I have mentioned a couple of times on this blog that I have a friend who is very ill and struggling with medical bills. My heart has been heavy ever since I learned of her diagnosis. Her family has set up a fundraising site and her sister (also my good friend!) has written a piece for this purpose.
My little sister Julie and I used to complain about the weather, talk over a new recipe or book or interesting idea we heard on the news, decide whether we were too old for this haircut or that outfit, determine what everybody wanted on their pizza, and decide what our parents wanted for a birthday or christmas present. Now we sync calendars based on chemotherapy dates, oncologist appointments, required blood work, and CT scans. My brother and Julie still talk often about their families and how the Tigers are doing, but they spend more of their time talking about if she’s eating ok, if the side effects are too much, and if the girls are all right.
Our parents used to keep Julie’s daughters while she went to the grocery store, stop by Julie’s house whenever invited, and talk with her daily about the details of their lives. Now they hover outside their guest bedroom many mornings each week to determine if Julie is sleeping, if she’s sick, if she needs something, and if she’s going to be able to face the day ahead.
Julie’s daughters used to complain about their homework, ask for something different for dinner than what was on the table, and drag their heels when called in from outside when darkness loomed. Now they ask their Mom if she’s feeling better today, they play more quietly, and they carefully walk their Mom to bed in the evening when she has dozed for too long on the sofa.
Julie used to work for the family business full time, keep track of her two daughters, run a tight ship of a household, and find time for the rest of her family too. Now she tracks which medication she took when and manages side effects from chemo, from the medication to fight side effects, and from the medication to manage her pain.
My sister is 42. She weighs 78 pounds. Julie was diagnosed with Stage IV colo-rectal cancer on April 30, 2012 and nothing has been the same since then.
Julie is fighting the disease with grace and strength, and makes sure her daughters are well taken care of during the fight of her life. She divorced in November, 2011 however, and lost her health insurance coverage. It was fine…she was young and strong and going to school to prepare for a new career. Health insurance would come with the new work toward which she was studying.
But cancer took hold like a tsunami and Julie is now facing her disease, her treatment, and the escalating medical costs related to her diagnosis and the ensuing therapies and tests. She was able to obtain health insurance as of June 1, 2012. And while every effort has been made to negotiate with providers to contain and reduce costs without jeopardizing the quality of her care, the medical costs for the uninsured months prior to her insurance coverage have become an overwhelming burden which prevents her from focusing on what’s most important…her daughters, her treatment plan, and fighting the disease which has overtaken her.
She’s doing her best in the face of all that has happened to her, and Team Julie is dedicated to doing the same. Thanks for checking in at our site, thanks for all you’ve done thus far, and thanks for anything else you’re able to do to help Julie Battle the Beast.
I’m using my blog as a platform to get the word out. If you would like to contribute to Julie’s fundraiser, you can go HERE. No amount is too small. It would mean so much to the family and to me.
Thank you for your consideration.