Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Price Tag For Your Life

How much would you pay to keep yourself alive?

We're spending a fortune on my cancer treatment. We could be spending even more, if we wanted to move beyond just chemotherapy and try some of the more cutting-edge surgical procedures or alternative treatments available. But we don't know that these would work, and we don't have the time or money to do everything.

We've probably spent about a quarter of a million dollars on my cancer treatment so far (much of it borrowed from family). That's a lot of money to spend on something that offers no guarantees. At some point, you've got to wonder where you're going to stop.

What if we keep finding new drug combinations that work? What if my cancer spreads further and we have to resort to surgeries or more expensive treatment options? What if we keep me alive for many more years to come while trying out new treatments? How much money will we end up spending on me? A million? Two? How much money should we spend on one life?

If a million dollars would keep me alive for another year or two for certain, maybe we could find the money for that. But what if it took a million for nothing more than a slim chance that I could stay alive? Even if we could raise that kind of money, would I want to invest that much for nothing more than a chance? Would I want to take Josie's and Toby's future education fund from them? Would I bankrupt my family for such a slim possibility?

Think about you. How much money would you be willing to spend to keep yourself alive? Is there a dollar figure you can put on your life?


Anonymous said...

If there wasn't anybody who needed me, I would not want to spend all the money. However, we do not live for ourselves, and this makes your question a tough one.


louise said...

a week ago my cousin lost her battle with breast cancer after 5 years. she was 3 weeks short of her 35th birthday. her family would have done and spent whatever it took to keep her alive. my brother's wife is fighting her cancer again right now. her family fights too. "Price Tag For Your Life" - there is none.

Leighbee said...

There is no price for a life....... I guess the important thing is to to ensure that money that IS spent is WELL spent? All the time there is a chance.....the old saying comes to mind "where there's life there's hope"? It is (THANKFULLY) difficult to put myself in a similar situation to you but I think for me I would have to stop paying when I thought the possibilities of impoving and saving my life crossed in to the boundries of extending a painful (physically and mentally) existence. All the time there is a "CHANCE" that life can be saved then I believe you should do what ever you can to do that....It is such a difficult question to answer and perhaps mine is not what you or others would want to hear - it may also not be how I felt if I, myself were in a different position!

Anonymous said...

Shing, sorry to say that whenever someone got cancer, I mean between a poor one and rich one, the poor one will always die faster… you should know what I mean… I've seen it with my own eyes... the rich ones will get the best treatment they will ever find and the poor one will just wait for their fate to sink in becos they've no cash to finance all the treatments...

Anonymous said...

This is an issue of personal value. More than money, what else might it be costing your husband and children? What will that debt cost them in the life they will live after you are gone? At what point does one think more about the quality of the lives of others after we are gone. I too have had cancer but would not have gone to the lengths of financial endebtedness you talk of. You must be much loved. Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin-
Hope you're having a good day! I read your question and instantly thought about my kids. I think I would pay any amount to spend more time with my kids. It's priceless. What I'm saying is that I'm beyond fighting for my life, I think I'm moreso fighting for a life with my kids. Giving them the security of having a future with me in it, is priceless. Motherhood gives life. It's the gift that keeps giving. So.... I do what ever I can to make sure I'm physically here for them. I don't have close to a million but what I do I have would trade in a heart beat to be their Mom. God is able, stephanie

Shin said...


I agree. I'm beyond fighting for my life. I've had a good life and wanting more is just plain greedy. Instead, I'm fighting to give my kids as much time as possible with their mother.

A question for you... You say "God is able". If he's able, then why isn't he doing it? Please don't say he works in mysterious ways. We don't get away with that excuse with our children, so I don't think any intelligent supreme being should get away with that with us. I'm curious to know what you think of this.

Helen said...

You make me thinking when I saw your quesiton, "Is there a dollar figure to add in your life?" I can't answer YES or NO for that question but I want to share the following..

"We have very nice friends, a couple, both are well know in where they live. The husband is very very successful business man, ex-owner of Omega 3 company. Sold it prize tag with multy millions, actually *** million dollars. Not so after he sold the company, the wife got hit by a breast cancer (out of the blue moon, when she came back from seminar,she saw so many bruises around her breast without pain. Later she got diagnosed with cancer with not the easy one to cure but one person in million hit that kind of cancer. My understand was she has cottage cheese type of cancer, ok I might be wrong but that's what I remembered). She was fighting with the cancer for 2 years but passed away 4 years ago. Can dollars add her life? I do not know.

