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My life is worth $500,000 and counting (I’m guestimating). How do I know this? Our insurance company decided. They approved my treatment with Yervoy aka Ipi, which is part of the generic nickname. Most people call it Ipi because Yervoy sounds stupid even in print. We are incredibly fortunate to have generous corporate medical coverage. I am lucky to be a melanoma patient at the right time to take advantage of these amazing groundbreaking new treatments. But they are very expensive. I am very thankful yet at the same time I struggle contemplating the wrongness of it all. I think about people who can’t get the medicine. Many people here in the United States don’t have health insurance. Ipi and Zelboraf both have been denied in Britain and the European Union as “not worth the cost”. Here’s another side of the coin:

$500,000 equals

  • 2 Million Meals for the hungry in Middle Tennessee
  • Clean water wells for 71 villages in Africa
  • Complete education through High School for over 200 Haitian children

I could go on. Alan reminds me that of course this money wouldn’t be used in that way, it would stay at the insurance company. But still.

Is this what makes me worth so much?

Today I: Took my kids to school, had a nap, ran some errands and will run some kids around after school later. I also consciously decided that although Pepper brought in a healthy sized bone at 6:30 this morning (we don’t give her those), I would not troll the yard for the rest of the disinterred and likely dismembered remains. Police and media presence would surely have interfered with my nap. I’ve done nothing to contribute to the further good of society. What do you think you’re worth?

I’m waiting on my doc’s office to schedule things. To keep busy I’ve been enjoying side effects that are new or returned like bleeding gums and a horrid outbreak of cold sores unlike I’ve seen in twenty years. My joints and feet are hurting right through the two Aleve I take twice a day. My eyes are unbelievable dry and I put this petroleum jelly ointment in them right before I get in bed. I need to figure out how to put the gel in after I get in bed because after I use it I can’t see anything, even the bed. Everything looks like I’m wearing someone else’s prescription glasses underwater.

I inevitably forget one more final to-do. Last night I forgot the ice packs for my feet at night and three curse words later as I triumphantly found the bed and wriggled my way into it, Alan (my quick, sound sleeper) says “What are you DOING?”. “Trying to get these ice packs settled near my feet.” “You could’ve asked for some help.” “Well I DID. I think they’re ice packs. They might be chicken breasts. They are definitely frozen and squishy. I think they’re blue.” “Yeah, they’re probably not chicken breasts. They shouldn’t be squishy and probably not blue.”

All this is minor in cancer land if you can get a treatment that works, that doesn’t cause any lasting organ damage, it’s a big deal. Win! I miss my steroids. Call me Mark McGwire.

People often ask about the kids. They are thriving. Busy with school, sports, scouts, and growing up too fast. Here is a note my daughter left me on my computer last week:

DEAR MOM,

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! YOU ARE MY ROLE MODEL BECAUSE YOU ARE SO STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. I KNOW IT IS REALLY HARD, BUT NOT MANY PEOPLE COULD HAVE DEALT WITH CANCER THE WAY YOU DID. I TRULY BELIEVE YOU CAN GET THROUGH THIS.

“FOR WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”

– MATTHEW 19:26

I found a journal entry she had thrown away some time ago decrying the unfairness of everything as we journeyed through the cancer maze again. But she told God that if she has to let me go, she will do it. My kids amaze me. They are stronger than I am some days.

Waiting on the directive to come down to Vandy for Ipi just means more time for other things. I really need a haircut. The 54 hairs remaining have the consistency of straw and I look a lot like Phyllis Diller. I can’t wait for that big reunion this weekend wearing my wig, bleeding gums, and sporting my cold sores. Also I’m down to ONE pair of stained, old sports sandals my aching feet can tolerate for any length of time. This is starting to sound like an SNL skit. Cancer – I wouldn’t recommend it.

Links people are asking me for:

If you’d like to subscribe and have these updates come directly to your inbox, look on the webpage for a button that says FOLLOW. Enter your email address here, click FOLLOW and you will get a confirmation email. This is a legitimate site so don’t be afraid of spam advertising drugs for enlarging anything, like your ego.

Help more people avoid cancer and save innocent frozen chicken breasts. Walk with us Oct 6:

http://www.firstgiving.com/melanoma/MusicCityMFM5K2012

Or Make a tax-deductible donation to the Melanoma Research Fund:

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/teamwillett/MusicCityMFM5K201230

Peace to you all – Amy

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