Sunday, October 10, 2004
Insure Gratitude
With her beautiful brown hair freshly cut short and a warm smile on her face, the lovely women walked quite carefully to the blue reclining chair in the corner of the room. With two of her family members accompanying her, slowly she told the story of a new baby in the family, her speech obviously impacted by some form of advanced muscular disease. The baby was certainly something to celebrate and no doubt the explanation for the smile on her face. What a beautiful distraction from the fact that she was at the oncology office, preparing for chemotherapy.

I wish I had introduced myself and learned her name - her story touched me deeply and, once again, reminded me of all I have for which to be thankful. There are many faces in the chemo room – I scan the room each time I visit, wondering what each person is thinking or feeling, and praying silently that they have hope in their hearts. Is someone cheering them through this? Have they been fortunate enough to have the blessings of faith, love, and the unconditional support of a family who would walk through fire for them? God, I hope so.

On that particular day, though, I was reminded of another blessing: health insurance. As I sat there I could not help but overhear the nurse explain how they were trying to find a way to help this patient since they knew she could not afford Neulasta, the shot that helps your body make more white blood cells to help protect against chemotherapy-related complications like infection. At this point I was overwhelmed with emotion, and with tears streaming down my face I kissed Jeannette on the cheek and told her I’d be back to pick her up later . . . being concerned about my tears was the last thing Jeannette needed.

This beautiful woman, already struggling with another disease and now facing a different challenge with cancer, did not have the insurance or personal funds to cover the approximate $2,500 cost for this much-needed medication. That day my eyes were opened to a new world – a world I have never experienced, and a world I struggle to understand. So, from that moment forward, I added health insurance to my long list of blessings. First, I thank God that Jeannette’s employer provides excellent coverage, coverage that has resulted in top-notch care. Secondly, on those days when I wonder, as many people do, if the grass might be greener elsewhere, I remind myself of the excellent insurance and other benefits I have from my employer. I thank that lovely women for this lesson, and I will continue to hold her in my heart, trusting that she will receive the treatment she needs. Indeed, I have found yet another reason to be grateful. Won’t you join me?

Written by Joyce
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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