Monday, 19 March 2018

Long live the maple leaf!

So, just after New Year's, when I was going through my "google everything there is to know about colon cancer, ovarian cancer, chemotherapy" etc. phase, I joined a Facebook group for people currently fighting colon cancer.  And it's been enlightening.  I've been able to learn all about what to expect from upcoming treatments, I've learned that most of us fall into the 30 to 40 age range (the colonscopy screening age really needs to come down from the current recommended 50), and I've met some pretty positive "warriors."

I've also learned a lot about the American medical system and insurance companies that hold your life, literally, in theirr hands.  Their insurance won't pay for their treatments or, if it does, pays only a small part.  People are losing their livelihoods, their homes, their credit, the shirts off their backs because they had the misfortune of getting cancer.  Some of them have been fired from their jobs for not being able to fulfill their duties.  Others have stoicly worked through their treatments because they have no other choice; they've run out of sick time.

It's disgusting.  And heartbreaking!  A lot of my counterparts have GoFundMe pages. Go Fund Me... you've seen them.  They're webpages designed to canvas your friends and family for donations to help you get through tough times.  They are relying on the kindness and generousity of their family, friends, and friends of friends, to pay for medical expenses that they have no control over.

Here's the thing.   I don't have a Go Fund Me page. And I won't.  I don't need one. I have a job to return too as soon as I'm on the other side of this illness.  I don't have to fight with insurance to get my chemo covered, I just show up at the hospital and take it for granted that they'll give it to me.  I didn't get a hefty bill in the mail after my hospital stay.  I did have to pay for my anti-nausea meds, but only a few bucks because 80% of it is covered by my plan.  They cut me open for free.  I didn't even see a bill for the ambulance ride. We're living on less income right now because I cannot work while undergoing chemotherapy, but because I have decent benefits at work, we are still able to pay our bills, buy groceries, and make ends meet.  My employer has been amazingly supportive which has given me the flexibilty to be on sick leave with pay, which will flip into long-term disability in three months time.  I've got no complaints!

I am heartbroken each time I read about someone who has been denied insurance, or lost their home, or their marriage broke down due to the stress of bankruptcy.  Or, they've decided not to pursue treatment because they cannot afford it.  I do not understand how a country can claim to be a world leader in freedom and human rights, but doesn't take care of it's citizens when they need it the most.

I live on the right side of the 49th parallel.  And for that, I am super grateful!

Long live the maple leaf!

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