Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Chosen and the Not Chosen

More fun cancer news in the papers today! Snipped from an article about Washington Rep. Ross Hunter titled State lawmaker goes radioactive in bid to kill cancer:

This is the three-term lawmaker's second bout with lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system cells. Doctors treated the first, diagnosed in 2006, with a standard chemo regimen, but monitoring near the end of the 2007 legislative session showed the cancer had returned.

This time, his doctor recommended something more effective but rare: a single, extremely high dose of Bexxar. This concentration of the drug, developed locally and pioneered in this method by Dr. Oliver Press of the UW, isn't widely used for a handful of reasons. Approved by the FDA in 2003, it's relatively new and expensive at about $20,000 per treatment. Only three hospitals in the country -- and maybe a total of five worldwide -- are equipped to handle a radioactive patient, post treatment.

In essence, a patient needs what Hunter has: the right cancer, physiology and medical coverage. This truth isn't lost on him. "Thank God I have great insurance."


So I wonder, exactly how does this God decide who gets a second chance and who doesn't?

11 Comments:

Blogger Betsey Callahan said...

It must be excruciating for you to read things like this. I'm sorry.

11:03 PM  
Blogger BeckelyBeck said...

I suppose if you subscribe to the belief that WE are god, as I do, then that might answer your question.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Lymphopo said...

I suppose if you subscribe to the belief that WE are god, as I do, then that might answer your question.

No, I don't subscribe to that idea. Nor to the idea that somehow my own thoughts were responsible for causing my cancer. I find such ideas quite offensive and totally without merit.

And Betsey, thank you.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

Unless this man worships the God of Insurance (and his banned in America demi-god sibling, Universal Healthcare), I think he might be confusing deities with having a goverment job that comes with excellent insurance. The sort that'll for the expensive shot plus a few weeks in a lead lined facility. Christ on a crutch.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Deanna said...

I would be curious to hear the story of how you wound up without insurance. No judgement on my part. Just would like to know that part of your story.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Lymphopo said...

Ok, here's how I came to be without insurance: I was self-employed. For five years I had managed to pay for a modest personal health insurance policy. I had a very hard time qualifying for insurance in the first place because I had several pre-existing conditions, including a severe lumbar scoliosis, and in Louisiana there's a law that insurance companies can't exclude back problems from coverage. Since they couldn't exclude this pre-existing condition, most of the policies I applied for just turned me down flat. I didn't have the luxury of shopping around.

I finally managed to find one company that would take me. It was a shitty and very limited policy: the premiums and deductible were extremely high, prescriptions weren't covered, there was a low cap on total coverage, and there were all kinds of weird loopholes so that in five years, NOTHING ever managed to apply toward the $5000 yearly deductible, so they never paid one penny for anything. And every year it kept getting worse.

Finally when I turned 50 the premium skyrocketed so high I couldn't keep up. One month I just didn't have the funds to pay, so they revoked the policy and then refused to reinstate it.

17 months later I was diagnosed with lymphoma, and the rest is history.

1:34 PM  
Blogger gennimcmahon said...

I once posted (back when I was with Ilyka Damen) about the absurdities of our medical system and its persistent belief that those who are excluded from quality care are somehow deserving of the exclusion. They are poor (ewww! lazy, stinky poor people) or they are minorities (ewww! lazy, stinky poor people who want a government handout) or they are sinners (ewww! homosexuals and single mothers and non-christians are abominating themselves all over the waiting room)or, or...

Or, capitalism is not a good system under which to run health care. And the sense of entitlement that allowed that man to equate God with his ability to benefit from a system at someone else's expense, well....he's gonna have some reckoning to do.

I'm sorry, Liz. Everyone should have access to any and all applicable and available therapies. No matter what. And the white men? They should maybe have to stand in the back of the line. Just this once.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Pete Daggett said...

That sort of insensitive cluelessness can be annoying. I wonder how he rationalizes "God's" largess. Probably thinks he deserves it. Interesting how often god's name is invoked when someone wants to deflect public scrutiny isn't it.

Digression....

I introduced a friend to your Blog, (Her response; "I love that Liz and her “rosy pink asshole of Mortality.” Thanks for the great reading!!"

I am trying to talk her into doing something similar I wrote:
"My 2ȼ, I still think you should write whatever is on your mind, post it on your page, send it to me or just put it in a folder for posterity. Anger, fear, frustration, flip-off or flip out... it doesn't mean a thing if you can't be heard... what you think and feel matters a lot to the people who love you. In the immortal words of Theodore Geisel; "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

3:55 PM  
Blogger KBL 2 ORD 2 SAN said...

Liz,

It burns to read stories like that and I'm sorry. I consider myself a relatively religious person (my mom will say that I'll go to hell for saying this) but God has nothing to frickin' to do with this!

You probably don't want anymore hassles in your life, especially legal hassles, but have you ever thought about pursuing some kind of suit for reimbursement from that crappy insurance company? I'd be more than happy to help out if you'd like. My sister went through the same thing essentially a couple of years back and although it took almost 2 years we were able to get back some of the money she had paid. Her cancer was not as life threatening as yours and yet the company still ran for the hills!

The other side of the shitty health care system is that those that do have insurance, even if it is shitty insurance, are afraid to leave jobs that they hate for fear of losing what little coverage they do have. So many employers no longer can afford to offer insurance, or if they do offer it you have to work for them for months before you're covered. That break in coverage can be disastrous.

Grrr! There is no humane way out, no matter which way you turn. Again, I'm sorry that Congressman had to open his blowhole.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Allegra said...

God of Greed and Insensitivity.

To think this man belongs to a club who opposes constantly any and all forms of national health insurance while you and I pay for theirs with our taxes...sigh.

6:02 PM  
Blogger BeckelyBeck said...

I was very very sick not that long ago...and it was initially a difficult thing to accept that my thoughts affected my health. It seemed to me that it meant that it was my "fault", and if I used my thoughts to heal myself, then I was somehow to blame for making myself sick to begin with.

It inspired the idea for an article I'm calling "Letting Yourself Off the Hook", which eventually I'll post online somewhere, when I'm ready to share my experiences with the world (and I am so appreciative to you for sharing so much of yourself with us!).

Anyway...for what it's worth:
http://tinyurl.com/3adcks

Seriously, Liz, you are doing a FABULOUS freaking job of healing yourself. Your relentlessly positive attitude, psychedelic bathroom decor, and devotion to all things Frida is the kind of stuff which will bring about world peace :)

4:37 PM  

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