A month ago we got the news no one wants to get. My wife was diagnosed with small cell invasive carcinoma, a form of breast cancer. They were able to catch it early so the prognosis is mostly good. Since the diagnosis she has had to endure 3 painful MRI assisted biopsies.
If you know my wife, you know her physical and emotional strength. You know that she is a determined individual and has a great attitude and outlook on life. Many of you are going to ask, “What can I do?” You can go and get regular exams. You can encourage others to do the same.
We met with the medical staff at the hospital on what to expect, the surgeon, the oncologist, the radiologist, the nursing staff. We also had to meet with someone from BILLING and FINANCES. The surgeries and treatments she will have to have are understandably expensive. BUT- we WILL be able to afford this.
When we left the hospital we thought about how absolutely lucky we are. The cancer was caught early. We live in an area of the country where our local hospital (less than 10 minutes away) has a wonderful cancer unit. We are lucky because she has a great support group of friends. We are lucky that we had a trip already planned and were able to talk to our adult children about this. We are lucky because our jobs have flexibility that will allow her to go to her appointments and I can be there when she feels it necessary. We are lucky that although as small business owners we have pretty horrible insurance that we will be able to afford all the necessary procedures.
Thinking of all the luck we had it made me think about others who may not have this kind of luck. My goal is to make her day to day life as stress free as possible. There are some people who just do not have that option. I cannot imagine someone facing the same diagnosis and wondering how they will afford the treatment. How they will get the necessary time off. Do they have to make a choice between LIVING and a car payment? Do they have to pick and choose which appointments they go to based on if they can get time off work? Do they have to handle everything on their own because their husband/partner or friend can not get the time off to help them? Do they go without groceries because of the expense of the medication? Do they not have the time to recover from procedures (where you are not allowed to lift more than 5 lbs) because they have a job to do or children to lift up?
My wife has never smoked, very rarely drinks, has lived a very clean life. Cancer sucks and it doesn’t care what kind of life you lead. It makes no sense that in today in the USA a person may need to have to make a choice between life saving care and food or work.
Healthcare should be Universal. There is no but. It should be Universal. Period. Universal health care is such a complex beast that only 32 of the world’s 33 developed nations have been able to make it work. The insurance companies are getting rich on our payments while denying our claims. People say they do not want the government involved in their health decisions. I get that. But you would trust a private company instead? The government wants you in the workforce. They want you to be able to work and to be able to pay taxes. A private company, they just want your money.
Politicians don’t want to tax millionaires and billionaires because they want the money for their campaigns. They do not want that money going to an opponent’s campaign. So taxes keep going up on the middle class. The working poor are left to fend for themselves. Told to pull themselves up by their boot straps when they can’t even afford boots. I miss the “old days” where billionaires’ vanity projects was to build public libraries, music venues and hospitals. I don’t get people like Elon Musk. If I had billions of dollars, I would impulsively start fixing stuff. Homeless vets? I don’t think so. Hungry children? Not on my watch. Cancer treatments- I got this. He could be Batman.
What a waste.