The Cost of Being Sick in Tiffany Dollars

The holidays are about to descend upon us like the bubonic plague, my friends. Since it is that time of year, our mailbox has been brimming with holiday catalogs. Including the Tiffany holiday catalog. Obviously the fine folks at Tiffany haven’t been informed that there’s only room for one expensive thing in my budget these days, and that’s my tumor.

I used to look forward to the Tiffany catalog coming to our door. It was fun to flip through page after page of unattainable baubles. Giant diamonds. Gems in every color of the rainbow. Dreaming. Imagining,  If I ever win the lottery I’ll have one for every finger. It’s different now. After you know how many dollars it takes to get be sick and get well, lottery dreams go from extravagances to necessities.

Luckily, Tiffany has us practical people covered with their line of home accessories called Everyday Objects.  I saw a few of those “everyday” objects in the catalog and decided to search further online. I found almost 60 basic items that had been Tiffanied, for lack of a better word. You know, just random stuff like a $400 crazy straw and a $500 protractor. Everyday stuff. Or, as I like to call it, bullshit.

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My house in Florida was cheaper than this. Source: Tiffany & Co. 

But you, maybe, aren’t like me. Perhaps you have money to burn on an almost $300,000 desktop greenhouse. And I don’t begrudge anyone any damn thing. If you are living that kind of life and you have that kind of cash to spend you go for it. But let me first put some things in perspective. Let me show you, in Tiffany dollars, what my illness has and still continues to cost me.

Let’s start with a trip to the doctor. A visit to my oncologist can cost me anywhere from nothing to a few hundred bucks depending on where I am in the deductible timeframe. That’s perfectly understandable and I’m happy to pay it. I still have my leg, thanks to the expertise of some stellar doctors. But a few hundred bucks is a weekend away or winter coats for all of us or groceries for a week. Or, according to Tiffany, $300 is a pencil sharpener. A manual one at that.

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But it does include three pencils. That’s generous. Source: Tiffany & Co. 

MRIs generally run me up to $1000 when I’ve not yet met my deductible. Over the past six years I’ve probably had about 15 or so MRIs, give or take. Let’s say I average a few hundred bucks and change for each one of those MRIs. Well, I’m no mathematician, but that’s a lot of damn money. And roughly a half dozen “paper” cups, according to Tiffany.

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“…cup should not be used to consume hot liquids.” Congratulations. You have a $600 Solo cup. Source: Tiffany & Co. 

I was one of the lucky desmoid folks to have a treatment work for them. It was the fourth medication I tried, my second oral chemo. I was on it for just about one year. That year cost me almost $5,000. Surely you can’t put a price tag on your health and I feel grateful to have been on the receiving end of a successful treatment, but five grand is not pocket change.

Well, to Tiffany, $5000 is pocket change. For about the same price as my chemo you can only get a few “everyday” items such as a paper plate, a few legos, a tin can, and a teeny tiny folding chair that serves literally no purpose other than to be able to tell people you have a grand to blow on a teeny tiny folding chair.

And, finally, the pièce de résistance. The most costly treatment I underwent, by far, was my first oral chemo. Prior to becoming available in generic form, the out of pocket cost of this chemo skyrocketed. After having tried two other medications that failed to shrink my tumor and being told I was at risk for possible amputation, my husband and I decided it was worth the crippling expense. For three months of this particular chemo we shelled out $10,000.

That wasn’t without insurance.

That wasn’t our deductible.

That was the copay.


The kicker? It didn’t even work.

Being an all around glutton for punishment, I decided to find out what random, useless, utterly infuriating object could I get at Tiffany for around the $10,000 mark. For the price of three months of chemo I could get what? Go ahead, take a guess. I dare you.

If you said a ball of yarn and a bird’s nest go ahead and give yourself a good pat on the back because you are correct. And, while you’re at it, go ahead and scrape your chin up from the floor too.

But don’t fret. If you scraped your chin real bad you can always take out some bandaids from your $600 Tiffany first aid box and some aspirin from your $350 for the Tiffany Chinese takeout pill box and make it all better.

I’m sure you have them because, you know, they’re nothing special. Just your “everyday” objects that get you through your day.