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.