Lung Cancer and The Financial Fall
Last updated: September 2022
I have been living with stage 4 lung cancer for almost 10 years now. Planning out my life 3-4 months at a time is a regular thing for me. Many times I've thought "this is it". Yet, my body keeps going. God wants me here, and I'm learning some reasons why. One of the reasons is for my daughter. She is beginning college in 2023 and our economy is out of control.
The challenge of managing finances today
When I refer to the financial fall, I speak for our entire economy, as well as those with cancer. As inflation continues to rise, the middle class has become an endangered species, on the verge of extinction. I used to be a member of that middle class, even with cancer. I would do enough odd jobs to be comfortable. There was no worry about how to pay for things. I made enough.
But I went to Home Depot last November to work on the White Ribbon Project. The pricing was not affordable. Thankfully, the manager was kind enough to donate the plywood. A sheet that would've normally cost $6 for a 1/4 inch 4x8, yet the price had gone up to $32. The manager helped us by donating, but someone like me focused on my health and didn't realize what this plywood was telling me.
I received my disability statement for 2022, and when it showed I was getting more money because of inflation, the full ramifications of this did not register. I'm not one to watch the news, or pay attention to anything but my daughter and her health, both mentally and physically, as well as my own. My copays were still the same. But, while distracted, I didn't realize how much everything was going up.
After I paid off my daughter's car at $300 a month, I thought I could afford more. I was so wrong. According to the July issue of Fortune Magazine, there is a direct correlation between lumber prices and our economical way of life.1 Last year, I wrote my article, Financial Assistance and Lung Cancer. I discussed how I was already struggling financially.
How the financial fall impacts my family
Now, I have a daughter I'm sending to college next year, who cannot afford to pay anything because she works to pay for her gas right now. Any leftover money she has is spending money, basically for her own clothes. But for a 17-year-old athlete, August through October will be extremely hard. She cannot work and play volleyball, as thoroughly as keep up with her homework because of her advanced classes.
Now, lumber prices are beginning to rise again, just when we thought inflation was at its peak. It all came to a head in May 2021, when a boom in housing demand and renovations required lumber that was just not available. Partly due to the pandemic, new homes and renovations were put on hold as our country essentially shut down.
In 2020, the production of vehicles, lumber, and many other products came to a halt. Lumber wasn't being produced adequately to keep up with the demand that would arise the next year. So by May 2021, lumber prices soared due to such high demand. The supply wasn't able to keep up. When lumber prices rose, it caused housing prices to rise. If a person wanted to purchase a home, they needed to make more money. The domino effect began.
Existing homes are for triple the price they were 3 years ago. The cost of living is through the roof, groceries are so expensive. And with the Russia-Ukraine war, gas prices are insane. People want to sell their existing homes because they are selling for much more than their valuation. Therefore, rentals are either going sky high or being sold. The renter can't find an affordable rental.
Hence, I'm considering RV living. With my daughter at college, I want to purchase an RV for my dog and me, with a small piece of land, and make sure it's RV-ready. I don't want to live in a park. But, when my daughter goes to college, it is either that or moving back in with my mother.
For the first time, I received approval for food stamps. The government gives me $20 a month. They don't consider all the expenses that go along with trying to survive a terminal illness. Yet, I see people using food stamps and driving off in a BMW.
How can lung cancer patients get financial support?
My point is, can someone tell me how to get assistance? I want a home, but it seems impossible. As a single mom with cancer, it is virtually impossible to live alone with a disability. I am no longer part of the middle class. Any suggestions would be amazing! I haven't had time to research due to trying to flip furniture and bookkeeping when I am feeling up to it. This helps supplement some income. But, these odd jobs will eventually go away too.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?