5th Cancerversary

Today is my 5th Cancerversary. It was hard deciding which date to celebrate such an important milestone. Many choose the date of diagnosis, but my cancer had been growing long before that date.

To me, the most important date was the day I had my first chemo treatment and began taking back my body and its cells from cancer. In the process, I lost my hair, my breasts, and my energy. I learned a whole new vocabulary and underwent many new procedures and tests. I met many caring doctors, nurses, techs, and office staff who did their best to make me feel comfortable. I racked up enormous medical bills.

Five years later, my cancer has returned after several years of inactivity. I will once again face new treatment options just like I did 5 years ago. Once again, I am very frightened about what my future will be: whether the cancer will be stopped; what the side-effects will be; whether I will still be able to dance. 

I am very grateful to my outstanding medical team headed by Dr. David Riseberg at Mercy Medical Center and also to everyone who sent encouraging messages, prayers, and donations for my medical expenses. I couldn’t have survived 5 years without you.

The costs of fighting cancer are enormous – even with health insurance. It has been called the hidden side effect of cancer. In addition to things insurance doesn’t cover, deductibles and co-pays reset every January. This will give you an idea of how expensive cancer treatment is:
Since my diagnosis in June 2014:
Total Cost of Treatment: $1,178,743
Cancer Drugs Cost since diagnosis: $964,456 (82% of total cost)
Insurance paid since diagnosis: $1,139,856
My family & donations paid: $38,887
Insurance premiums: $22,960 (ACA subsidies covered $7,800 of the $22,960)

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) , many health insurance plans had a lifetime cap of one million dollars. While this is an enormous amount, just 5 years of treatment have exceeded that million. It is vitally important that our lawmakers do not put lifetime caps on benefits or determine that certain treatments can be excluded because they cost too much. Life is more valuable than money.

Sadly, the health care debate has pitted healthy people against sick and disabled people. Good health is not guaranteed to anyone. Cancer does not discriminate: No one is too young; no one is too fit; no one is immune. Everyone is at risk. 

Below is a list of the procedures, treatments, and diagnostic tests I received in my 5th treatment year. Because cancer treatment is so hard on the body, numerous diagnostic tests and scans are ordered regularly to make sure the patient can continue treatments. 

17 maintenance infusions & blood tests
9 Xgeva injections
12 ovarian suppression injections
12 physician visits
1 transvaginal sonogram
1 brain MRI
1 PET-CT scan
1 Echocardiogram
1 Liquid Biopsy

I humbly ask for your support to help pay for my treatment. The cost of the cancer drugs that keep me alive has increased 30-40% since my diagnosis. Some insurers are removing drugs from their formularies or adding large co-pays. While this has not yet happened to any of the drugs I use, sadly other breast cancer patients have experienced this. I have an ACA (Obamacare) plan and am very worried about what will happen in 2020. Premiums are expected to increase and benefits decrease because much of Obamacare has been undone by executive order. Please consider donating any amount you can; every dollar will go toward my medical expenses. Here is the link: http://youngbrave.fund/projects/maggie-kudirka/