My reaction surprises me. I mean, I talk about breast cancer all the time. I blog about it, obviously, so why can’t I say it?
And what’s with the tears?
My husband and I are sitting in our insurance agent’s office, of all places, discussing life insurance for him, when innocently enough, the agent turns to me and asks, “What about you?”
She has no idea of the floodgate she’s unlocked.
Probably much too quickly, “I don’t think I’m eligible,” spills out. And that’s all I say. Suddenly, that’s all I can say. I’m acutely aware if I say one more word, if I attempt to tell my story of the last six years…I’ll cry. Tears are surging forward, already.
Thankfully, the agent is perceptive enough to let it go and doesn’t push the issue. She and my husband continue talking as I sink heavily into the chair, trying to disappear. I eye the doorway planning my escape. I just want out and all the while I’m shaken by my emotion–this sadness. I never saw it coming.
On the verge of tears? I’m not normally a crier. The voice in my head asks, “What’s the problem, here?” “What’s the big deal?” As if I need to search for an answer.
I know the big deal. The truth is there.
No one will ever insure me…I think.
Breast cancer, NED or not, knowing the facts as I do that 30% of all early stages will metastasize at any time…There might as well be a huge X on my shirt. Dead girl walking. Uninsurable and that’s a shitty truth to admit. And I’m sad.
Thirty percent may not sound like that much, that the odds may be in my favor, but I know that’s naive. Nearly everyone I’ve personally known with breast cancer, even the early stagers, were told it had metastasized and eventually died. I don’t have a lot of hope. I’m encouraged by the drive and determination of the blogosphere. I’m glad the conversation is (to steal that term) changing, but will it accomplish the herculean task of curing breast cancer or at the very least, slow its progression? I don’t have the answer, only the fear.
And that question that started it all…still lingers in the air.
“What about you?” She had asked. Yeah, what about me? That question isn’t designed for damaged goods like me.
All the progress I’d made over the years, being able to talk about it, put my voice to it, live with it…It all goes out the window. No wonder the tears come. I feel them still, but I won’t cry here. I won’t. I envision my fate and how I’ll handle it and that’s not by crying in a drab insurance agent’s office. It takes everything not to let the tears fall.
I, actually, don’t know for sure whether I’m eligible for life insurance. Probably, if I pay a high enough premium, but in this moment I don’t want to know. I don’t want hear how insurance conglomerates factor in breast cancer. How they consider it. Is there some sort of chart with breast cancer statistics? Some line on which I’ll land that determines my eligibility?
Thinking about it means accepting my husband will be yet one more single dad with two young sons to raise. Staying home with the boys is my job. He goes to work everyday. How would he manage it all?
A day doesn’t go by that I don’t imagine metastatic breast cancer finding me. Right now, I walk this sort of NED tightrope, balancing precariously over a cavernous world where, if I fall, I am no longer NED. It seems to be a “when I fall” question, not “if I fall.”
In the instant the agent asked those words, I knew these answers. Life insurance probably is a good idea. My husband can hire someone, some nanny, after I tumble into that cavern, never to be seen again. This stranger can greet my boys when they get home from school or maybe my husband can be home then. To be the one they see at the door…When they no longer see me.
How can there not be tears?
Have you been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and have life insurance? Was it difficult to get insured?