Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanks For This Particular December!

I am so thankful and grateful for this December!  This is the first December in 5 years that I am not recovering from something!....Either chemo or surgery!  THANK YOU!

It's my kids birthdays...23...:) is going well...and I am at peace...and crazy thinking about the possibilities of the future :)!

To all of you out there this holiday season when things may not look so good....there is hope ...11 abdominal surgeries....4 chemos...etc etc etc...keep going...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lets Keep Medicare Strong for Our Elderly and Disabled!

I must tell you I believe in Medicare for our seniors!  However fraud is costing us billions of dollars.. to the point where the age for eligibility could be raised to as much as 70 years old!

So please take moment to write your government reps and let them know to make it a priority to clean up the fraud in medicare and let us take care of our seniors and our disabled!  It does not have to be like this!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cancer and Dating

This post is dedicated to my friend in the fight who asked me to write about this here I go.

This is a huge and complicated subject...I am single...I was not for a long time however I am now.  Blunt is the best way to be in this conversation. 

In general I think you have to be very thick skinned in dating with cancer. Dating is crazy enough however with cancer the rejection is you have to be prepared to meet someone that you may like...they find out that you have cancer and they will fast as they can.  However you are still you and you may not like the person you go out is the same game just seems bigger...:).

Frankly what are your goals in dating...seriously...are you looking to fall in love...just be in like and have sex...or just have some free dinners?  I had a friend many years ago that has since passed away...however she was quite up front about just wanting to have sex before she passed away...and she did ...lots...she met a man ....they became friends and until a few weeks before she died, she was really enjoying herself.  So I think in dating we may want to think about our level of involvement and what ever you can emotionally and physically handle is good.

And what your issues are with your body...I have a prior post on sex and cancer...take a look at it.

When do you tell someone that you have cancer...the minute you meet?  On the date?  No joking here...Many years ago...maybe 2002 I actually had a man google me and break our date because of cancer....there is no privacy today...none..I am so glad he did that ..the date would have been horrible.

I have been very fortunate in my battle with cancer.  I have one huge line that goes down the front of my body...and a couple of little scars...I look totally normal...I run would never know to look at me what I have been through.  I am thankful for this everyday.  However there are people with cancer where their bodies are totally changed forever and I think that brings quite bit more into the picture.  I can not speak to that as I have not experienced it.

I would say that some of this must be left up to God and fate...not all of us are going to meet someone again and fall in we must learn to love ourselves and carry on without that significant other....and we can and do very well at that.

I must tell you that I fell very much on love right on the middle of cancer...he was much younger than me and we had a blast.  We were together for 7 years.  And one day he just left was a mixture of many things however cancer was one of we just move forward everyday...and adventurous...take never know who will come along...however unless you do will never know :)

I am dating again...I am in remission however something could pop up at any minute.  I know that..and anyone who meets me has to deal with this issue in my will always be I am leaving it up to fate and God...if I meet someone...great...if not...that is OK too...I think dating can be over rated and we just have to have the best lives that we can with or without someone....hard to accept but we must!   I hope this is helpful to you my friend!  Be open and you never know!

More Underwriting Information

Lastly I just want to add (read prior post) ...that are many issues involved with underwriting..for example..

You had breast cancer over two years ago with no lingering neuropathy medical issues what so may qualify for long term care insurance...however you may have to wait up to 5 years for life insurance...

As far as individual health insurance it may be impossible to get anything....for 5 years...

As I say always the best thing to do is to sit down with a very experienced agent and never move forward at the first your homework...ask lots of questions!

Medical Underwriting for Insurance Purposes

I am interrupting the flow due to a request from a long time reader that sent me a host of questions that I can only answer here.

You know in applying for any insurance that you must go through underwriting. This is when the insurance company requests your medical records for as much as five years back to see if you can qualify for the insurance that you are applying for.  This could be health, life, disability, and/ or long term care insurance.

The underwriting is different for all of them and it depends on the company regarding how strict their guidelines are for qualifying for the insurance. Here are some tips to possibly ease this process.

