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I thought I was safe.  I thought it was all going to be ok.  I have health insurance, why would I have anything to fear.  Cancer doesn't scare me, the cost of fighting it keeps me up at night. Please follow me below the fold and share your healthcare horror story.

I woke up three weeks ago around 5:30AM, horrible pain to my lower right back and right abdomen.  I'm a nurse, so I assessed myself and figured it's either appendecitis or a kidney stone.  Naturally I couldn't drive; called good ol' mom and to the ER we went.

After a good shot of Demerol, extensive exams, lab results; I was approached by the ER MD whom stated I had a small kidney stone that was close to being expelled.  I was ecstatic, I figured I'll be able to get back to work soon.  Unfortunantely, he also said I had a large tumor to my right kidney.  I began to cry; I knew I was in for a bad couple of months and spent the next 3 days in the hospital.

After discharge from the hospital, 4 CT scans, a Chest X Ray, an MRI, a biopsy, I knew I was in for some extensive medical bills.  My Urologist called me in for a appt and diagnosed me with Renal Cell Carcinoma (Clear Cell Type).  I was angry, just three years ago I had been diagnosed with Testicular Cancer (Pure Seminoma).  I was still paying off bills from that surgery.  I lost my right testicle, and know the doctor said a Radical Nephrectomy was my best option.  Great, now I'm going to lose my kidney as well.  Surgery was scheduled for January 6.

Fast forward to January 3.  It's a Friday, and the phone calls started coming in from my Urologist and the Hospital.  Pre-Registration; Confirm your name, your date of birth, emergency contact.  What got me, "It looks like you have a limited insurance, your share is $6,107 and can you take care of that right now?".  I told her I didn't realize I had co-pay.  "This isn't a co-pay, this is your share.  You've almost maxed out your benefits, your insurance is only going to pay $1,063". My recent hospitalization had almost maxed me out.  I told her I had nowhere near that amount, and she forwarded me to the Financial Department at the Hospital.  

Second phone call came in, a gentleman.  Apparently the earlier figure was incorrect.  My share was now between $20,000-$21,000.  My heart sank.  He said he wasn't sure how much the hospital was going to want upfront.  I did call the financial department, spoke with a nice lady who told me to come in for my surgery and "Make payment arrangements".  

I'm 29, I got plenty of years, when I get better, maybe taking up a second job I can pay it off.  But if I don't make it with this insane amount of money they want, how can anyone who makes less than I make it? I think of the poor CNA's, Techs, clerical staff.
I wish I had advice, or some resources.  Our healthcare system sucks.   I told my mom it's cheaper to die, which is quite sad.  I will update tomorrow and leave more goodies on my hospitalization.

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