Due to working as an Adjunct Professor of English (less than minimum wage and no benefits) at a technical college, it had been over a decade since either one of us has had proper medical care. Jana’s brother, Jamie, struggled with prostate cancer this year and that may have subconsciously motivated us. Either way, we decided that Jana needed a gynecological visit.
Her father kindly agreed to pay for it with his credit card until we could pay him back, and off we went! Hearing of a particular (and deeply personal, so I shall not share it here) symptom, plus the length of time since being tested and that Jana suffers from PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), the gynecologist was not satisfied with a Pap Smear Test and insisted on a biopsy.
A good thing, too. She called three days later, not even waiting for our follow up appointment, and informed Jana that she had uterine cancer. It was Grade 2 (there is a scale of 1-3, depending on how aggressive the cancer is), but only further testing could reveal the stage. We were immediately referred to MUSC (the Medical University of South Carolina being an excellent hospital and also where Jamie had his prostate surgery).
My research indicates that treatment of uterine cancer often runs about $100,000. Fortunately, MUSC offers patient assistance. We have applied for it and should hear back early next week if we are approved and to what extent. If approved, our costs could run anywhere from $4,000-$10,000. A ridiculous amount of money, but FAR better than the alternative!
For now, our greatest worry, besides how to pay for this, is how far the cancer has spread. The aforementioned symptom suggests at least one year, but five years or more would not be surprising. Fortunately, most uterine cancers are slow growing, so there is hope!
We’ll let everyone know when we hear back about the patient assistance and when our first visit to the specialist will be! In the meantime, MUSC is asking us to get a mammogram locally to rule out breast cancer as well (wouldn’t that be a lovely 1-2 punch?).