1.  If you do not need that medication...Do Not Take the Prescription!!!   Prescription Drugs can ruin the underwriting process!  I have seen so many doctors just write a prescription just in case you need it...Example....for pain...vicoden...etc...this one drug can deny you any insurance!  Be careful the drugs that you casually accept and take only once a over the counter as long as will save your records!  Some docs give out drugs like candy...

2.  Have an intelligent conversation with your medical professionals regarding the wording in your medical records....these records follow you forever.... and ever...

3.  There are different types of underwriting...some insurances underwrite for death (Life Ins)...some for disability (long term care/disability) to a professional about the guidelines never know...

I have insured many people over the years that are survivors...they just have to fit the guidelines from the insurance company which I will generally discuss in the next post.  If you are currently ill there is nothing that you can qualify for. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Preparing to See the Doctor ...the Day Before

This is the day before you officially become a cancer may have just had a surgery, a scan, or a bi bopsy (like in my Big Fat Greek Wedding..the of the best lines)....a biopsy....and you do not know a thing...until tomorrow...

How do you prepare for that appointment?  In reality this is the appointment that you can not emotionally prepare for however can still do a lot....

I will never forget my first "cancer appointment".  My OB/GYN was a mess and my surgeon/oncologist was a mess as well...he had just come down as a teacher to my OB/GYN because my one tumor was in such a crazy place...she wanted a bit of one ever thought that this would be rare.

She had a tear in her eye and his head was down..After they told me the news,  I established my routine that would follow me unknowingly for years to come...I would hear bad news and then leave the room to collect my thoughts and emotions and come back the next day.  I thought I would have this one tumor removed and go on my merry way....little did I know that the fun was just beginning!

To not go alone...have someone to share wonderful news with and the same goes for bad news..have someone with you that you can count on to be level headed and not say stupid things.

Bring a pad and may have a million questions after the doctor speaks and you will remember none of those answers due to emotional stress. 

Many cancer centers today give tours on the day of your first appointment...just like a hotel :)....(a little is necessary)..go on the will learn a lot about how things work there .  Every Cancer Center is different.  More tomorrow about your first appointment.

How To Organize Your Healthcare

There are 419 posts here.  That seems a little crazy!  I never knew how long that I would actually get to do this...or how much that I would actually have to say....a lot...cancer provides you with a lot to say.  And many folks that e mail me privately make me keep going :).

So as of today I am changing the structure of this blog...My e book keeps getting longer as I have organizational issues..for the next 90 days this blog is all about organizing your healthcare...It is a new year.

Next post is ...."Treating Your Healthcare Like Business 1"...and so on....Come read and learn a tip everyday about something having to do with practical tips on how to get the most out of your journey through cancer or whatever illness you have....

I have posted a lot about this in the past ..just not very it will be....if you have a question please ask here ...most of the comments I receive are deleted due to someone trying to sell something here salespeople here please...go get your own blog...:)

If you like what I am posting please send it to may help them.

Let's start the new year organized and ready to fight :) for your all kinds of ways :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Survivor Guilt and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  There are 3 components to illness...number one are the physical issues of being sick.   Number two is learning how to deal with the outside world in a new way and number three is learning how to deal with your self mentally as well.

Many long time survivors suffer from PTSD and survivor guilt.  I must admit to not ever feeling guilty about being here however PTSD...I have experienced...

Regarding guilt......

    Instead of feeling guilty about being here I just made my mind up to be grateful...and being here on earth is a lot of work.  I believe in God and if I am here I guess whatever I am supposed to be doing here is not done yet.  So I have no guilt about being here.  I just work hard to have life in order the best that I can.  Try it...granted this is a no nonsense approach...I am a no nonsense person.   I have empathy and sympathy for everyone however there comes a time when we all just have to "do it"...even in illness. 

Regarding PTSD

   My humble opinion is that this is much bigger than guilt over being alive.  Being a soldier in battle is much more difficult however we are soldiers as well in battling cancer.  I have vivid memories of so many happenings in my medical world..Maybe you need professional counseling.  I believe in that.

