It has been two years and three months since my cancer diagnosis. Cancer treatment is expensive. Fortunately, I have very good insurance. However, the biggest financial cost for me was missing time from work. As a self-employed person, I have no sick leave, no disability leave, no vacation leave, and no holiday pay.  Also as a self-employed person, I am not eligible for unemployment benefits. In other words, when I don’t work, I don’t earn money. The end.

I accrued a significant amount of debt. As a person who had paid off credit card balances in full every month, for decades, this was disconcerting. My husband and I work hard to have our house mortgage be the only debt that we have. And even our mortgage was refinanced a few years ago so that we could change from a 30 year to a 15 year pay off time. When I bought a new car in 2010, I put down half of the total price and then paid off the rest within 14 months, on a 36 month long loan. Again, we don’t like to be in debt.

Today I paid off my credit card, in full, for the first time in at least a year.

I think I will go celebrate by buying something expensive! (I kid, I kid, I kid.)

Seriously, health care costs are out of control in our country. I am in a much better financial situation than most people. I don’t know how other people do it.