I have been asked many times, "Was it worth it?" Each time I wonder what people mean by the question.
The treatments cost $300,000. My parents paid almost $90,000. Insurance covered about $100,000, and the government paid for the rest. The hospital didn't eat a penny.
But more than the money, I have been asked whether it was worth the pain and the stigma. I don't know.
My mom survived cancer twice and spent time in reverse isolation because a simple cold could have killed her. She told me she has never seen pain more intense than my two months of treatments. She spent many mornings shouting at God. Nevertheless, she always supported me. She would rub my head when the headaches were unbearable, offering scant physical relief but much emotional consolation. My father was angry when I first became ill but quickly adapted. He was ever-present during my darkest times. He just sat and waited with me. I didn't like being alone.
I talk about my family because I learned that those around me often saw more clearly than I did. In the midst of my suffering, nothing made sense. Reason and logic gave way to instinct and fatalism. Pain is a powerful drug. It altered my perception and was an indelible part of my reality.