…but she was sick and tired of being sick and tired for over a year and finally decided to see about it. She slept eight hours but it felt like two. She and hubby fussed more because they had sex a lot less, especially since her back started hurting two months before. Pain with intercourse, progressive weakness, mood swings and now frequent muscle cramps in her legs and arms didn’t help their
situation. The swelling around her eyes, feet, and hands were now lasting throughout the day, and she began to notice that her urine foamed up in the commode. She also noticed that food tasted funny and her appetite was poor, but the weakness had become almost oppressive with minimal activity and that’s what
concerned her most. It was a heaviness and it was all she could do to just trudge through the day. She was losing weight without trying and at first didn’t mind since she thought she could afford to lose some anyway. Her close friends said she looked bad, looked tired, and looked stressed out.
By the time she did see the doctor, the cancer had spread beyond the confines of the pelvic area to involve the lymph system and urinary tract. The primary source of the cancer was easily diagnosed at the doctor’s visit with a Pap smear but the extended diagnostic workup was prognostically devastating. She received
the radical hysterectomy with two subsequent hospitalizations at the same hospital, running up a balance of $56,450 after insurance payments. Pain was now a daily ordeal. The first hospital’s debt collection department, being outsourced, hounded her, forcing her to go to a second hospital 12 miles away to get continued care with max radiation therapy and chemotherapy. She eventually
succumbed to the statistics of survivorship of advanced metastatic cervical cancer, not being in the 15% of those who are still living after five years.
Her husband was eventually left with a $93,000 balance to pay. Unable to do so he eventually took out a Home Equity Loan but the recession sucked business away and he eventually couldn’t make the monthly payments and filed for bankruptcy. She never got to see her 25 year old daughter get married the following year, nor her 18 year old son graduate from high school, nor her first
grandchild sing at his first Christmas pageant.
She hadn’t had a Pap smear since Katrina.