Sunday, November 15, 2015

Man Plans and God Laughs

I've encountered a major obstacle in my retirement plan of selling our home and moving into our new home presently under construction in Arizona. I've been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

My urologist and oncologist say that it's probably treatable with a triple play of hormones, radiation and something called brachytherapy ("seeds"). One thing is for sure, the house in Arizona is being built and cannot be cancelled, the only way for me to get out of this financial legal responsibility would be for cancer to win and for the builder to sort it all out with my widow and my estate. On the day that I received my cancer diagnosis I also received an email with a picture of the first home site construction activity, the foundation being poured, so now the race is on.

This is the sort of health crisis that I've always feared even as I knew it would increase in probability as I aged. It means having for the first time to stick my head deep into the mouth of the medical/insurance lion. When we move to Arizona we will lose my wife's insurance and be cast into the Obamacare cauldron.

There have been bright spots though. My GP and urologist say that they found it early. Bone and CT scans show that the cancer has not spread. Right now I feel fine physically, if the doctors hadn't told me I'd never know. My wife is down for the struggle and as long as she's working we both have good insurance. I contacted my surgeon friend in San Diego and he was much more than just supportive, he spoke with my oncologist and asked him the questions that I'd never know to ask. He also checked out the triple play I'm about to undergo with several oncologists and urologists at his hospital, in essence giving me a 2nd and 3rd opinion because when it comes to complex life and death personal medical questions like this WTF do I know?

When the house in Arizona is completed the builder will summon me to come with payment. I can have the money to give them if we sell the house here. I can only sell the house here if my treatment is complete and I'm cancer free. So as I said earlier, the race is on. Assuming I'll be cured, will the house be completed first or will I be cancer free first? As of last contact all of the wooden bones of the new house are up and the new home is quickly taking shape down there. Here's my to do list, any one item alone would be a major undertaking:
  • Beat cancer 
  • Cough up a large sum of money and give it to the builder in Arizona 
  • Sell our old house  
  • Pack all of our belongings and get them to AZ (method to be determined) 
  • Unpack and then move in to our new home and feather the new nest with appliances, bed, utilities and the basics 
  • Obtain and pay for new health insurance on the open market (Obamacare) 
So I guess that my retirement won't be as peaceful as I had planned, at least not in the short run. I'm glad that I managed to get in the Asia trip last year and the cross country drive earlier this year. It appears that I'm in for quite an eventful tail end of 2015 and 2016 and if/when I emerge on the other side of all of this I might be a changed man, at least emotionally if not physically as well. But we play the hand that we're dealt, nothing in life is guaranteed and nobody gets out of life alive. It's just that as we age these truths that we've heard all of our lives slowly become more obvious.

I'm an MRI machine, let me see if your cancer has spread.