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a future with no more chemo

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

I don't visit this forum very often anymore since what's past is past, the cancer is gone and I don't feel the need to remain connected to it. It's done with me and I'm done with it. There are lots of people on this forum who can help and advise newcomers, and I have nothing to offer that others can't. That said, I do check in from time to time so, for those interested, an article titled No more chemo:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/06/26/no-more-chemo-doctors-say-its-not-so-far-fetched/?xid=newsletter-daily

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

So glad to hear that you are doing well! Summer is finally here! I do hope you make it to Disneyland, Spain, and wherever your heart desires! Life is good. It will surely be wonderful when cancer can be treated with no chemo! Thanks for the article.

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

You're welcome.  "Doing well" might be overstating things a bit. My issues now have to do with the treatments, not the disease, as I thought would be the case.  That's what western medicine does, it fixed one thing and creates 10 new ones.  In addition, thanks to our stellar health care system, which is an embarassment and places us in the neandarthal category of industiralized countries with reagrd to health care, I'm probably going to be liable for $8,000 in copayments for the radiation. More than likely, I'll have to file for bankruptcy.  So did I do the right thing by treating?  I have no idea.  In any case, that said, I've had better days but I've sure had worse, so overall, I'm not too, too bad.

eihtak
Posts: 809
Joined: Oct 2011

Sad isn't it? Between my husbands bone marrow transplant and my two primary cancers we could not stay afloat so to speak. My kids even had a benefit walk for us to help out. Two months ago we filed bankrupcy. It was a horrible feeling for me to be in that position but am also somewhat relieved to be starting over. Another unforseen possible side effect of cancer treatment !!!!!!!!!! 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

laCh and eihtak. I think it is outrageous that we have the health care system that we do. Looking over the Affordable Care Act, I am pretty horrifed at what they call affordable. It will be affordable to those on a Medicaid expansion, and more expenaive with less coverage for those of us who buy on the dirext market. It is not what most people think that it is. Outrageous. As a divorced mother, it was a huge percent of my annual income. I have gone without too many extras for years. Having 2 cancers back to back wiped put all of my savings....and that is with the very expensive health insurance that I pay for. Unreal. I have managed to maintain my home, but I will be working until the day I die. I really think that working day and night and trying to be both a mother and father to my child, made my body susceptible to all this cancer. Sometimes I think I would have been better off just to go on government benefits. Instead, I have worked myself to an early grave!

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

The problem with our system is basically that it's a for-profit system.  Most Americans freak out when they hear the words "socialized medicine," but if you ask them what that means, and why that's bad, they have no idea. Back in 2011 I was in Spain, explaining to four friends about our health care system. There were four people staring back at me with their mouths hanging open, saying, more or less, "are you f**ng kidding me?"  I'm not saying that Spain isn't without it's own problems, and I'm not even saying that their system of health care has no problems, but what we have here goes so far beyond "problems," that it begs another name. It's dysfunctional, it's beyond the financial means of most middle class people WITH health coverage, it's built on a for-profit business model no different than any other business and to cap it off, we're held captive by a lobby that puts more money into their lobbying than the tobacco and oil companies combined (see the recent article in Time magazine called Bitter Pill.)  We're the only industrialized country on the planet without socialized medicine. Mexico has it, Canada has it, the countries in the Eurozone have it, England has it....  we're so hung up on this for-profit system (or the people reaping the financial benefits or it are), so trapped by their lobby, so hung up on words like "socialized medicine," that freak people out without any understanding of what they mean, that this is what we're stuck with.  People working till they die just to pay off medical debts or stay eligible for medical coverage that doesn't even come close to providing accessible, affordable medical care.  People filing for bankruptcy. Obama did nothing but throw more people into the dysfunctional pot of people who still won't be able to afford medical care, it's just that now they'll have insurance to not cover it.  This will only end when we replace the for-profit system for a not-for-profit system, when hospitals can no longer inflate their prices with no oversight or accountability (again, see the Time article called Botter Pill) and when the lobby is reined in (which will happen when there's no longer profit to be made).  This topic is a real sore point for me; it was before the cancer and it is now.  But unlike Marynb, I knew that this would happen even before my first treatment. I anticipated this. I expected it. Our system is an embarassment. It's a travesty.  It's egregious.  It's shameful. And it's all ours.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Perhaps you misunderstood my post. I have been an advocate for a single payer universal health care system in this country for the past 30 years. I never liked the Obama plan at all. I abhor doctors who get rich at the expense of suffering people. I detest the for profit system. However, as a cancer patient I do accept that science has not yet found a cure for cancer. I do not mistrust all doctors. I do wish that there was a cure for cancer. When push came to shove, we all wanted evidence based treatment and we accepted it because we all want to live full lives.

