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I could have driven to California and part way home.

Yes, you read that correctly. The mileage Andy or I drove to and from appointments, scans and treatments in 2023 amounted to more than a road trip to California.

Maybe I should back up.

About two weeks ago Andy and I were preparing all of the things we needed to gather and figure out in order to file our 2023 taxes. As part of this process, we needed to add up all of our medical expenses and mileage for medical reasons. While Andy worked on the medical expenses, I started filling in a spreadsheet of every appointment and how far it was to each office. About 10 appointments in I started to get teary.

This was far harder emotionally than I had anticipated. By going through my online medical records to make sure we didn’t miss anything, I was having to relive every medical moment of 2023. I saw tests I’d much rather forget I ever had to endure. I saw doctor names and remembered long hours of treatments and hard conversations. I saw names of places that I don’t ever want to visit again.

Each line was a vivid memory, a raw memory. 75 lines. 75 days worth of appointments.

Then came the total. 2,645 miles. That’s more than the driving distance from our house to Sacramento, California by 400 miles. What a punch in the gut.

Why write about this at all?

I write because this is some of the hidden hurt. This is some of the unrecognized loss. This is what no one talks about.

I write because some of you want to help those you know who are or have been through something similar and now you know. Recognize the loss that is beyond health and hair. Realize that something as “simple” as taxes may bring up big emotions. Remain available even after “an end.”