Friday, December 11, 2009

What Health Care Reform Means to Me

If the polls are right, Americans are evenly divided on the issue of health care reform. What we know about the contentious issue, like any major social change, is the debate is not likely to be resolved to the agreement of every citizen.  When all the debate settles down and a final law is passed, the end result will be evaluated not on the basis of public opinion but how well the new law works.

And how this legislative plan works is to be determined by individual experience and life stories like yours and mine.

For me, no consideration of this political hot potato can be given without accounting for my nearly-four-year saga with a life-threatening illness.  That account you have followed on MyJournal.

In March 2006, I contracted one of the most aggressive forms of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). We never obtained lasting remission from some 16 different chemo treatments while waiting for a unrelated donor stem cell transplant (MUD SCT), the only medical procedure that offers hope of a cure for MCL.

The SCT was completed on August 22, 2007 at City of Hope, Duarte, a world-renowned cancer research and treatment center. On the 44th day post transplant results of a PET scan were negative (cancer gone!) and we also received the DNA test results -- the SCT was successful. Meanwhile, until Nov. 30, 2007, I was restricted to home confinement for the first 100 days of recovery.

Now well into my second year cancer-free, we can observe that recovery was steady but slow with some skin rash (GVH), but on Feb. 25, 2008, I returned to work on a part-time basis. Then, in late-July 2008, I returned to work on a full-time basis. But the MCL returned in July 2009 and a month later I started TomoTherapy (radiation) that was successful. We are back on medical leave until March 2010.

Due to the continuing challenge of managing treatment and recovery from this disease, I am all but certain to seek early retirement next March, although I am not 62 until June 2010. The issues of affordable health insurance for someone in my condition and with my history are obvious. The early Medicare option seems to be a practical and affordable option for me and my wife at this juncture in our lives.

That's why I am supporting a health care reform plan that takes into account that there may be thousands, probably millions of U.S. citizens like me who need the coverage right now!  Sometimes, adequate health insurance is not just a choice, it is a necessity.

For obvious reasons, I am also an advocate for adequate government and private support for cancer centers like City of Hope. I would not be alive today without their intervention and I stress that whatever happens about health care reform, there must be provision to fund and support centers of this type with the technology and services that have saved lives and will continue to do so as long as funding is available.  Am I asking for too much?

Los Angeles Times - ‎9 Dec 2009‎
The notion that the Senate healthcare bill might have suddenly expanded its base of political support quickly took hold Wednesday. ...
all 6,616 news articles » Browse all of today's headlines on Google News


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