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 734
Joined: May 2011

Washington just doesn't get it or care. Why should they? They don't share our problems. We pay for everthing for them.

My husband worked for a solid company and we continued to have coverage under his plan. I don't know how you go through the stress of cancer and with the anger and resentment over no coverage and losing everything to boot, being expected to work when you are dead tired from being sick with a deadly disease. But for the grace of God go I and I realize that. I am also glad that I got my cancer before going on Medicaire which apparently really sucks now. My husband is having a terrible time figuring out who is paying what these days, but we are definitely paying more and getting less for his care. He was healthy the whole time he was insured by the insurance company which is now in second position but I guess it is still tricky getting through all the mind boggling paper work. I hope I get all straightened out before I have to go on Medicaire.

Fondly,

Sandy

 

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm on Medicare and am insured by a Medicare Advantage Plan (it's a regular insurer with a subplan reserved for Medicare recipients). The coverage is better than regular Medicare but that's not syaing much since Medicare sucks.  Many providers don't accept Medicare or even Medicare Advantage Plans because their reimbursement is low. So here I am, a 5 minute walk from one of the most preeminent cancer centers on the planet, but I couldn't go to them because they don't accept my insurance.  I wasn't concerned that they knew things that no one else did for treatment of the tumor that I had, I wanted to use them because I knew that when I got sick from the treatments, getting there would be easier then getting to the place I ended up using.  I remember back in 2010, laying on a gurney in the ER, sick, in pain, vomiting, feverish, being told that the CT scan that I'd reluctantly agreed to undergo (reluctant, because of the copay) revealed that I had to have my appendix out immediately, and my only question was "Does the surgeon accept my insurance? Does the anesthesioligist?"  Are these questions one should have to ask when they're sick/injured/compromised? Yes, the answer is yes, here in America. And then, because I had a $175/day inpatient copayment for simply sitting in the bed, I checked myself out 12 hours after I left the recovery room.  You tell these kinds of stories to people who live in countries with socialized medicine and they're just flabberghasted.  So what exactly did Obama do?  He icluded more people into our shameful, exploitative, ineffective, greedy system.  And I supported the guy, so it's not like I'm anti-Obama. My take on the article in Time, one of the best I've ever read, about why our health care costs are what they are, was, "if Steven Brill (the article's author) knows this stuff, Obama must know this stuff, and if he didn't, he should have. In any case, he knows it now." So has he addressed it? Has he uttered a word about it? Can he? Will he?  The answer is no to all, because the lobbyists run the country, not the politicians, local, state or federal, nor you nor me.  Expecting change is like asking the richest man on the planet to willingly give up his wealth, disperse it equally and step away from the system that made him so rich and then for him to implement a system that's guaranteed to be fair for the masses but keep him among them.  In a word, the reason we're in this situation is one thing only. Greed. No more, no less. And the inability or unwillingness to engage it, dismantle it and replace it. Until that changes, this is the system that we'll have. It's truly shameful. There's a word in Spanish. It has no exact translation, but the word is sinvergüenza and it means, more or less, shameless. Without concience.  Above it all. It applies to our medical care system and those who support it, advocate for it, fight for it, exploit it, and will do anything and everything to make sure it continues unchanged and unchallenged. 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

It will change when Americans stand up and force it to change. The issues with the Affordable Care Act are obvious, yet Obama was reelected. I supported the universal coverage that Hillary proposed with some minor changes. We now have, for the most part, what people refer to as, "low information voters" . This is a polite way of saying illiterate and apathetic. Most people do not read the newspaper at all. It is disgraceful. Change is possible, but it doesn't come without people standing up.

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

So well put LaCh! :)

 

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

No, I didn't misunderstand, I was agreeing with you and directing my comments to the general American system and mindset, and for-profit paradigm at large.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I shelled out 30k for health care in one year! That is with the best insurance I could buy as an individual. Unreal!

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 514
Joined: Apr 2009

you are so right!!!!! makes me ill....the stress of all of this worry is going to make us worse..... as far after effects,  i did not get better until 3 years after tx so hopefully you will improve more and more....i still have issues.... how is your dog????    sephie

Phoebesnow
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 2011

Regarding health care in our country, it's still the finest in the world. Our  county hospital is the cutting edge in technology.   You don't have to pay if you can't or you can pay as little as 25 month for the rest of your life.  We have many free clinics here in Los Angeles, that do everything including biopsies and minor surgeries.  The free clinic uses retired doctors from cedars, ucla and other tops notch facilities.  They offer free medication, birth control, classes, dental and attorney services. You Can make appointments or be a walk in.  Ucla will take anyone insurance or not.  

