Thursday, July 9, 2015

So Wrong

I just heard from a friend that her daughter has decided to stop chemotherapy because her cancer has spread to her liver. Her doctors estimate she has two to four months left.

Being told you're going to die of cancer in your early 40s is hideous. Being the parent of the person in those circumstances is unimaginable to me, except that every time I think of it, it makes me cry, so maybe I can begin to imagine it.

To make it all even worse, my friend wrote,

She's experiencing pain from her bone cancer and increasing fatigue. She has been able to continue working, albeit fewer hours than previously, and that maintains her current health care plan.
Her daughter's health situation may make me cry, but this bit about the health insurance makes me want to scream and break something. How inhumane, how ridiculous. What a country this is, where billionaires buy up every livable place in Manhattan and fly their jets to mansions in the Hamptons for the weekend, but young women dying of cancer have to keep working until the last possible moment to make sure they have health insurance.

Having a likely time frame means my friend's family can look into hospice care, and I hope it also means her daughter will be able to stop working, since COBRA coverage should last the rest of her life. But what a broken system this is, that requires her to worry about health insurance in the time she has left.


troutbirder said...

My best friends daughter (age 43) is in exactly the same situation. Unconscionable hardly covers it...:(

Gina said...

Oh, so sorry to hear about this, and it makes me sad. Cancer is such a terrible thing. I agree with your thoughts on insurance. The reason I put off going to the doctor in Feb. when I had pneumonia was because I was waiting to hear that my new insurance was approved and I was covered. As soon as I got that news, I went to my doctor...and landed in the hospital. There have been media stories lately about how expensive cancer treatment is, and how some oncologists are rebelling and not prescribing the most expensive drugs if other less expensive alternatives are available.

I had an older friend in 2011 who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It had spread to his liver already by the time he was diagnosed. He and his wife discussed the chemo options, and I offered to accompany them to the treatments. He told me that the chemo would add maybe 5 months to his life and the quality of that life would not be good. So, he opted to refuse the chemo. He lived another 4 months after that decision, on increasing doses of painkillers. His wife kept him at home for as long as she could before moving him to hospice care where he died a couple days after moving in. I'll never forget his courage in facing this challenge and the decision he made. He was totally at peace at the end.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Our system really is messed up...and this young woman is one of the "lucky" people who actually has health coverage. It's both sad and outrageous when a person has to hope they don't outlive their coverage.