Let's talk about the financial impact a breast cancer diagnosis can bring into our lives

Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
edited November 2020 in Health and wellbeing
I saw a psychologist last year as I was struggling without being able to work in my job as it had physical components that breast cancer diagnosis and 18 months of active treatment wasn't conducive to holding down my job with the reliability that would have been required, and then ending up with worsened osteoarthritis and a subsequent diagnosis of hypothyroidism really messed with my ability to hold down a job.  Broken sleep, digestive issues plus joint pain and now needing a knee replacement, but on at least a 2 year waiting list through the public system, plus more, it has really taken its toll and I was diagnosed end of 2016 and haven't worked since, and will not get a pension until late next year. 

Truthfullly I didn't find the help through the psycholoigist can address the poverty I now live in, as they would not be able to live on the amount I am expected to live on! 

The financial struggle at times just gets too much for me to bear on my own.  I am probably not alone in that thought, but I do wonder how a psychologist can help me in that regard to be honest!

I try as best I can to be positive, but I do wonder in my darkest moments why I did all the treatment I did and now left to struggle so much.  The physical limitations I can accept, but extremely hard to accept living in poverty in Australia and now still waiting for a fully knee replacement.  I will not compare our country to others, but I do think we can do better for people such as myself and others in a similar situation. Any thoughts ?
Take care out there, and best wishes to all.


  • gumnut
    gumnut Member Posts: 1,067
    Dear @Keeping_positive1
    I’m sorry to hear that things are so difficult for you at the moment 
    Have you had a chat to the nurses on the helpline at BCNA? They are a wealth of information and may be able to provide you with some practical information?
     I’ve tagged @Giovanna_BCNA who may be able to contact you next Monday 
    take care 
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    @gumnut I don't think I am alone with this, and have had financial counselling and pro bono financial counsellor through Cancer Council.  I guess it just sucks trying to make ends meet, and my plan was to keep working well over retirement age if healthy enough.  All the chats won't pay the mortgage, unfortunately, but I do sense your concern, so I thank you for that. 
  • jennyss
    jennyss Member Posts: 1,980
    Dear @Keeping_positive1,
    My thoughts are: Yes, a sudden dive into poverty along with a cancer diagnosis and on-going gruelling treatment - the a person can have!  I am sitting here writing with holes in my undies. After diagnosis and treatment starting in June 2017 I was not able to work for one year.  I gratefully accepted financial help from CanAssist in the form of petrol and grocery vouchers. I do have some super, but as I intend to last for another twenty years, I do not want to break into that too much.  I was able to return to work for one year, but when I reached retirement age, ungrateful wretch that Iam, that's what I did! I think your 'network name' hints that you are able to have a laugh and enjoy life despite the struggle trying to make ends meet. What are your strategies for having some cheap fun?
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,374
    @Keeping_positive1 your situation is all too common. 
    The public health system works reasonably well for folk diagnosed with common cancers. There may not be much choice,  or access to comprehensive care in some areas, but you will get your surgery and chemo and maybe publically funded rads. In my case I had  recon publically as well. What that cost society in dollar terms is difficult to measure. $100k?
    Then you are chucked off the bus. All that money to save our lives, then zip. On the dole, unable to afford physio, couselling--any allied health services past the five subsidised visits. If you can get them, not possible here because there are no practitioners. People talk about a COVID  normal existence. They have no fucking idea what it is like when normal life is anything but. Welcome to our world, folks. Buckle up and complaints are forbidden.
    My last bout of BC probably cost me $200k when you look at costs and lost income. Drawing down on super. Borrowing from family. I'll never recover from the financial spanking and can't make up lost ground. I lost my job and very nearly my home, had to start again with significant physical and mental impairment.
    I'm hearing you. This shit is exhausting. MXx
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,331
    BC is a really big deal and the costs are massive, not just for those who have it but all their supporters too. I am fortunate to have an income but I did live on a sole parent pension for years after my marriage ended. What a struggle. I use to stop into my family around 5pm hoping I would be asked to stay for dinner. I know it is so so hard. Living in government support is really really hard but to add BC and everything it costs on top of that is a tough gig.  Unless you have been through BC it is hard to understand. I am just post chemo and radium and now on tamoxifen. My oncologist said this was the hardest time for BC survivors because everyone thinks your fine but you aren't because this is the time where all the emotional stuff comes up but the oncologist just flagged that but offered nothing really to suggest how to cope with it all.  That part i am figuring out for myself. For me mindfulness, mediation and walking is great. I have a good son and husband and 8 practice gratitude daily. Little things which help but don't solve the 'costs' of cancer. 
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
    edited November 2020
    @jennyss and @Zoffiel and @Cath62 you understand as have been through similar.  There is probably many more of us in the same boat.  The financial impact of having cancer has cost me over $200K.
    Agree, this shit is exhausting!