 

I have traveled the world since I was a little girl, there is no country that can compare to us in anyway,standard of living, healthcare, public facilities, parks, beaches, you name it and ours is better. 

 

When picking health insurance you should pick what you can afford.  My health insurance I did not pay for chemo or radiation or even parking.  When I go to the hospital, I pay a one time copay of 200.00.  There is no cap.  I pay 520.00 a month. It is worth every penny.

 

If you are dx wih cancer in a socialistic country, you may wait up to six months for tx.

Yes that's how the world goes round in a capilastic society, people want to make  money.  Whether they are a maid or a doctor everyone wants as much as they can get.

 

If you can find a better country that can offer a standard of living at least equal to the US I would like to know about it.

 

  

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

Regarding health care in our country, it's still the finest in the world. Our county hospital is the cutting edge in technology. You don't have to pay if you can't or you can pay as little as 25 month for the rest of your life. We have many free clinics here in Los Angeles, that do everything including biopsies and minor surgeries. The free clinic uses retired doctors from cedars, ucla and other tops notch facilities. They offer free medication, birth control, classes, dental and attorney services. You Can make appointments or be a walk in. Ucla will take anyone insusance or not. Well, ok, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. I only know what I’ve experienced and what those around me have experienced. I don’t want to pay for anything  for the rest of my life. I pay down my credit card to a zero balance at the end of each month because I can’t tolerate debt and don’t feel that I should have to pay a medical debt for the rest of my life. I can’t go to a free clinic because I have insurance; when you’re on Social Security, it’s mandatory.  I don’t have access to free legal services, nor a dentist, and in fact, haven’t been to one in years because I can’t afford it.  As for technology, Spain, not exactly known to be an innovative country, has the same diagnostic and therapeutic technology that we do here. In any case, I’m not sure if technology is a good measure of good health care. It’s a part—but not a defining part (this is simply MY opinion). Part of good health care means not having to ask a surgeon if he accepts your insurance as you await an emergency appendectomy, lying on a gurney in the ER, or having to ask the anesthesiologist the same. It means not having an administrative employee with no medical training make medical decisions about what diagnostic tests and treatments you will and won’t be allowed based on economics.  It means having a doctor who spends more than 10 minutes with you because he doesn’t have a minimum number of patients to see in a given time in order to earn enough money from his low insurance payments.  It means not having to check yourself out of a hospital because of a co-pay that you can’t afford. It means not having to allow certain diagnostic procedures and treatments and rejecting others because your co-pay for those things is too high.  Technology is a small part of what constitutes good health care, and countries with socialized medicine, democratic, Western European countries have the technology that we have here.  That said, when a wealthy European or member of a royal family in one country or another gets sick, they may come here because of reputation, amenities, etc.  Finances aren’t their concern. They don’t pick and choose treatments, they don’t check themselves out of the hospital for economic reasons, so I’m not sure that people of means who come here for treatments sheds any light on health care for us.   

I have traveled the world since I was a little girl, there is no country that can compare to us in anyway,standard of living, healthcare, public facilities, parks, beaches, you name it and ours is better. To make a broad statement that says that the United States has the best of all those things might invite a few dissenters from other places around the world. Parks, beaches, many places, many countries have breathtaking beaches and parks, wildlife refuges and countryside. The United States simply can’t lay claim to have the best of those things because those things can be found all around the world. Some aren’t as nice as those found here and others surpass some of ours by far, in grandeur and accessibility. Generally speaking, sweeping comments that invoke words like “best” “most”  “all” “always” or “never” usually aren’t so. Standars of living in other industrialized countries is equal or better by some measures, than ours.

When picking health insurance you should pick what you can afford. My health insurance I did not pay for chemo or radiation or even parking. When I go to the hospital, I pay a one time copay of 200.00. There is no cap. I pay 520.00 a month. It is worth every penny. When you have Social Security about $100 is taken from your monthly check and paid to either Medicare or a Medical Advantage plan of your choosing (you choose among those offered in your geographical area.) A Medicare Advantage Plan is a sub-plan from an insurance company that pools all its Medicare patients together. Since reimbursement is low for Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, choices are limited, many physicians don't participate and co-pays are a given, as are restrictions and caps. There is no Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t have a cap, at least not in my area or anywhere that I’m aware.

