Book Review: Everything Changes 📖

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Since my life converted to becoming a full-time sick person, I have wedged my nose in books as if I were studying for the bar exam.  Cramming every inch of knowledge that the books have to lend on cancer, I am becoming more aware of the disease and how other cancer patients, specifically young cancer patients have chosen to live with their life sentence.  Also, being that I am writing a book on my experience as well, I am considering it as research and development.

My latest book was Everything Changes, by Kariol Rosenthal; “The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20’s and 30’s.”  I was really eager about this read, as the title alone displays an affiliation that I have been longing for since my diagnosis, a relative passage to how other’s have dealt with being diagnosed with cancer at a young age, how they’ve chosen to defy it and how it has shaped their lives.

Rosenthal dives into the book by briefly describing her diagnosis at age twenty-seven, being an uninsured choreographer living in my favorite city, San Francisco.  Once she was diagnosed she came to the daunting realization that being a young cancer patient did not offer a lot of resources, options and/or awareness in general.  Much like myself, Rosenthal’s diagnosis was Stage IV, although a different type of cancer.  She outlines in the book how many young people in America are diagnosed at later stages, when the cancer is more aggressive because they either don’t feel the need to go to the Doctor as often as they rustle through the pains and pangs, or they don’t have insurance, therefore they avoid Doctor’s offices altogether.

Once Rosenthal primed on her disdained life transition through cancer, she made it her personal mission to meet with young cancer patients and survivors across America.  Meeting with a variety of men and women within their twenties and thirties, Rosenthal brought their journey’s to life on paper.  Each person had their own chronicle on how cancer has impacted their life, the issues they had with insurance or Doctor’s and the capacities in which they took to live their lives, despite their malignancy.  Sadly, there were a few people in which Rosenthal discussed in her book that died, which certainly brought a realness and rawness to her narrative.

The book was informative and chock full of resources of varying kinds related to cancer, caregivers, insurance, employment, unemployment, relationships, sex and dating and so on.  Overall I would give the book four stars.  I felt as though I could connect to each of the persons in which Rosenthal interviewed, as well as Rosenthal herself.  It helped me to better understand that cancer in your twenties and thirties is a real thing and unfortunately not uncommon, notwithstanding popular belief.  If you are looking for a candid capture on cancer and all that it brings about, this is a definite must read!

For further information on Kariol and Everything Changes, check out her website:  www.everythingchangesbook.com

Love,

Britt x

$ The Price of Life $

What is the price of life?  When one is living in the skin of death, how do you determine if they are worthy of health care?  By the amount of money they make, their race, overall demographic or geographic location?  When it comes to being ill, particularly cancer, it does not matter how you vote, your ethnicity or whether or not you prefer The Beatles or The Rolling Stones.  No, cancer and illness do not discriminate — so why should the Health Care Industry?

Trust me when I say, I am not attempting to get on my political soapbox by any means.  However, when it comes to life and death, correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn’t we all be treated as equals?  Aren’t we all deserving of health restoration if we have fallen ill?  I would certainly like to think so, but unless you have decent health insurance, how can one possibly undergo the maintenance to repair their health.  It’s not like we are talking about a vehicle, where the transmission is no longer in commission and the owner is not afforded the means to pay for it’s repair.  We are talking about human life, a living, breathing person whom is full of thoughts, a heart and in most best case scenario’s is a family member, a brother, sister, husband, wife, son or daughter, even perhaps a mother or father.

Just today Steve picked up the mail, a box I have been avoiding like the plague since my discharge from the hospital.  For I know that in between my few get well greeting cards will be a slew of medical bills, bills that Steve and I hadn’t planned on including into our finances for 2013.  But, then again, we also did not plan on including cancer into our lives either.

I should preamble this harangue by saying that I have Health Insurance and fantastic insurance at that.  Gratefully so, my medical bills are a fraction of what the actual cost of the bill is pre-insurance deduction.  A rough estimate on my fees so far is roughly $120,000.00 and that is as of July 1st, 2013.  I am two months into my cancer diagnosis and merely two weeks into my treatment.  With approximately six months left in chemotherapy care, what might the ending total possibly be?

Like I said, I am beyond fortunate to have excellent health coverage, but there is still a hefty price for the cost of my life.  I can’t help but think of the individuals who are not covered under any insurance plans and are forced to make life and death decisions based on “insuranomics”.

The theme is that the reality is many individuals who are in dire need of treatment are forgoing it due to the painstaking instability of lacking insurance.  It’s fair to say that many companies offer it, but there are also many that don’t.  I will forever be grateful to the wonderful company that I work for and the insurance provided to me during this desperate time in my life.

For those that are finding themselves in a pinch with cancer and do not have health insurance, here are some helpful hosts to potentially getting some much needed help. ***Please note this information is not sponsored by the below mentioned Organizations*** 

  • American Cancer Society:
    • “Health Insurance and Financial Assistance for the Cancer Patient”

Love,

Britt x