I can still feel so many things as if they were still happening.  My memories are sharp and intense if I let them be.  My way of dealing with this is simple...I let the memory in and then I replace it with a wonderful one in the exact place where I was..even if it was in the hospital...for me it might want to try it...

For example...11 years ago I was in the hospital on lung collapsed due to a chest port being inserted.  I had the lung tube...a chest port for chemo and a stomach port as well.  It was the very beginning of this crazy journey...during this time a volunteer in the hospital took me up to an employee patio on the top floor and we looked at Christmas lights was like breaking out of jail ..outside breathing in the fresh air...totally against the rules..:)...I have done lots of stuff like this...:)

So I choose to remember that...and not dwell on the ugly stuff....remember the good stuff in is there...I know.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Out On the Ledge

It's the Holidays...this is for all of those folks that may not be in the best mood.  If you are reading this blog it is because you have some kind of relationship with Cancer and or illness....and you may need some help.  Keep reading.  I write and help people all of these 11 years because it helps me cope as well.  Thinking about you and not me... makes me feel better...because I am not thinking about myself...and I enjoy helping.  It makes me feel here are some hints to feeling better if you are out on the ledge...

If you are feeling really ill the help of a professional. If you are just sitting looking out and your feet are is time to change the way you think...even in illness. 

1.  If the holidays are bothering you something different...could be something little or something big...what is on your bucket list..grab someone and go do it. 

2.  Laugh...a lot...go somewhere where you will laugh and get away from those folks that bring you laughing will influence those around you to laugh as well...

3.  Get out of your head...this may sound crazy however a lot of cancer patients think it is all about them...I can say this because I am a cancer patient as much as I hate to say this. And when the focus if off of the patient things get much more relaxed...The focus can be on you ...but you have to let it go when you can and just live...forget cancer when you can and move forward.....if you are physically able keep moving forward...with you first and cancer are still you ...

4.  Your body is not the enemy....I have talked about this before...In illness there is a huge disconnect between your mind and body...You want your body to be well and it is not cooperating....go do great things for your body if you are able....get a massage..a touched in a positive way...any way that you can...even if it is someone just holding your hand.

5.  Tell important people that you love them...tell is a reminder of how deeply you still feel about them...have them feel those feelings as well...I believe telling people how you really feel makes them better as not miss special moments.

6. Get organized...those papers piled up on your will feel better if your paper life is in order...get someone to help you.

Sitting on the ledge is just long as you need it...go back and forth...come in every so often and keep moving forward....enjoy the view, breathe deeply, and bask in the sun :).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

I have had 11 abdominal surgeries....and so many etc' this is what I am thankful for this year in particular... since 2001...

I am thankful that I can eat...anything that I want.
I am thankful that my body is still my temple...although sometimes I feel like I need an oil change :)
I am thankful that I still have lots of head on my hair and eyelashes as well...
I am thankful that I have enough energy to keep up with most everyone.
I am thankful that I can still see the future...with me actually in it...I hope this part continues for the rest of the year...and 2013..

The future...with me in it...

Happy Healthy Thanksgiving to one and all....a little peace and good health...and laughter :)

Make Believe

I was told once a long, long time ago by a very successful business person...that I should "fake it" until I make the most truthful way...just make believe that I am already successful and I will be....I believe this...

I have been doing it in my personal life for a very long time....and it works for me...

In times when I am sad...I make believe that I am happy...

In times when I am lonely...I think about all of the fabulous people around me.

In times when I have been ill...I close my eyes and imagine myself...walking, running, or dancing and I have always felt better...

So if you are one of those people this holiday season having any bad feelings about anything...the longer you can really make believe and take action with your belief....things may just change...and more quickly than you think...God Bless and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What You Can Do for Yourself this Week

It is the end of the year ....remember if you have a deductible on your health insurance and it is satisfied...this may be the time to do those medical things that you are now 100% covered for....

If you do not understand how your deductible works and how you are covered review this with that you get the best value from your plan!

On January 1st everything starts all over again!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Very Important Point About Medicare

Those of you picking medicare for the very first time.....REMEMBER....if you choose an Advantage are stuck with it...

