Hi. My name is Jay. I have cancer.
Wow, saying that out loud sucks. I am happy to add, however, that I can now say that I had cancer. Three times! Aren’t I just the over achiever.
Why, you might ask, "why is this page here"? Well, I am now a writer. It’s what I do. I used to kill people (legally – sort of) for a living but I had to retire. Hard to be inconspicuous when you are tied to a dialysis machine five nights a week. Writing is now my therapy. When I was growing up, I would write in journals and just jot down thoughts and ideas. My superiors would complain that my after-action reports read like a spy novel and to just keep to the basics. Now my writing is almost magical to me. While I am writing I can ignore the dialysis machine preparing a batch of dialysate or the fatigue that my roller coaster blood pressure causes. I can fall into my writing and just escape, even for just a little while. I can write about things that bother me, and then they tend to dissipate. I am able to write about things I love and am grateful for and leave a small legacy behind for when I am gone. It’s pretty cool when you think about it. You can read these musing in my upcoming book, " I Want To Live Before I Die", or my ramblings on my blog HERE.
So yes, I am writing about my experiences with cancer. I write an open, honest account of what it feels like, what I go through, what my family and friends go through, dealing with doctors, insurance, the government…. all of it. I am being driven to do this. I have to do this. Cancer can be a very hopeless thing. It drove me to a deep depression. I belong to a support group, and I see and hear story after story of people without hope; people who have lost love, family, security, energy, humanity, body parts, even themselves. Cancer has taken all of this away from all of us. I feel lucky though. I am hopeful. I am hopeful because I have assembled a great medical team; but more importantly, I know that even if I lose this battle, I will be okay. I have conquered my fear of death and have grown in my spirituality and my faith a s a result.
So by sharing my story, I hope to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of this vicious disease, and most importantly share my hope for tomorrow with others. I also need your help. Even with a combination of Medicare A, B, D and Supplemental F insurance, it has been difficult to afford the medications and equipment needed to sustain my life. An excerpt from an ESRD Network website has stated that the cost of a kidney transplant is roughly $260,000 with immunosuppressive and other prescription medications costing an average of $2,500 a month (1) . My insurances cover some reasonable expenses with the exception of the various deductibles and the 20% co-insurance, non-covered dental work required prior to the transplant, immunosuppressive medications and follow-up visits with every specialist the medical profession has. As you can imagine these costs add up quickly. Just the annual cost of the immunosuppressive medications is estimated to be $30,000 annually. In order to help bridge the gap between what our insurances will pay and what they will not pay, I have created this fundraising page where 100% of the proceeds go directly to paying for my transplant and medications.
My family and I would really appreciate it if you could reach into your piggy-banks or wallets and make a small donation of $5, or more, today as any help would be greatly and deeply appreciated. We are also looking for volunteers to help us with the creation, planning, promotion, and project management of local and virtual fundraising events. Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated as well. I am asking everyone that reads this page to share this link, because we need as much help as WE CAN GET! By donating a few dollars and/or spreading the word to your family and friends, we can raise awareness of this disease and give my family peace of mind to know that we have the ability to pay for the dialysis and ultimately my transplant that our insurance will not cover.
My heartfelt thanks,
Jay A Blum