Monday, May 1, 2017

Free Breast Exams & Not Free IVF

Derrik here again. We're so lucky that Nicole found the lump in her breast on her own and so quickly. Mammograms typically aren't covered by insurance until you're 40. Luckily you can perform a self breast exam on your own, at any time, for $Free.99.  Some women may not be comfortable doing a self-exam.

I'm here to make sure everybody stays breast cancer free. As a service to you all, I will be offering complimentary breast exams to help make sure you are in the clear. [Warms hands]. Help me help you.

Obviously I'm joking. I was disappointed when none of the Dr's that deal with breast cancer had seen the "Breast Exams by Cam" commercial. I now feel that it's my civil duty to make sure everybody has seen it because it's pure gold. For reals ladies, check those boobies regularly.  Enjoy the commercial. Actual update below.

This morning we are doing IVF to retrieve and freeze Nicole's eggs in case we unable to have children naturally after chemo. Getting a cancer diagnosis at 29 is devastating but learning that she might not be able to have more kids was possibly even more devastating for Nicole.  

As we started down this cancer journey, IVF/Egg Preservation was priority #1 since we'd already had most of the tumor removed. I started doing research and coordinating appointments for IVF while were on vacation in Mesquite, NV. (The armpit of America. Do yourself a favor and drive an extra hour to Vegas if you are considering a vacation down South.) It was disheartening to learn that our insurance didn't cover IVF and that we'd be looking at a $20-25,000 out of pocket expense. I didn't have the heart to tell Nicole. 

Luckily, during my research I learned about the Livestrong Foundation's Fertility Assistance Program for cancer patients. An employee at the Fertility clinic told me about it (who had gone through almost exactly what Nicole was about to go through with breast cancer) and directed me to apply. There will essentially be two sets of costs for IVF: the egg retrieval/cryopreservation which is happening today, and implantation which will happen further down the road IF we are unable to have kids naturally. The quote for this first part of the process was somewhere in the $18,000 range. Almost $6,000 of that was for medication alone. 

The heavens opened and Livestrong accepted our application and subsidized this cost for us. They sent us the medication absolutely free and dropped the total clinic cost closer to $5,000. Overall they saved us upwards of $13,000! I normally wouldn't post about cost of medical bills but thought this was appropriate to fully express how grateful we are for the Livestrong Foundation. Nicole will have enough to deal with over the next few months so this blessing helped to remove a small portion of the stress and worry off her plate. 

If you know of anybody diagnosed with cancer at a young age that still wants to have children, make sure to tell them about the Livestrong Fertility Assistance Program. What a huge blessing during such a tough time.

Another huge shoutout to Dr Gilliland at the Reproductive Care Center in Layton. He's a brain cancer survivor so he knew what Nicole was going through and was so sweet to her through the whole process. Plus he's lived all over the world, including France which is a dream of ours. Good juju all around!

Sorry I'm not sorry for the long update. The next big step is surgery on Wednesday at Mountain Point hospital in Lehi. #BeckyWithTheNewBoobs. The surgery and corresponding pathology results will help us to understand if the cancer has spread past her breast tissue or if it is contained. Keep the prayers coming, especially for good pathology results and a successful surgery and recovery. We feel your prayers, we appreciate them, we love you all long time.

Here is a pic of Nin post-op. Doing great!