If you then decide to go off the Advantage Plan at a later date and decide that you want to go the supplement will  have to go through underwriting to be approved. Understand this.

Advantage Plans are HMO style....the supplements are more PPO or POS style.  With supplements you have more freedom however it is much more expensive.

With Advantage Plans they are HMO...much cheaper and you need permission to do many things if you become ill.

Discuss this with a professional...not someone on the phone and choose wisely.

Of course with Obama Care coming things may change...for now ...this is the way it works.  Open enrollment ends on Dec 7th.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Moonstruck and Movin On

Have you seen the movie "Moonstruck" with Cher and Nicolas Cage?  I love this movie...there is a part in it where she slaps him and says "Snap Out of It!!!!"...ok...I am done...had my bit of memories and now I am done for the week...:)

As much as so many people seem to say...."the past is just that..the past"...and it really is...we still take our past with us where ever we go...and it is how we place it that counts...

Are we using the past to propel us forward or using it to stay stuck in the mud?  I allow myself those "stuck" moments only because I know that I will snap out of it and move on...can you do that even in cancer?  You can...however you can work have to....

You have to... because you are still here and possibly you have this huge life waiting for you ...and unless you continue to move will not see it...feel it...or touch it.....or embrace it...

So you must embrace it before it even friends that are ill this season....this is the first time in 4 years that I have not had a surgery during this time...and I am so healthy it is scary...just plain scary at the thought of having this huge life...

And always scary that cancer may take it in spite of having something that  may be taken away in a day...we me...all must live.. everyday...I know you get it...I think just like you all of the time...I just do not write about it very often...

This blog has been on the Sarcoma Alliance for years.  The Sarcoma Alliance makes sure that Sarcoma patients have money for 2nd opinions that can save their lives by seeing the proper doctor.....looking to donate and save a life?  This might be it ....Lots of love my friends..

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 and the Moon

The Holidays are coming...the time of year when people either feel very grateful, peaceful, joyous....angry...and or hateful...or sometimes all of the above...I am honest...I feel all of it...I am human and can not feel grateful all the time :).  I do try.

We seem to reflect these months more than others.  We miss certain people more because we are reflecting on the past and planning for the future.  I believe with cancer patients and other people with disease...these feelings good or bad are magnified a few times over.

So for some reason today I started reflecting and remembering...I am going to cut this out shortly :)...Maybe it is because the Hostess company closed and I was thinking of those Twinkie memories :).

I have had leiomyosarcoma since 2001.  I started thinking of all the LMS people that I have met over all of these years.....and all the general cancer people...that have helped me and that I have helped.  I am seem to want to honor those folks long gone and I miss so many people that filled my life in such a wonderful way.  Cancer sucks...plain and just sucks....but I am still grateful..most of the time.

I also miss my family this time of year...My kids' Dad...I will always miss them and how they filled my house with joy.  I miss my dog big white, shaggy crazy dog...we called her Mini Moo....her name was Maggie...I still look at her picture and I cry...not too often...:)

I miss my house.  I had to sell it due to being ill for so long...I miss my bathroom and the skylight in it while I took a shower...I miss my windows where I could see the mountains.  I miss my front porch where I would have coffee with the hummingbirds. I miss space...peace..and no traffic noise...I miss many of the people that used to be in it.

And I walk miles...especially when the moon is out.  I look up and I feel like all of the people that I love are looking at it as well...whether you are on this earth or up in heaven.  I get to be with you while we all look at the half?  Full?  Quarter?  It is the most beautiful Moon.

I wish you all whether patient, caregiver, family or friend the best holiday season possible....filled with love and peace.  I look forward to the future always...I plan ...I love...and I live...I hope you do as well as best that you can!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thank You

I just need to say this....thank you to my real friends that remind me everyday ....even when I just want to scream....that I am going to be ok in mind, spirit, and physically as well.

To those friends that never ran away from me in my worst physical and mental states...thank you.  I do not know what I would have done without you.  You saved me at a couple of very dark moments.

