The Cost of Removing a Body Part

What I could spend $1900 on:

542 gluten-free cupcakes

126 self-help books

40,500 Advil tablets

678 gallons of gas

7600 meals at the North Dakota food bank

What I will spend $1900 on:

The removal of 1 breast.

Saul and I actually had a lot of laughs last night talking about how rude it is that I would have to A) Fight cancer and B) Pay for it.

I guess we could laugh about it because we have insurance. The hospital bill pre-insurance (not including any doctors’ fees) is $64,783.53.


Sometimes thoughts and numbers are so big, I can’t even get my mind around them.

I could write endless blogs about how fortunate I am to live in a place with amazing medical facilities, have a husband with a great job, and the gift of good health insurance, but sometimes it’s fun to take the darker road.

So after we joked a while about what a kick in the teeth it is to have to pay medical bills, Saul, as always, brought us back to the bigger picture. The surgery worked. The cancer is gone.

So I guess in that regard, I have to agree with him. Whether it would have cost us $1900 or $190,000, it is definitely money well spent.

It’s a Monday

It’s amazing how quickly things return to normal. I have a long to-do list today which includes enthralling activities such as: scheduling dental appointments, calling the insurance company, welcoming the dishwasher repairman, and waiting for new flooring to be delivered.

Sometimes I want to yell, “HEY! Doesn’t anybody around here remember how incredibly BRAVE I was this summer?” Actually, sometimes I do yell that and then my husband will yell back from the other room, “YEP! You were awfully brave!”

Saul and I never really felt the elation of being cancer-free. By the time we realized we really were in the clear, exhaustion set in. And now as we slowly get our feet back under us, daily life is ready to keep us running.

I hope I always remember the lessons from my summer with breast cancer. I hope I always look at the 8 inch scar on my chest and remember that regardless of what others tell me, or forget to tell me, I am brave.

And that acts of kindness make the pain go away– especially if you can be the one doing the kindness.

And I am loved by a God who never once left my side.

That’s it. I’m brave. I’m kind. I’m loved.

Saying those three things makes me feel like I can tackle anything. Try it. Say them to yourself– they apply to you, too.
And they really do remind you that you can accomplish anything. Even a Monday morning to-do list.

Call the School

The night before we got the final pathology report, I laid in bed and prayed. “God, chemo or no chemo, whatever needs to be done, I accept it. I will trust in you and your plan for my life. But please, God, let me read to the kindergarteners this year. That’s all I want. Please just let me read to Ben’s kindergarten class.”

I volunteered in the school library last year. Every Friday, I got to read to the kindergarten class, help them pick out books and talk with them about the power of kindness. It was the highlight of my week, every week, for the entire school year.

This year, Ben is the kindergartener. He asked me before school started if I could read to his class this year. Oh… what that does to a momma’s heart to hear her little boy say he wants her to be part of whatever it is he is doing. I wanted to say, “Absolutely!” but I knew I couldn’t make that promise until after I talked with the doctors about my treatment plan.

So here I am, sitting in the airport on my way home the second opinion. And it’s starting to sink in. Not as elation or joy or a weight lifted from my shoulders, but as immense gratitude. I get to read to my son’s kindergarten class. For sure. Absolutely. No thoughts in the back of my mind wondering what the next doctor will say. It brings tears to my eyes.

If you need me on Wednesday afternoons this year, call the school. That’s where I’ll be. Thank you, God.