Our Unexpected Hiatus, Pancreatic Cancer, and What We’ve Learned

We are thrilled to be back! Stoked, I tell you! It’s been a wild ride in the Frugal Escapades household, and we never intended to leave the blogosphere for an extended amount of time – but life happens.

So why the long hiatus? In truth, we’ve had a rough spell. As much as we would like to sugarcoat the reason for our absence, and report an outrageous story like being held hostage by talking elephants – we feel it’s best to simply tell it like it is.

Here is our story in a nutshell-

First, my mother had a stroke. Thankfully she is doing well and other than some minor cognitive issues, she has made a full recovery.

Second, my aunt passed away from pancreatic cancer. She will be missed.

Third, my father was diagnosed with neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer. Note: We also lost my grandmother years ago from pancreatic cancer. Notice the pattern?

Then much to our amazement it didn’t end there. The fourth occurred when I went to the doctors with stomach pain thinking it was stress, had a CT Scan, and later found out that I have a neuroendocrine pancreatic cyst sitting on the tail of my pancreas, same place as my father’s tumor.

Confusion

Our family was baffled over how this could happen because neither my father nor I have ever smoked, and we rarely drink alcohol which are the primary drivers for pancreatic cancer and cysts. However, my surgeon believes that it may be realistic to assume that we carry a gene that makes us prone to this extremely rare type of neuroendocrine disease. In the end we decided against genetic testing because we are already beyond this stage and feel it’s not worth the cost.

Moving Forward

The good news is that we were told neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer is a very slow-growing cancer. My father has tolerated the rounds of chemotherapy well and is now just starting his radiation treatments. He will have an operation in the spring to remove the tumor. His doctors keep telling us that they are going for a “cure” which gives us reason think positive and believe there is potential for a good outcome. If treatment goes well my father could live for many more years.

I have a another CT Scan scheduled in January to take a closer look at my pancreas. This CT Scan will be stronger and will check for additional pancreatic cysts that may have been missed on the first CT Scan, and whether or not the current cyst shows any growth.

It was explained to us that sometimes one can get a cyst that remains stagnant for many years; in which case they simply leave it alone and keep a close watch on it. But if the cyst grows, I have already opted to have it surgically removed so I can kick this little demon to the curb! Nevertheless, I am forever grateful that this was caught early.

What We’ve Learned

It’s important to reside close to great healthcare. We would have had to uproot our lives if we lived deep in a rural community with little or no access to decent healthcare. In our case, we feel fortunate to live within driving distance to Boston. Some of these Boston area hospitals are at or near the top of the list for having some of the best medical facilities and doctors in the world.

Never, and we do mean NEVER assume that our health is fine and we don’t need health insurance. The amount charged just for my CT Scan alone would have cost us dearly if we didn’t have decent health insurance. Especially when we add up the blood work, tests, and consult fees to the surgeon along with the potential for surgery. For without insurance this would’ve been financial Armageddon.

We honestly believe that having good health insurance is equally, if not, more important than obtaining a higher salary on the job. It doesn’t take long for a health condition to become a costly event – not just thousands of dollars, but in some cases millions. Despite our best intentions we can’t predict the future of our health. It’s important to have our frugal butts covered!

A little off topic but that’s just how we Escapades roll –

We believe that this country needs to take a serious look at how people can obtain reasonable, cost-effective health care and health insurance. We are sick of the back and forth in politics when this should be a bipartisan effort. We hope that one day our political leaders stop the excuses and get the job done.  

Our family is our top priority! It’s easy let life get in the way of what matters the most. Blogging, work, money, life, and getting caught up in trivial pursuits are meaningless when it comes to being there for a loved one. We both have regrets for not taking more time to spend with my aunt. Unfortunately, we now realize that we allowed insignificant activities get in the way of family gatherings. And sadly, there is no way to turn back time and recover what’s been lost. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever!

How important is health coverage to you? Are you worried about the future of health care?

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Our Unexpected Hiatus, Pancreatic Cancer, and What We’ve Learned

  1. Glad you are back! So sorry for you and your family’s recent trials and loss.

    I agree that our healthcare system is broken and needs to be fixed. People shouldn’t have to face financial ruin because they want to get well and continue living. It’s crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am really sorry to hear about your losses and your cyst. That’s a crap ton to deal with all at once. I’m in complete agreement with you on the healthcare front. As a Canadian living in the US, I find it astounding that quality healthcare isn’t a fundamental right. Canada’s healthcare system isn’t perfect, but it works.

    My best to you and hope you recover soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

      It has been a bit overwhelming which is why we let the blog go, but family means everything to us. Thankfully we will recover, but it did make us think about what others go through medically and financially when a health condition rears its ugly head. Glad to hear that you are satisfied with your healthcare in Canada!

      Like

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your losses. My family just went through this, too. The only thing I am grateful for is that my dad received treatment at the VA and we did not have to worry about the cost of anything. We all should have that “luxury.” I have my physical tomorrow and get to update my doctor about the incidence of cancer in my family, and to learn if she thinks I need more healthcare than average now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I certainly hope your father is doing okay and his treatments are going well.

      Fingers crossed your physical is nothing but good news also.

      They have come a long way in treating various illnesses, so hopefully one day they will make great strides in figuring out affordable healthcare to go along with it.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s