I am so happy that you stayed with me to watch me come back...and then some.  We are going to have some fun..:)

To those that ran the other way and never came back....I get it somewhat...but not...I do not run from people...ever....I stick it out...I learn...I do not run...if I leave I say good bye and I explain why I am leaving.  And if I do not come back....they understand...or not :)

I also know that some people are here for a time and then they are gone....and that is just life....and new folks may pop in and out...quickly...

Cancer just makes everything a bit more sensitive for so many reasons...That is another post..

So all of us...let's be aware of how we deal with the sensitivity of cancer in our running away you learn nothing about just run...and the negative feelings magnify or get so forced down into your soul that it effects everything in your always have to let the feelings get better..

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Is In This Blog

I am heading towards 16,000 views.  It seems like everyone still likes the emotional posts best.  "When I Had No Hair" has over 325 views.  "Multiple Personality Disorder and Time"  has almost as many as well.

"Tips On Health Insurance" is catching up.  No surprise there.  Many folks I know lately with Sarcoma are really struggling and often I do not know what to say.  So I guess my own craziness from time to time in my blog hopefully helps.  I will try to post about my craziness as much as possible :)  ...And about the normalcy of my own life as well...even in the craziness......

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jill...and Why Cancer Can Be So Random

Jill...this post is dedicated to you.  I love you and you are peace finally after so much struggle...non stop struggle for years and how much can one person deal with??!!  You dealt with it all with grace, power, strength, spirit...always fighting...until you just could not anymore.  Cancer never gave you a break really.  You did the best that you could...the monster was too strong this time.

Jill did everything...diets...surgeries, chemos...on and on and on...she had the best doctors...and did everything right....I can not ask why anymore...I only must think that when it is your time to is your time and there is not much that you can do about it....even the miracles when they happen...I just think they were meant to happen...

I love you Jill and now you are an angel....may you watch over us and keep us safe...and I hope you are hangin with your Dad up there!  Lots of love always. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why Paying Doctors Less Money that Accept Medicare is Just Stupid!

Please write your representative a letter and tell him/her that the first order in business as part of Health Care is to get rid of the fraud in medicare.  If we could do that this program would be fully funded and there would be no issues except how to make medicare better for our seniors.

One of the ways that medicare tries to save money is to pay our doctors less money every year to care for our seniors.  This makes the really good doctors drop medicare all together and our seniors are left to the care of possibly not so fabulous healthcare professionals. 

Many doctors will accept medicare and still charge you as well depending on the plan you have chosen. There are many doctors that stick with medicare out of the goodness of their hearts...look for those.

Why You Should Not Be Afraid of Obamacare

I am not Democrat or Republican...I am an independent.  As a cancer survivor that has had 11 abdominal surgeries...many chemos...etc I know a thing or two about our healthcare system and how it works.  I just want to make a couple of points.  You are are always welcome to tell me how you feel as well as long as you are trying to sell something here as many people seem to want to do...cut it out...

If you read my prior post about why healthcare is so expensive you will know that health insurance companies comprise a big portion of our gross national product.  If that were to disappear into socialized medicine...our economy would surely collapse...even more. No one is going to let that happen including our President.

There will always be private healthcare plans.  They will be for people that can afford them as usual and that can buy them when they are healthy.  There are about 6 health insurance lobbyists for every Congress you think these companies are going anywhere??

Employer based healthcare is one of  the biggest reasons so many middle class people loose their health insurance and go broke.  You are working...then you get sick and you can't loose your insurance.....then you go on cobra...which costs over double than what you were paying when you were working...and you are sick..and you can not pay any of your bills...then your cobra runs out and you have no insurance!!!!!!  This is not ok....this is not American.  This is not the way our country takes care of its people.

We need some form of Obamacare to take care of people when they have no's a pretty simple concept....Your private health insurance is not going anywhere....they are too big and too powerful and too important to our economy.

My next post is how ever Obamacare and democrats can do better for our doctors and medicare.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Life and Death....

This post is dedicated to you young woman.  I will miss you.  You are strong and resilient...and cancer never gave you a break for years and yet...

