Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Good news

McKinney Roughs 3-29-16

With my checkup yesterday, I’m entitled to celebrate 6½ years cancer-free.

It had been 13 months since my last checkup and my imagination worked me into a bit of a negative mood, exacerbated a tad by the fact I was breaking in a new urologist since my previous doctor retired last year.

She settled me down with the news my CAT scan showed nothing suspicious. She then conducted the usual cystoscopy and found everything in good shape.

I’ll go back in another year.

While I’m tickled pink by the report, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am.

We found the tumor in my bladder in the autumn of 2011 because my physician, during a routine examination, was concerned about the amount of blood in my urine. He sent me to a specialist and, in short order, the tumor was removed. We will continue monitoring for any return growths.

It’s not likely the story would have played out this way had I not been insured. Uninsured people don’t usually get wellness checkups and, yes, I speak from experience.

I thought about Donald Savastano, a 51-year-old self-employed carpenter in upstate New York.

Early this year, he won $1 million in the lottery. He said he planned to buy a new truck, maybe take a vacation and save the rest for his retirement. Also, he had not been feeling well recently but had not been to a doctor because he lacked insurance.

That doctor’s appointment led to the revelation Mr. Savastano had stage 4 cancer, affecting his brain and lungs. He died Jan. 26, twenty-three days after winning the lottery.

There is no assurance he would have been saved had he made regular checkups, but it would certainly have improved the odds.

I thought about Heather Holland, a 38-year-old second-grade teacher in Weatherford, Texas.

She died Feb. 4 due to complications from the flu. She had taken sick about a week earlier but had hesitated picking up a prescription because of its $116 copay.

Yes, she had insurance, but still felt she couldn’t afford the medicine. I understand that, too. The CAT scan my doctor ordered – the first since my cancer was first discovered – ran me about $3,000 because my insurance has a high deductible. My doctor said she wants to have another scan next year, but we might have a discussion about that, even though she insists it’s for my own good.

I don’t have to preach at you here.

Access to medical care should not be reserved for people with plenty of money.


7 responses to “Good news

  1. wherervgoing March 20, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Good to hear your good health news Steve, what a relief! I recently had my annual wellness check and even though not all was good (oops, Cholesterol out of hand and now on meds), I am thankful that the healthcare for military retirees we have, has made it manageable and affordable for us to stay up on our health issues on the road. I feel blessed as I know the state of healthcare for a lot in this country is non-existent and expensive.
    You can only get one scan per year? Can you squeeze it in before having to pay the deductible again? Just a thought… Looking forward to seeing you in just a few months!


    • Steve Martaindale March 20, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      I don’t know the answer to your question about getting a second scan before the new year; it’s something I thought of. However, I’m feeling now like I may just refuse the scan. My old doc never ordered one, but I need to do some research on the risk factors.

      We’re planning to park our RV there May 31, but we’ll be leaving (without the trailer) probably on Sunday, returning to start work about a month later. When are you planning to arrive?


  2. Judy Bochner March 9, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    We are very lucky to have good health insurance. Good health should depend on your zip code. There are better ways that aren’t that difficult to achieve.
    Cheers to you for a good checkup.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathy Williams March 9, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    I agree 100 percent and for pretty much the same reasons. So glad to hear you are well. Hugs to Leah.

    I can afford the scans and tests to keep me advised of my health.
    I am on Medicare. It costs me $110, $170 for supplemental,
    $65 for part D for drugs, $14 for vision, $38 for catastrophic care:$16 for dental care each month. That’s $413 a month. I am supposed to take a statin, which I don’t because even with insurance it’s close to $200 a month. Insurance does not pay for cough syrup, so I really had to think hard about whether it were worth $54 to be able to sleep when I had the flu this year.
    So bring on universal health care and stop drug, insurance and healthcare industries from charging an arm and a leg to save an arm and a leg.


  4. Mary March 9, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Great news! You guys must be breathing easier!
    You are correct about medical care–I have had to change meds for my diabetes and glaucoma because even with insurance they became too expensive,so once again I have to take chance on the new meds. Ah well, no one gets out of this life alive!


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