If you are dx wih cancer in a socialistic country, you may wait up to six months for tx. I wasn’t talking about a country with a socialist government, I was talking about a socialized medical care system with a democratic one.  I have two friends in Spain who were recently diagnosed with cancer, one with colon cancer, and the other with lymphoma. Neither waited a long time (any longer than I waited) to be seen from onset of symptoms and both were in treatment quickly, within three and two weeks respectively. Maybe you’re thinking of electives or non-essential, non-life threatening issues. I have to wait a long time for those as well, sometimes weeks or in a few cases, months. I’m not saying that Spain has a perfect health care system; I don’t think any country does. I’m saying that the issue of waiting six months to be treated is something that doesn’t happen with a life-threatening illness or injury. In addition to the two that I mentioned, I know others  also diagnosed with cancer.  They didn’t wait any longer than I did, which was weeks, from date of diagnosis to start of treatment.  They also didn’t receive a bill, didn’t search for a participating provider who accepted their insurance, didn’t worry about in-hospital costs, diagnostic costs, treatment or follow-up costs. What they have is a large portion of their salaries held aside for those things, and after that, they have access to what they need, when they need it, and don’t see a bill. There is no perfect health care system that I’m aware of but some are worse than others, and I stand by my assertion that ours is one of the worst in the industrialized world. We have one of the highest newborn mortality rates and one of the shortest life expectancies, as well as people who routinely have to file for bankruptcy after a serious illness or injury.  Those are some of the measures of a good or a bad health care system. In my opinion. 

Yes that's how the world goes round in a capilastic society, people want to make money. Whether they are a maid or a doctor everyone wants as much as they can get. There’s nothing wrong with earning a living, with making money, but there’s a difference between earning a living and earning a salary of 7 digits when the facility that pays you that salary is turning away patients because their insurance reimburses $150 rather than $300 or something like that.  There’s a difference between earning a living and greed.  Again, I encourage you to read the article in Time Magazine entitled “Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill.

If you can find a better country that can offer a standard of living at least equal to the US I would like to know about it.   Better? I don't know, but iqual, sure and in some ways, yes, better. Britain,  Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany… I can name a few. The United States has some fine points, but we’re not superior to other places by the most common measures of quality of life within the industrialized western world. We have hunger and poverty here, we have desperate people and deep inequality. That said, withing the middle class, Western Europeans have a similar standard of living, or did before the global economy crashed and to a degree, maintain it now (certainly not all do but my friends have maintained their middle class standard of living). I respect your opinion and simply offer mine and the reasons why I have it.  I’ve grown accustomed to some strong criticism in this forum and hope that this doesn’t invite any more. It’s exhausting.  These are simply my opinions. There’s no need to go ballistic if you (the generic “you”) disagree.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Nobody has ever "gone ballistic" here. It is fine to have discussions.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Wow, good for you that California offers such a low price health insurance policy with such good coverage. That is great! Is that through work? That kind of plan is not going to be available through ObamaCare. Even in the best plan to the direct market under ObamaCare provides only 90% coverage plus premium and deducribles and copays That is the Platinum plan. The other plans provide that the patient pays 30% of total health care Plus premiums and copays and deductibles. This is NOT AFFORDABLE to most people. Those who fall below the poverty line benefit. The rest of us pay more!!!!!

I love my country too. However, I do not believe that health care hould be reserved for the rich or poor. I believe it has to change and that we will change it someday.

Phoebesnow
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 2011

Yes I agree our education system is not the best, I myself was a victim of that.

 

I am self employed.  I started with this policy in 2007 and it goes up about40.00 a year.  My provider will be available to me at that 100.00 copay that Lach mentionedwhen I retire.

 

La ch it is my opinion and I don't want to argue back and forth.  I do stand up for my country and I stand by my opinion it's funny how it's ok to bash ourcountry, organized religion but other topics are taboo.  I think a lot of people just do and say what's popular in the moment.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Just another thought. Our public education system is certainly not one of the best in the world! Perhaps it was at one time. I am sorry to say tthis, but we have become mediocre to poor in that category!!!

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 514
Joined: Apr 2009

what company do you have insurance with ?????.....i might need to get that kind if i can change..thx   sephie

Phoebesnow
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 2011

Kaiser Permante.  They are wonderful.  If I lived in Colorado I would be paying only320.00.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 514
Joined: Apr 2009

thanks.... will look into it..probably cannot change after all i have had but worth a look...   sephie

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 734
Joined: May 2011

I have lived in Washington State and New York where those who had preexisting conditions are protected from losing their insurance or becoming uninsurable. While whatever they have done in Washington DC called Obamacare is deeply flawed, at least now people can move from state to state without being subjected to different laws regarding their insurability.

My brother and sister-in-law have gotten great care from the Kaiser system. We should be looking harder at how Hawaii has always had effective health care in a government paid system. The remaining good news here is that we can choose.

The sad thing is to see the state of repair the system is in. It's a big boat to turn around.

Sincerely,

Sandy

LaCh
Posts: 509
Joined: Dec 2012

Sephie, thanks for the words of encouragment.  My dog's doing well, enjoying the good weather, like I am.  Thanks again.

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