Once again, I went through chemotherapy and surgery, the radiology had done so much damage the first time, that this was not an option for me. In 2008, in remission again, I returned to work, only to have the cancer return at the end of that year. I am again in chemotherapy, and have been for 3 years now (the doctor wants to continue it as long as my body can stand because of fear/belief the cancer will return once again).
Through all of this, I have been homeless, and sometimes without the proper food and clothing. Not only does cancer take a toll on your body, but I have been drained of all savings, stocks, bonds, and have caused my children to file bankruptcy because they tried to help me. Still the medical bills remain unpaid and have ruined my credit, so even if I could find an affordable place to live, I would be rejected because of my credit rating. All in all though, I try to remain positive and hope that if I moan and complain enough, there will something down on a local level to assist people like me (this help does exist in some states/cities, just not mine), those without minor children to help qualify for medicaid, food stamps, low income housing, etc. I notice that your forum does not address the financial hardship that cancer can place on the patient, their family, and friends. These things should also be a part of this publication, as well as help with finding rarely heard of resources. I have gone to the usual places, ie: Social Services, Social Security, Salvation Army, United way, etc. Most of these I was either not eligible for any assistance, or if they would assist with rent or a utility, a portion was pledged ( paid only if someone else paid the balance first) pending my getting a pledge/promise of payment by some other agency for the rest. I still struggle today, and hope that soon I will be able to increase my catering contracts, to provide for myself. I'm sure someone knows exactly what I'm talking about and maybe you will be able to provide input for others like me.