You fought so hard and smiled most of the way through it.  And your life went on in surgery after surgery and chemo.....and you kept smiling and fighting and made your life go on.

And then one day you could not fight anymore because there was nothing left to you went home...and to face the next transition.....the hardest of all because you are so young....and so much of your life has not been lived.

Every time I hear this... part of me just does not get it....why you and not me....why me and not I have have thought about this from time to time.

I have seen by now hundreds of people that is why I keep typing...for those that had to leave and those of us still here..sometimes I do not know what else to do.

So go with God and I hope that I see you again someday....I just adore you.

We Want New Procedures...drugs...etc

If you read the prior post, one of the reasons why healthcare is so expensive is because we want new everything to help as live longer...drugs....procedures...etc.  This is the first reason that I would like to address.  Many of them are intertwined actually so I may discuss a couple of others as well.

What is progress in medical care?  This is very complicated as we all want to live longer almost any way possible.  As a cancer patient we want to buy as much time as possible....even when we know our time is running out.  All of this has a huge impact upon our healthcare system.

Our doctors and patients are walking a fine line between giving patients quality of life and knowing when it is really time to stop treatment and leaving this earth in peace....that line becomes crazier everyday.  Sometimes there is no right answer.

This is so because we never know what miracle will happen and that person stays here a long, long, time with a good quality if life...however needing so much care.  I have also found through over 11 surgeries in 11 years...that you never know what is in there until you actually go in....and here I sit totally normal and enjoying my life.  You can look at me and never know what I have been through.  Each case is different.  As we find more and more medical procedures to do to ourselves....there is no rule book.  it becomes vague.

And here is the mess.....what do insurance companies pay for and what not....what happens when new medical procedures and drugs that can save a person's life has not made it through the maze and  not supported by the insurance companies....those people are just left to pass away before their time?

No easy answers...none at all.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

7 Reasons Why Healthcare is so Expensive

These reasons that I will post are not my reasons however I will give my opinion on each one in future posts.  They are from the PBS Newshour  as reported by Julie Appleby.  They are from a Washington Think Tank.  They are quite telling for our future.

We spend more on healthcare than any other country in the the world.  Here are some issues that need review and nothing about this is easy as it involves in some cases life and death.

1.  We are getting older, sicker, and fatter...therefore we spend more on everything.

2. We want new drugs, technologies,services, and surprise there..trying to stay alive as best we can and as long as we can.

3. We do not have enough information to make good decisions on which healthcare is best for us....also no surprise here...everything gets more complicated everyday..

4.  Our hospitals and other providers are increasingly getting more of the market share and able to demand  higher prices...this is not even including the cost of long term care services.

5.  Supply and demand problems, legal issues, that complicate efforts to slow spending.

6.  We pay our doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers more for not being efficient.

7.  We get tax breaks in some cases as an employer for providing health insurance to workers....please do not get me started on this one...well later..:)

You can google this full article and see how this battle for good health care in America is more than difficult...more on the reasons tomorrow.


I do not go to therapy.  I have in the past however I feel pretty good these days.  However I know that I have done much of my therapy here with you all..over 15,000 of you.  So today I am very angry at someone and I have to work it I am going to do it here with you.

I am not sure what just happened here.  I am very angry at you.  I think this is God's way of yet again telling me to take care of myself and not give a crap about you.  I should have listened.  I was doing so well and I still am however I did not need all of those emotions and hopes of resolving some much needed stuff in my life to come back up and haunt me yet again.  And I let it.  And I own that.

I must realize that not ever resolving an issue is ok as may just never resolve and I just have to live with it...not just live with it but really process it and know that it is gone.  I have to release it to the past.  This is a hard thing to do.  It takes practice and work...and love of yourself and respect of your precious time.

So here yet again I have to let you really go.  This means me growing up even more...and here I thought for a moment that I was at a peak...only to walk back down into the valley and come back up to a new and higher ledge.  So here I am....and here I go.

Only up...while you are so stuck.  Always stuck in a sea of dysfunction.  Do not stay there. I hope this for you....that you do not stay there.