Monday, October 29, 2012

High Deductible Plans Not Good News

As more and more companies are moving to high deductible health plans, I have just one question: How are they not discriminatory against people who actually NEED health care?

I get that their intent is to make people decide against "unneeded" care or to shop around to get the cheapest care (as if that is possible; the information to do this is just not available). But all things are not equal on the health care needs front.

There are people who will never need to use the system; others will have to have treatment or tests or medicine and will be faced with a huge deductible--$10,000 or more before partial coverage will kick in.

If you have a family, I can't imagine these plans are a good gamble even if everyone is in fine health. If one or more members actually has health care needs, it's a huge blow to the bottom line--for not just one year but for every year.

I can't see how this is anything else except moving in a very bad direction.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Means Hearing the Whole Message

Or at least it should. If you read the comments after the article I liked to in my last post, you're up to speed. I'm betting it's not the story you're hearing on the street.

No, that story is all about finding breast cancer early enough to result in a 98 percent cure rate. The rest of the story is the reason I keep this blog.

The whole story explains it's not a cure rate, because there is no cure yet for breast cancer or any other type of cancer. It's a survival rate, and it's one for only five years out. Not a lot of time by my reckoning, especially not when you're diagnosed at 37.5 years old, as I was. There's also no "early enough," because women diagnosed at any stage and with any statistics going in can one day, any day progress to Stage IV, which is always terminal. This progression will happen to 20-30% of those who get breast cancer.

Myself? Like most who get breast cancer early, mine was extremely aggressive--grade 3 out of 3, Her2Neu+++ and had spread to three out of twelve lymph nodes as well as out of one lymph node and into the tissues surrounding it. I was stage IIB, very close to IIIa, so not early stage. Middle stage.

But there isn't enough research to say if my cancer is going to come back and kill me or if I will die of something else one day. Every single survivor is in this boat of uncertainty.

And we're the lucky ones, because we haven't yet found ourselves in that 30 percent who know where this is all headed. Thirty percent--it's a rate that hasn't changed in more than 20 years!!!!

Cure NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**Thank you to the women who commented on this article for the statistics I've been searching for, which I've included in this article.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Out There

Be glad if you're not out there having to look for a job right now. Things are brutal.

I still can't believe that the first thing I was told in a recent interview was: "This year, all those hired for this position will not be getting time away from work for lunch. You will still get to eat a lunch, but you will be working when you do so."

Wow, that came out of left field! I had about ten questions as a result of hearing this, but of course, this is a job interview, and if I wanted the job no questions were welcome. This was a lump it or leave it statement if ever I've heard one.

Nevertheless, anything else was drowned out by the questions racing through my mind: "What? Isn't that illegal? Does everyone working here have this requirement this year? Why are they doing this--to save money? Do you (the many people sitting around the table of high rank) follow this as well? If not, why not?

A little Internet searching gave me some basic answers; I'll never get the specific ones I'm still wondering about. Making someone work during their lunch hour is illegal in the state where I lived most of my life. Apparently, it's not illegal in the new state I call home, though it is beyond the pale enough to mention first and foremost in an interview.

However, just because I'm in a different locale doesn't mean my view on this practice is any different than it was before. It stinks, and if it isn't illegal, it should be. It should always be illegal.

Now before you go telling me you have to work through your lunch, too, think about if that isn't a choice you make. This question will help you answer that: When you were hired, did they inform you specifically that you would never, ever get a lunch free from duty?

I've worked many jobs where the work essentially required that I work through lunch or skip lunch entirely to meet deadlines. But that was never an all the time thing (though at times it might have felt it) nor was it a condition of my employment. There were also days I left the building to go home for lunch or to meet others out for lunch. And if I wanted to, I could negotiate leaving early, etc. in exchange for the time I worked over lunch.

So absolutely 100% different. That those lowest on the totem pole are being required to accept these conditions to employment scares me. It should scare all of us.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

They're Looking Into Breast Cancer after Pregnancy

As someone affected by this and someone who has met countless women in the same boat, this line of research seems important.

Long ago, I was looking at article after article in the New England Journal of Medicine online that described exactly my experience--having a child at an older age (almost 35) and then discovering breast cancer within three years.

The researchers of this latest study are calling breast cancer associated with pregnancy any bc found within five years of giving birth.

When I was reading through the journal articles some years ago, it seemed this is similar to the increased risk women who use Hormone Replacement Therapy face. It seems a concentrated burst of hormones for any reason can trigger bc, especially as a woman gets older than 30.

Anyway, very interesting research. I can't wait to read more about what they discover.