We were at the local hospital in June of 2018 when we got the news that Todd had AML. With this diagnosis, it was an immediate referral to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. While at our first appointment, we were given about 5 minutes to decide where Todd was going to receive chemotherapy and where he was going to have a stem cell transplant. Now here is where I should mention that Rochester and Mayo are about 7 hours away via car from our place in North Dakota.
When it comes to a major medical diagnosis most people are not equipped to stay someplace away from home long term. We spent our first 30 days down in Rochester at a hotel at $100/night. Talk about bank account shock, there goes one credit card limit. We knew that staying at a hotel was not feasible long term but we had no idea on where to turn to find long term housing at an affordable rate. We tried a few different options but finally were able to find a semi-furnished apartment with parking fairly close to Mayo for the duration of our stay. Of course this was at $1700/month so basically another mortgage payment.
Overall we spent a year and half in Rochester, first for the initial AML treatment and 2 rounds of chemotherapy for that and then for the stem cell transplant and recovery process. They tell you to plan on 100 days in Rochester after a transplant but due to complications our stay was extended multiple times so flexibility is key.
The financial struggle during all of this is daunting to say the least. Having a space that is safe, warm, and comfortable for the patient to recover in is so very important. We managed to make ends meet but there are so many people that are not able to. Just having someplace to turn to that may be able to help with housing can give a person peace of mind when their world is turned upside down.
I recently received a scary medical diagnosis, resulting in surgery and treatment at my local hospital in Eau Claire, WI. After treatment, my doctor referred me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a stem cell transplant, meant to increase my chances of a full recovery. That referral meant 6 – 8 weeks in Rochester as an outpatient, and added financial concerns to the mix.
The stress of dealing with a difficult diagnosis was compounded by the uncertainty of finding a suitable housing arrangement, at an affordable price while receiving Mayo Clinic out-patient care. Keeping the cost of the housing rental within my budget was a concern, and resulted in an upper apartment with a steep and narrow stairway, inadequate heating system, and poorly furnished kitchen. My world class medical experience was definitely tainted by a mediocre and stressful housing arrangement.