In one of my previous plot lines, I was a college professor. An adjunct, but still a professor. Of all my previous careers and titles (from manager to vice president to entrepreneur) the only one that constantly "impressed" was the title of Professor. It was also the lowest paid title of my career but brought with it the most cache.
I began teaching at my alma mater, St John's University, in 2003 after applying each year after receiving my MBA in 1999. My mentor, Dr Bonaparte, who was instrumental in sending me to Italy to get my MBA had told me that I would be a great professor and I believed him because he had been right on so many things in my life. Sadly, he lost his life to brain cancer -he was the most distinguished, poised and intelligent person I had ever met in my life and I think of him often.
My first classes that I taught were micro and macro economics. Go ahead and shudder, it's ok. I was teaching Freshman and Sophmores and it was macro and micro economics. Oh and I was only a few years older than they were. The funny thing about economics is that I love it. It is funny because if you knew me in real life you would know I do not look or act like someone who loves economics.
I took my first classes in the subject (micro and macro) in Spring 1995 and Fall 1995 semesters and I still remember my Professor (Prof Englander) explaining supply, demand, equilibrium pricing, marginal theory of returns, etc. I also remember learning about price elasticity.
Price elasticity was always explained using the price of a diabetes drug to express something that is price inelastic - meaning that no matter the price, people will still buy it because they need it to live. As a 19 year old learning about it, it made sense on a theory level. As a 39 year old (now 40) with breast cancer, it makes sense on a visceral level.
I have posted many times about how lucky I am to have health insurance and to have the ability to manage the budget even after things not working out with my first full time job in several years (managing-life-stresses.html). This is not a small thing. The cost of cancer treatment and its medications and treatments is an extreme but so is the cost of traveling to the treatment center on the upper east side, parking costs, gas, etc. etc.
Cancer leads to economic issues. End of story. Even if my job had worked out, it still was a financial impact to manage these new costs. One shot of the drug Neulasta to help with blood counts after chemo cost $5,000. I had 8 of these shots dispensed to me to help recover from each of my chemotherapy treatments. That is $40,000 worth of medication that with my health insurance cost me approximately $225. What about those who do not have insurance coverage?
My list of costs from Sloan Kettering is long but worth every penny - especially since I only have to pay a fraction based on my coverage. Another important thing that I note every now and again in private is that I have had life insurance since 2011. I do not know of any life insurance company that would insure me now with my pre-existing condition of breast cancer.
I am doing my small part to help others afflicted with this disease who are not as "lucky" as I am - I am raising money for the making strides against breast cancer walk in my town. I was so happy to learn at the kick off breakfast that the money raised goes to research AND to help others with the disease by giving rides to and from treatment, offering rooms for patients and their caregiver to stay in to be closer to their treatment hospital and more.
The room option is huge as right before one of my last chemotherapy appointments, there was forecast a huge storm and I was afraid we would not be able to get in for my appointment. I looked into hotels around Sloan and balked at the pricing - nothing less than $300 for one night. I was lucky enough to be able to commute in because the storm was not that bad but just thinking about folks who need to travel to be there for appointments and the cost factor makes me happy the American Cancer Society has options for them.
Breast cancer has emotional and physical impacts, as well. I am focusing on economics today because it is one of the pieces of the puzzle of helping patients live this new life as one of an "ill" person. I cannot imagine dealing with this disease and all of its issues without the support network I have had financially and emotionally. My main hope is that no one has to go through this disease at all but as that is not feasible right now, I will continue to try to do my part to help others through sharing my story and raising money to help those who need it.
Would you consider joining my team or donating to my Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk to help ease the economic impact for other breast cancer patients? My team is LiLi's team and I am using my married name of Lisa Nielsen for my walk - the link to donate or join me team is here -->
The Time Between Is, INC is a 501(c)(3) corporation - help us reach our goals of launching #balanceaftercancer
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