Sunday, April 19, 2009

I got this

Whew. Life has been really busy lately and I've been lacking the time for thoughtful updates. This could be due the lack of diet coke (it has inspirational powers) in my diet or it could be the insane 50-60 hour weeks I've been putting in consistently.

But here's an update: I can work 60 hours a week! I can do it, rage on the weekend, and still get up on Monday morning. My life-endurance is getting stronger every week. This is exciting. Can you imagine what life will be life when I get to STOP taking chemotherapy drugs every week? Can you imagine?

My health is generally good.

What has me down lately is health insurance. I got my financial aid summary from Berkeley and I'll be taking out a shit ton of unsubsidized loans. I can live with this. My conundrum right now is what to do about my health insurance.

To break it down:
-I have BCBS PPO coverage through work with a 2 million dollar cap. Through COBRA I can keep this sweet coverage for 18 months after I leave my job at the bargin price of $600/month

-I can purchase graduate student health insurance from the school which is also BCBS PPO (with approval from their health center), but its lifetime cap is only 400K.

-400K is more that enough to get me through the end of my treatment, but not sufficient to cover a bone marrow transplant should I relapse.

-I am not/will not be eligible for Medi-Cal which is California's medicaid

So the question is: do I risk it? Do I sink $11,000 into health insurance premiums so that I will be covered to 2 million for the 18 months after I leave my job? Or do I just say, "fuck it," and go with my gut instinct which is that I am not going to relapse?

Thinking about relapse and contingency plans is a fucking downer.

This is the only thing about cancer that makes me cry. Not my stupid new curly hair that I'm beginning to hate, not having to get spinal taps, not my current insurance, but Insurance as a paradigm. In attempting to deal with practical questions about how I'm going to deal with the next few years, I get caught up in bigger questions that make me feel depressed:

Like, I still don't know if I even believe in treatment for cancer. Objectively, I don't think the bajillions of dollars of research and energy we sink into treating people who are going to die is really the greatest idea. All the toxic chemicals we're synthesizing to put in to people... all the waste, waste, waste that is a byproduct of treatment and research (billions and billions of individually wrapped sterile widgets in 6 layers of plastic)... all because we can't gracefully accept that we have poisoned our water, soil, and air and that our cells are continuing to evolve without out permission. We live in a society obsessed with controlling nature, our bodies, and the future... to the point that we've sealed our fate and we're going to kill off our own species. What's the effing point? I'm a cheerful fatalist. I'm disturbed by the way our species has chosen to interact with its envrionment and the level of cruelty and selfishness that pervades. The ultimate retribuition of nature is one of the only truths that makes sense to me.

You'll be happy to know that subjectively I'm thrilled to be alive and thrilled that so many people I love are alive and living productive lives post-cancer. I drank the Koolaid. Or in this case, I took the conventional chemo (the result of 50+ years of Leukemia research). Despite my belief that we're hurtling towards the end times, I enjoy my life. I'm happy. I cook food. I go to yoga. I love my friends. I flirt with cute men. I drive in my fossil fueled car down the I-5 pavement wasteland to see my family in Oregon. It's a pleasant existence.

I don't pressure myself to reconcile these two opposing viewpoints and I don't enjoy harping on them too much, but the point is that I can't just think about insurance without getting into all this extential crap and it makes me very stressed out.

Fuck insurance.


Daria said...

Wow great post ... you have covered so many important points ... thoughts and feelings.

The decisions are never easy.

Bekah said...

I thinkkk you might know what my answer will be. And, even though this is all a bitch -- because, yes, health insurance IS a bitch.

It's good that you're at least thinking about it now. Trying to figure it all out -- so you can enjoy school in the fall, and nothing else.

Cover that ass Jessie. In my heart, I know there's not a relapse in your future. But, my advice: stay safe. just in case.

Love you beautiful,


Scary said...

Keep on fighting Jessie! You have a great story and glad to have found ya out on the web!

I'm with the 'Im Too Young For This!' cancer organization for young adults! Our motto is 'Stupid Cancer!'

Your not alone in your thoughts and issues. It's sad that as young adults we have to struggle with the issue of insurance. I hope that we can change that some day.

Keep up your fight! You are inspiring!

If your looking for more young adults to talk with, check out our website and on facebook @

Stupid cancer!

Anonymous said...

hey there, i love your blog. i think you are amazing. 'nough saig. tangentially, on the nonexistent chance that you relapse, couldn't you take a leave of absence and get on medicaid at that point? just have your mom/best friend/etc. open a second account now for you that you have total access to with your money and staffords in it so that you yourself are never over the minimum (in ny, $2000; don't know if that is national). also, i don't know what the look-back is for medicaid in cali but maybe research this. it would seem that $400k would be enough to tide you over while you bitch-slapped the cancer into remission before an sct (you would then qualify for medicaid for the sct, should the worst case scenario happen, which it won't. is this over-the-top? i was on something called family health plus (medicaid-ish) in nyc while i was in a graduate program. nothing like this in cali? -freakish, admirer

Anonymous said...

i meant to say 'nough said, btw