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? 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 –ย 

My mother had a stroke. Thankfully, she is doing well and other than some minor cognitive issues, she has made a full recovery.! My aunt passed away from pancreatic cancer. And my father was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late October. Luckily, the tumor is a slow-growing type and it didn’t metastasis to his nearby organs, so after his chemo, radiation, and the operation to remove the tumor – he has shot at being cured. He has a tough road ahead of him, but we know he can do it!

Then, much to our amazement, it didn’t end there…

I went to the doctors with stomach pain thinking it was stress, had a CT scan, and later found out that I also have a pancreatic tumor. The GREAT news is that this one is just a “newborn” and is barely visible on the CT according to my surgeon. Apparently, some of these grow and some do not over the coming years, so most surgeons like to hold off on treating them unless they are on the move. This will be closely watched, however. And just to be safe, I will be seeking out a second opinion.

Moving Forward

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

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 for 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!

Further thoughts on health care…

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 and feel this should be a bipartisan effort. We hope that one day our political leaders stop the excuses, work together, and get the job done.

And the most important lesson we’ve learned…

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?


18 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

      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!


  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

  4. Sounds like you’ve had one hell of a year. So have I. I injured my spine in May, it got progressively worse by July, I flew back home for medical treatment, and it’s been a slow recovery process. Only when you’re injured do you truly understand “health over wealth”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Frugalies,

    So sorry to hear about everything that has happened in recent times, no words can explain the hardships you’ve gone through. We really hope you can kick this cyst’s butt when the time comes and everything turns out okay.

    We’re lucky to live in Australia where pretty much everything essential doesn’t have to paid for in regards to medical stuff. According to all the things I’ve read and listened to over the years, healthcare would be a lot cheaper for everyone if there was a centralised purchasing system (like the NHS or something).

    We hope everything gets better for you this year ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mr DDU

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words!

      We have heard about the great medical coverage in Australia. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hopefully one day we will have a more cost efficient healthcare system here in the US. In the meantime, we are extremely grateful to have Mr. FEโ€™s health insurance from his employer.


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