Health Insurance: Consumer Good

Deadline-ClockAfter an 11th hour extension, today’s the day on which all, well most, Americans are supposed to be enrolled in a health insurance plan. And as a million users are trying to access a hopefully functional website, here’s my take on health insurance.

There’s been social media buzz about health care/health insurance costs, value, and the choices we make, and a general pondering about what these new exchange plans will actually provide. We’re reluctant to pay for health care, especially if we are young and well and believe in our own immortality. Though we gladly pay for vacations, we resent paying for health insurance. We don’t complain about the rising costs at Disneyland the way we do the rising costs of a PET scan or a prescription drug. And of course it makes sense – we work hard, if we can work at all, and the American Dream teaches that we should have some joy in life. When paying to stay alive is all we can do, resentment/frustration/anger follows naturally.


Our Seat at the Table

seat-at-the-tableThis is going to be one of those posts that’s going to get me in hot water. That’s ok – I’ve been there before!

This week is the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, perhaps the largest and most noteworthy of them all from which emanates some of the biggest Breast Cancer headlines. The magnificent Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation provides a truly INCREDIBLE service to advocates (even above and beyond their scholarship program) by bringing together top people to summarize the day’s headlines. Tonight’s “mentor session” was live-streamed thanks to Dr. Jay K. Harness at

As always the presentations and questions were outstanding. One sparked a little discussion in the twitter feed.


The Antidote to Myriad & More

This is very much not my style! I like to do my research, make sure I’ve evaluated all angles, shore up the details, and THEN dive in with both feet. But today I don’t have time for that!

Last night my husband’s colleague Bonnie pulled me aside at dinner to tell me about an article she’d read in the local law journal. The room was crowded and I knew I wasn’t going to “get it” and so she offered to send me it to me. It just arrived. TWO amazing gifts from ONE amazing company: VIRATECH.

(Now, let’s hope that in my rush to share I don’t get this all wrong…)


Cleaning out the Cobwebs

I must admit, I have been neglectful of late and it’s gotten a bit dusty around here. As it is wont to do, life took over. The cobwebs aren’t just virtual, though – they are metaphorical as well; it’s pretty dang dusty inside me head of late! So here’s a quick update of what’s been keeping me busy:


National Breast Cancer Coalition

There are countless breast cancer “charities” out there…from beheamoth organziations of international scope, to local support centers active in our various communities. NBCC is of particiular note as a stand-out national advocacy organization supporting an agenda of finding a cure, and I proudly join them next month as we work to move that agenda forward! In addition to Joy’s wonderful overview of NBCC, there are some valuable & important links to related projects and efforts.

–by Joy Simha, NBCC Executive Committee

At The National Breast Cancer Coalition every bit of business we do begins with a moment of silence (MOS) to remember an incredible breast cancer advocate who has died since our last gathering. The MOS grounds us and reminds us about why we are there. And every day as I sit down to my desk to write, I look at the faces of all the women I know who have died of breast cancer. I also, in some cases, look at the faces of their children, because I know that I want to end breast cancer because they are without their mothers. More

There IS Something You Can Do…

The outpouring of love and support, from both my in-person and online communities has been so profound and I simply don’t have words for how touched I have been. Many have asked if there’s anything they can do. For the moment, we need your thoughts and prayers as we all find our “new normal.” But there is one thing you could do for me….

I’ve blogged before about the importance of research and the need to fill clinical trials, and as many of you know I spent my summer working on my first scientific peer review panel for the Department of Defense. And there is one certainty…we cannot cure this disease without evidence-based scientific research. And we cannot complete research studies without subjects. So if you’d like to do something for me (which is really for all of us), please follow this link now to the Love/Avon Army of Women site and sign up. All women are eligible, irrespective of breast cancer history. In signing up you are committing to read periodic emails about breast cancer studies. (You won’t be eligible for most of them.) You are not committing to participate in anything! If you’re eligible you will get more information to help you decide if you’d like to participate. Some studies are involved, and others require you swab your cheek. Your information is only shared with researchers once you indicate interest. It’s always up to you, but you just might be a part of the cure!

Pro Choice & Pro Life

Cancer coach and blogger Elyn Jacobs comments, “Yesterday I spoke with a woman with stage 1, wanted to treat her cancer naturally, opted out of surgery.” She goes on to talk about the challenge of finding a doctor who could HEAR and respond to the needs of the patient, rather than play their own scripts about treatment expectations.

Elyn’s comment reminded me of a the day when I had a new support group member. This lovely, older woman was the only “newbie” that afternoon, amongst a group of in-treatment and post-treatment women. When it was her turn to share, the woman told us that she had a lump. It had been there for about four years. Moreover, she had lost a mother and sister to breast cancer.

To say the other women in the group went on the attack would be an understatement. They were beside themselves, with responses that ranged from “How could you?” to “I’ll go with you….” It was all I could to fend them off. As facilitator, it was my job to honor this woman’s choice, even if her choice was not life.


The Arts of Doctoring and Patient-ing

“You’ll need to stop crying and start doing something. This is serious.”

THAT was my introduction to cancer. It was about 48 hours after my diagnosis and I was in the doctor’s office to schedule surgery. In the post-diagnostic haze I actually thought to have a lumpectomy with this man. The haze lifted the next morning, and when I realized that I could cry and act I cancelled my appointment and found another doctor. More

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