It is a matter of life and death.

My name is Christina Raymond and I live in Limestone, ME. I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. I also have an autoimmune disease called Lupus, which makes managing both that and my cancer very difficult and extremely costly.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I had no clue about the hurdles I would face when it came to affording the medications I need simply to live. In order to manage my disease, I require several medications –– Lupron, Tamoxifen, and Neulasta –– in addition to my regular chemo treatments. Lupron costs me $1,500 per month and my Neulasta runs $6,000 per shot.

In order to afford my medication, I have had to get quite resourceful. I was not able to get Lupron copay assistance and I therefore rely heavily on grants. The process is quite daunting, but it must be done in order for me to survive. First, I must secure a grant to assist me with the costs. Once the medication is paid for, I then have to get approval from the hospital to administer it to me. Once approved, then I can finally get the treatment I need. The process of finding a way to afford my treatment takes as much of a toll on my health and wellbeing as the cancer I am fighting. Medicine does no good if people cannot afford it.

Affordable medication is necessary for my survival. If my drugs were more affordable I would have a much easier time maintaining my health. I could pay my mortgage and provide for my family. The high costs put a lot of pressure on my husband, and since we are both on fixed incomes the stakes are very high. Prices must come down. It is a matter of life and death for patients like me.