So Little Time


I only had three weeks to prepare for my surgery. There was a lot to do. I was renting a room across town from my parents house at the time. My mom insisted that I move home so she could look after me during my recovery. So the following weekend I helped her clear out my old room. Then I boxed up everything that I did not immediately need, called a few friends, and moved everything I had back home. After I had gotten settled in I sat quietly for awhile on my bed. It had been an emotionally draining week. I thought about all of the things I still needed to do, still so much to do…

I wanted to get in the best shape possible so that my recovery went well. Dr. B said I shouldn’t lift weights anymore because there was already too much pressure in my head. So I decided to keep doing my martial arts training, but just taking it easy, no sparing, etc. I also got back into swimming more. I had access to a swim center that I worked at. So I decided to swim 5 days a week, upping the distance I swam every day. Every time I felt like giving up I just thought about how much harder my recovery would be. That thought kept me so motivated.

Seeing how I was uninsured at the time, I had to find a way to pay for all of this. It’s crazy to think that I live in the most powerful nation in the world, yet healthcare is something that I, and every other citizen, needs to worry so much about.  My mom and I took a day off of work to apply to county services. We spent the better part of a day going into different offices, waiting in line, filling out the paperwork, sitting down to wait some more…only to be called up and told I do not “qualify”. Then they would say I might qualify for another service, and give me more paperwork and send me to another office. It was a very frustrating day, being denied again and again and again. We went home and my mom took a nap on the couch, she was exhausted. I was undeterred though, and got on my computer to do more research. All of a sudden I got a call from Stanford. The lady on the other line said I qualified under their assistance program and would receive a discount on services. I thought to myself, “Ok, that’s great. A discount is usually what? 10-20% off”. So I asked her how much the discount was. “You qualify for an 80% discount” she said. “Huh?? Come again”, I said. “80%”, she said. I was floored!! I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself!! I informed my parents and my sisters as soon as I could. Everyone was super happy for me. Looks like I won’t be in debt for the rest of my life after all.

Even with a sizable discount, the surgery was still going to be expensive. To help pay the hospital bills some of my family and friends organized several fundraisers. In the coming weeks, both pre and post-op, we actually held a total of 6; and raised about half of my quoted hospital expenses. I still needed to show up on the day of surgery with the 20% that I owed though. So we had to get a personal loan…again, I am really shaking my head at the US healthcare system.

I was pretty fortunate that my sister Lauren knew a lawyer who was willing to draw me up an advanced care directive and will for free. That really helped as I could not afford it on my own. I wasn’t really thinking I needed either of them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I also had to put so many things on hold, including; school, work, training…everything that I wanted to do sort of took a backseat to this thing in my head. I really don’t know how I held it together except that I had a wonderful support system, kept a positive attitude, and exercised as much as possible.

Another incredible thing happened during this time, people came out of the woodworks to help me in my time of need. And I mean A LOT of people. Family, friends, friends of family, friends of friends…even complete strangers. I really was in awe of all of these people coming together to help someone in need. It was especially amazing because you always hear about so many bad things in the news. Having something positive happen, something so close and personal to me, quite honestly restored my faith in people.

3 thoughts on “So Little Time

  1. Jarrod, I have been reading your blogs and they are very well written. Our son, Matt Crigger had his tumor removed in California on Feb 8th 2013 and I can relate to everything you write about. It is a daily struggle for him and he is so positive and an inspiration for all. As you moved in with your mother we moved in with him to help him with his recovery. His friends had a fund raiser as well and it was quite an emotional day for me to see all the love and support. If you are interested in reading his blog and the letter I wrote to the today show (which by the way was never acknowledged) you can find it at myanjourney.com. Stay positive and just know that there is a great AN support group out there.

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    1. Hi LaVon, thank you very much for your comment. I actually have seen your son’s blog before. I was going to name my blog “My AN Journey” too until I saw that name was already taken haha. You know, it is a daily struggle, but with the support of our family and friends and a positive attitude we can achieve wonders. Matt and I are truly fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives. I try and think about how this whole experience would have been without my support system, and I truly just cannot fathom it. I haven’t read your letter yet but I definitely will. Thanks again for reading.

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      1. Your welcome, I just read your latest blog, very well written. Our son sent us a text yesterday that his eye was really watery and actually dripped down his check he only had to put ointment in it once. That is such great news, he has had dry eye since surgery a year and a half ago and has to put ointment in every half hour, I pray that his eye gets better he says the eye is the worst issue he has to deal with. He says it feels like there is soap in it and it burns all the time, I just can’t imagine living with that. Stay positive and good luck to you.

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