Laura

Cancer has affected my life in the way that – it does make you stop and think about what direction and how meaningful you want it to be… Up until I was 35 I didn’t want children, and then I wanted children… With that in mind, it’s like, yeah, I still want to, but what are my chances of adopting or even doing foster care?… And if I do finally have kids, foster or adopted, am I going to be here long enough for them not to feel like they’re being abandoned again?

The one piece of advice I would suggest when a person is facing death or having to deal with it with a family member is talk about it. People are scared about death when they don’t talk about it. It’s scary, yes! It’s truly scary, to think about the unknown is more scary than the known… But the more you know, it’s not going to be painful, it’s not as scary. 

The most helpful thing in dealing with my illnesses: having wonderful doctors, getting resources for you. Not even to have to worry about whether or not that doctor is working for you or has your best interest... If you doubt your physician, find someone else, ask around. They have your life in their hands, and if you’re blasé about it or too scared, how are you going to add those years to your life if you’re scared or if you don’t inquire? 

The financial end has been my nightmare, if I didn’t have it I’d be okay. In a way, my finances are making me kill myself because co-payments, although relatively small – $10 a month – I can’t afford that $10 because right now my monthly drug co-pays are about $120… Even though they say, on the whole, being rich can’t heal you or save your life, in a way it can. It allows you to afford to try to heal yourself… I just so happen to fall through the cracks of the system.

My advice for people for the future: to live… as uncomplicated… as possible, resolving matters that you may have put off until later (like I should with my father), to put in order your financial affairs… so you can live as comfortably as you can… And if you can hire a maid, hire a maid (one day!) for that daily part, so you can focus on yourself. That self-esteem has to be there – when it’s low, it’s a little bit harder to cope with your illness.