Few people realize how financially devastating cancer is for many people. It drains one’s savings (even with good health insurance); it may disrupt one’s ability to earn a living in the short and long term; and incurs endless bills outside traditional “health care” that go on and on.
This is part of a series of personal stories about the financial (and very human) cost of cancer. You can find the earlier articles by searching #CancerCosts on the site.
Beyond the Dollars
I’ve been attempting to write this post for at least 8 weeks now. Most of the articles on this series highlight the financial devastation that too many adults incur as a direct result of a cancer diagnosis. I, however, was a child, an 8-year-old little girl, when I was diagnosed with cancer.
My losses could not be quantified in lost wages, eviction notices, or employment discrimination. No, my losses were those of a child.
I missed my third grade year of school; I LOVED school; I excelled in school.
I missed play time and sleepovers, giggles and makeovers, and truth or dare.
I missed being treated like everyone else;
I missed the expectation that I was capable though temporarily incapacitated at times.
I missed getting in trouble.
I missed having a voice raised to me when I didn’t do my chores.
I missed rough and tumbling with my older brother.
I missed dance and gymnastics.
I missed my shoulder length white blonde hair.
I missed birthday parties: balloons, cake, and ice cream.
I missed going outside whether in the sun or to play in the snow.
I missed feeling good, feeling strong, feeling like doing something, anything.
I missed feeling normal.
I missed being a child.
I miss a part of me I’ve never known.
These are the costs through the eyes of that 8-year-old child.