Now see this... when doctor told me that I need liver transplant, if I could buy the liver, my husband can buy them many but this point money is nothing but just wait! Meantime I got my liver in one month and 20 days when other was waiting for 2,4, 6 years. For me it is a miracle because I prayed that "Lord I trust you, do it your will". If you disagree with my saying miracle, I understand it. I can't talk for other but I am talking about me and my cancer with my God. when my sister die of liver caner age of 31,(She left 2 children age 2 and 6), I cried for 2 years because I have only one sister, only me and her. For me, as my own live cancer experience, as my sister die so young, as even yearly check up but with my first stupid doctor who did not know that and let my tumor as big as 7 cm, as that private hospital in Florida instead of liver biopcy who punched my kindy, ( I did not sue even people asked me to do so), as first operation was half cut of my liver and cancer came back in one year, for all of that...I never asked to my God, why! but only prayed "God this cancer killed my mother, my sister and now me. May I win this time, you can do it Lord.. please help me God. Amen"

Shin, I do not know you but I know you in your blog. I love you and you are in my prayer. You do not know how much I wish that my prayer will work for you.


Anonymous said...

I don't get that question often but when I do I try to offer insight from other's words.
"Think about the life of Jesus. He did nothing but good for people. He healed the sick and cast out demon spirits who tormented the thoughts of people. Yet no matter how much good He did in His life He was still crucified. Jesus came so we would have the Holy Spirit in our lives. A good Spirit that tells us the truth about our present situation. A Holy Spirit that is our guide so that in everything we go through we might gain understanding through our ability to believe that God can and will help us no matter what cancer might do to destroy our lives. Why does God allow cancer? God hates cancer! Cancer is the result of Satan's power to hurt people in the world. God is ready and able to help us fight. Even if the fight leads us to death, God promises us that He will reward us in Heaven for the pain we have endured. We are His Christian soldiers. Soldiers who fight against Satan and this evil world. God takes the evil of cancer and He shows how our determination through everything we suffer is an example to others what God can do in our lives even when the prognoses is bad. God changes the lives of our friends and family when they see that we will not let go of our faith no matter what happens to us."

I pray this encourages you. Please know that if you believe in Him, he will give you everlasting life. This world is not your home. God is able, stephanie

Anonymous said...

There's no amount of money that you could place on someone's life. The amount of pleasure we get from that person is more than money's worth. My father had a friend who's daughter had breast cancer, here in Singapore- she was diagnosed at aged 19. She died, aged 36. For all the money in the world, (which her father had) he couldn't save her. I remember my Dad saying, just before, he himself died - It's very sad, her Dad bought her everything he could, but at the end of the day, all he wanted was for her to be alive. And he couldn't do it. It just shows you, money can't buy you everything.

This is from my Dad who was very unemotional about most things.

Her father died about 6 weeks ago.

I hope they get reunited spirtually. They were a good family.

Shin said...

Dear Anonymous re: 19-year-old breast cancer patient,

That's a very sad story. I can't imagine how a father must feel when his 19-year-old daughter is diagnosed with cancer. That's an unusually young age for this disease. But the fact that she was able to live on until the age of 36 is a bit of a medical miracle.

I'm sure money was a factor and that if this young woman's father did not have the financial means, she wouldn't have lived as long as she had. So her father DID give her the gift of life - extended life. I hope he realized that before he died.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,

There is definitely a price for life and it is almost always the case that rich people can extend life . Those that pretend otherwise are letting their hearts rule their heads.

You are lucky to have the financial resources to try and extend your live. But more importantly you are sensible and strong enough to make such personal decisions, and yes the difficult trade-offs that are involved.

Personally I'd say keep on spending the money. You have fought such an impressive battle.

Anonymous said...

It's not true that rich people will live longer. A close relative of mine fought with cancer for 5 years. They are not rich people. But he still managed to go on a few rounds of chemo. He was such a happy-go-lucky person. Loved life. I belief it's his sheer inner strength that brought him through everything. He lived to see his son get married, be a grandpa, before finally succumbing to the disease 4 months ago, after his final round of chemo. Some people were saying that if he didn't go for his last chemo, he would still be alive now. I do agree to some extend.. the last chemo killed him. It's was such a heavy dose and 2 days before he passed away, he could still walk around, laughed and joked with us. No sign of illness at all. Somehow, I feel that the most powerful "medicine" will be ur mindset, ur strength. So hang on! :)