I have a lot of feelings right now and I just keep typing jumbled thoughts and trying to organize them in some sort of way. I think I’m just generally mad at cancer (and people) today.
I’ll start by saying I’ve never been one to really care about politics. It has never really interested me and living in a historically conservative state, I never really thought my opinion could make any sort of difference. I know that sounds like a cop out, but it’s the truth. (Don’t get me wrong, I still vote!) I never bothered to really educate myself because I thought politics in general were uninteresting and fairly complicated. Obviously the political climate has been thrown to the forefront of everyone’s minds right now. Everything is so polarizing, it’s very exhausting to try to figure it out. To be totally honest, I’m still trying to find accurate and truthful information to support these “feelings” I have on various issues and topics. With the volatility of the world, I’ve found myself generally disappointed with humankind and our inability to care about our own communities.
I think I speak on behalf of anyone with a chronic medical condition when I say I’m fearful of our future of health insurance coverage. Today in particular, I found myself overwhelmed with the feeling that I could be denied health insurance coverage because of my pre-existing condition (ahem, cancer). My mind immediately started tallying up what it costs me just to be in “surveillance mode” -- I can’t even begin to imagine what those costs would look like if I had a recurrence. But, I know for damn sure I wouldn't be able to afford it. Anyone with a cancer diagnosis shouldn’t have to decide if they can afford treatment or not. We shouldn’t have to put a price tag on our lives.
I struggled most of the day trying to figure out how to talk about this. I thought about posting something on social media, but then felt I wasn’t knowledgeable enough about the topic to say anything intelligent. But I have this gut feeling to say something. I’m not one to shy away from difficult conversations -- especially when cancer is involved.
So, I logged onto Instagram. Aka an online platform that has now become a perfectly curated feed of young adult cancer patients and survivors. Let me start by saying how incredibly grateful I am for my online community. I’ve “met” some truly wonderful people. There is one girl, in particular, outside my melanoma circle that I love. She has an entire TikTok devoted to hilarious cancer videos and I love her dark, twisted sense of humor. She’s an ovarian cancer survivor so although our cancer experiences are entirely different, I appreciate the hell out of her approach to things. Today, she found out that her cancer has returned. I’m not sure what that means for her and her treatment plans, but I do know that those are the words no cancer survivor ever wants to hear. When I saw her instagram story, my heart sank. I knew she was having scans, but I was really hoping for good news.
This news coupled with my own building anxiety over the current administration trying to get rid of the ACA and allowing insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions just made me feel like poop. I’m mad and angry that cancer exists. But, I’m even more mad and angry that it takes having cancer for the majority of the population to understand what it’s like. It’s not just a financial burden, but it’s physically and emotionally crippling, too. We should be able to be compassionate and empathetic towards other humans without living directly in their shoes.
Cancer survivors are not “pre-existing conditions” -- we are HUMANS.
Today is a rough one.
Please register to vote. And then, please vote on November 3rd.
Please reach out to your family and friends with cancer (or any chronic medical condition, rather) because they’re probably also very fearful of the future of our country.
And also, please, send some prayers and positive thoughts in Jaye’s direction. She really needs it.