Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Is What We're Going Back To

It is May.  The Supreme Court will be ruling on Healthcare Reform in June.  I find myself pacing again, the way I did before Obamacare finally passed in 2010.  This is real, and this matters, and this will affect millions of lives.  If the questions the Supremes asked are taken to their logical conclusion,  the Affordable Care Act is doomed.

The funny thing is, chances are that this will no longer affect me personally.  My son, my cancer survivor kid, has managed to become one of the lucky ones, joining the ranks of College Grads With Good Jobs and Benefits.  He has health insurance. HE HAS HEALTH INSURANCE!!!! Assuming he keeps his job, (say a prayer, cross fingers, knock wood,) he will not be facing a life where he cannot get healthcare due to his lifelong pre-existing condition.  At least not yet. 

But here's the thing:  Millions of others will.  


So it seems like a good time to take look back at the world we will be returning to.    


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our Healthcare System, OR: Crying and Throwing Up. And I'm Just the Mom

It was last Monday, maybe halfway through our first appointment with the chemo doctor, and she was explaining to my son and me all of the potential side effects of his going through chemo this summer.

Higher chance of leukemia, for one thing. Oh, and vascular (circulation) effects. As in, for the rest of his life, my son's heart and lungs will be similar to those of somebody who smokes. Several times higher risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, strokes...

And that's when the tears started pressing against my eyelids, and the coffee started boiling in my stomach, and I wanted nothing more than to flee the consultation room run to the bathroom so I could throw up and cry.

I didn't, of course. This was a meeting of grownups, and we were here to figure out the best option, which right now appears to be chemo. So I swallowed both the tears and the bile and pretended this was what was right. And it probably is.

Understand, though, (and I'm speaking here especially to our politicians, particularly to the Republicans and blue-dog Democrats who think our healthcare system is just fine, thankyouverymuch) that this is not the best medical option.

My son's AFP numbers have dropped from 2200 back into the normal level of less than 8. There is less than a 20% chance that the cancer will return. Given the risks of chemo, it would probably be best, medically, to sit back and wait to see if the cancer comes back. If it were to do so, they would then treat it with both chemo and surgery. 

The problem is that this is more than a medical issue. The peak time for testicular cancer to return is 2 to 5 years after the original surgery. My son will be a college junior this year. Two to five years will put him just out of college and in the workforce.

But, unless he's one of the lucky ones to get a job with a large company, it will be almost impossible for him to find health insurance he can afford once he's no longer on our health insurance. He will have a pre-existing condition, which makes him uninsurable. A return of the cancer then would be disastrous, as would a return of cancer while he's still in school, when he'd probably have to drop out for treatment and, because he would no longer be a fulltime student, could no longer be on our health insurance.

And so, next week, he will start chemo, because it's covered, and because he can do it this summer when it won't affect his schooling.

And so we will be embarking on thousands of dollars of treatment which may damage his health in the future almost solely because our healthcare system is screwed up and may not be there for him later on when he needs it.

It's enough to make you want to cry and throw up

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bright and Sharp

And lo, the first of many, many quilt tops made from the Bali batiks has been finished.
Now I need to figure out how to free-motion quilt on my sewing machine. (Quilt pattern is Scrappy Mountain Majesties by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com.)