June 24, 2009

Surprise: Daughter's health insurance story up on barackobama.com

New Update: July 1 The story is back on the Obama site. Turns out it was missing from Saturday until 5 pm Wednesday. We don't know why.
health care day logokatie headshot
My daughter is full of surprises. But thanks to six months of chemo and surgery, my 25-year-old is no longer carrying cancer within. The upcoming 30 radiation treatments, eight more months of Herceptin and five years of daily Tamoxifen will try to maintain that status.

This week's surprise was learning she's been a long-time member of BarackObama.com and that she submitted her health care story.

She just learned her story is posted. She's sharing the link with many in hopes that folks will agree it is a tale hearthisdeserving to be heard and that change happens. (Please click on the icon at the end of her story if you agree after reading it.)

Learning her doctor was wrong - 24-year-olds can get breast cancer was a surprise. There was more. She writes:
"It's devastating to get the news of a disease or accident but even worse to get the bills in the mail and not being able to pay for them because of the disease.
Insurance surprises

She was surprised when she learned that having health insurance isn't always a good thing. That's why she faces a debt of more then $25,000 acquired unknowingly the first month after her diagnosis. It could have been more. And it will grow.

She was surprised to learn that having breast cancer means she'll probably always need to pay more for insurance. But the $580 monthly bill right now is worth every penny when you face treatments that cost three times that without insurance.

She was surprised to learn long-term disability insurance would not pay until after the first 12 weeks. That's the length of time allowed under the Family Medical Leave Act at which time you can choose to come back to work or end employment. Not that she opted to buy long-term disability insurance. What fresh-out-of-college graduate sees that as a need.

A mother's heart

My heart shattered the day I learned she had breast cancer.

My heart hurt when the treatment centers of her choice rejected her because of her insurance.

My heart ached when she learned that preapproval of a test or procedure does not mean the insurance company will pay for it.

The truth about healing

Some say time heals the heart. One of my daughter's favorite quotes (from Dr. Phil) corrects that thought.

"Time heals nothing. It is what you do with that time that matters."

My heart swells with pride as I watch her jump in to help otherbelieves with cancer by answering questions on the online cancer board.

My heart mends quietly as I watch her pound out an email to The Doctors after hearing one tell a woman in her 20s not to worry that a breast lump is cancerous.

My heart beats stronger watching my daughter choose advocacy and leadership instead of wallowing in pity.

I am not surprised that my 25-year-old uses her strengths and knowledge to discover, connect and take action.

Please read her story, click on the "people should hear this" button at the end of her tale. Send her a message on Facebook or myspace or here.

We should not need to choose poverty or life. She says:

"It's not someone's fault for an accident or getting cancer ... please work towards coverage for all."

P.S. When my daughter first shared the link with me, she reminded that it was written while she had "chemo brain." Be gentle.

I've written about Katherine's cancer battle before:
October 2008
November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009
March 2009

April 2009

May 2009
June 2009
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