Larkspur-Corte Madera Patch editor Derek Wilson writes a column called "Tick Tock..Time of My Life" that chronicles his days living with Stage 4 carcinoid cancer. Here's his latest entry.
The medical bills are mounting and, in a sense, that's a good thing I discovered recently.
Few people can afford to be sick … thus begins the argument over Obamacare, but that's an issue for later. I'm spending thousands of dollars a year on scans, shots, hospital visits and more to treat my carcinoid cancer. I'd rather spend the money on San Jose Sharks tickets, but that will have to wait.
I might be able to get some of that money back, though. And so can you.
I handed a pile — well, several vaguely organized piles — of medical bills to my tax preparer Stephen Gurne, CPA. As I pushed the papers across his desk, he shuffled through them and entered each into his computer, looking for deductions.
The list of expenses included the cost of regular treatments and visits to the oncologist at the Marin Cancer Institute; visits to Stanford Medical Center for CAT Scans, Octreotide Scans and Bone Scans; the cost of gas to and from the hospital; the cost of food and lodging when I went to see Dr. Edward Wolin at Cedars-Sinai.
Don't overlook any possible deduction. That lunch you just had in the hospital cafeteria could be money in your mouth.
It's a good thing I saved all my bills, otherwise I'd be looking for a second job somewhere in order to support my family.
Two things might be certain in life, but at least with taxes we know when it's coming. … And it's coming soon. We can worry about death later.
Black Tuesday — April 17th — the tax deadline is hurtling at us full speed, just like a giant asteroid. Sure, we can try to ignore it, but it's still coming. That's a lot of pressure, but getting the taxes done was a huge weight off my shoulders.
It's bad enough worrying about your own health: Can I find a cure? Why do I feel so weak? How long will I live? We shouldn't have to worry about how we'll afford the care we need to stay alive on top of all that.
There should be some sort of a break for people fighting illnesses. When we were kids, we got to stay home from school. What do we get now? A box of tissues next to the computer at work. Where's the fun in that?
Remember to save a record of all your expenses and let your accountant use them to get every last penny you deserve in return. Then use that money to bring the fun back into your life.
That's the third thing that should be certain in life: Fun.
For more information on cancer and carcinoid cancer, consider these sites: