Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pissed (and I Don’t Mean Drunk)

Still life: angry iv bruise with tattoos

MaryAnne, Doris Ann, Mandi, Chris, Jody, Jill, Anna, Rachel, Rachael, Laurie, Karen, Suzanne, Debbie, Angie, Becky, Beth, Susan, Kathleen, Sylvia, Ellen, Nancy, Terry, Mary, Connie, Bette, Sharon, Maria… I could go on. These beautiful women and many more died in the last year. They were all a part of my large online support group for people with metastatic breast cancer. Just in my support group. My cancer compadres and I are mourning waves of death this spring. My short list does not begin to touch the numbers of the dead, to the tune of 113 every damn day.

Meanwhile, those of us living with MBC get to distract ourselves with the possibility of losing our human right to medical care because of our pre-existing condition which, I guess must be our faults, right?   

Don’t be fooled Drumpians, about how We the Pre-existing will be able to access benefits. I suppose if having metastatic cancer correlated with being part of the 1% then we’d have benefits galore, because we’d be able to afford them. But in the Drumpf plan, that “access” will be through high risk (read: very expensive) pools with ginormous deductibles and quite possibly lifetime insurance payment caps. People with the expensive diseases, like me (again, maybe my own damn fault?), might be shit-out-of-luck. The upshot will be death and more death. So many will lack the money to pay for procedures, visits, and exhorbitantly priced drugs. Our surviving spouses, parents, children will be left to sort out the bankruptcies, collection agencies, loss of homes. I’m not being particularly dramatic. This shit happens because an inhumane system in which healthcare is a privilege and not a human right (read anything by Paul Farmer; you’ll learn a lot) is on the cusp of becoming exponentially more inhumane. Does Drumpf worry about affording medical care for himself? Not so much.

I’m just pissed off. And I’m pissed off about being pissed off. Having a terminal disease makes a gal want to live day to day in some semblance of peace, contentment, and gratitude, along with the fear and stress that comes with being incurable. Grace, that is. We who are alive because we are inusred for our expensive medical care can no longer live in grace. In this new and awful era of Trump - a psychopathic, selfish, narcissistic, sexually harassing, child raping child-man, tweeting his displeasure to the world (tweeting!) like a 7th grade bully, peace in the every day is not possible.

I miss President Obama. I miss first lady Michelle Obama. I miss feeling proud that the first family was an example of integrity and intelligence.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I have scans to schedule and appointments with medical and radiation oncologists in early June, so we’ll see what changes and what stays the same. I’m really hoping to stay on my current chemo, because, well, because it’s “easy.” I really hope my brain lesions are stable or gone, so I can avoid another gamma knife session and more holes drilled into my head. I really hope, as I do every three months, that cancer hasn’t overtaken my body and brain and that there is nothing left to try. I feel both fairly confident and fairly terrified, as we all do when in the treat/scan/repeat pattern that tends to define our lives. Time is what we’re after, what we hope for.