Friday, September 04, 2009

Scare.

Last weekend, I was told that I might have cervical cancer.

My first thought was, "Oh shit. I have no insurance."

My subsequent thoughts were something like, "This is going to be MORE than expensive, and now that I have 'abnormal cervical growths' in my medical file, the chances of getting into a private plan is slim and the chance that a plan will cover any related charges is none."

Sometime after that, I got around to thinking, "Holy shit. I could die."

Then, of course, I spent some time mentally kicking myself around for not getting a pap spear done since my pregnancy with KayTar.

It was Sunday when I was told all of this, so first thing Monday morning I twittered nervously about it and then put a call into my OB's office. They were booked solid, so I found another OB who was able to see me on Wednesday. From Monday to Wednesday, I tricked myself into thinking I was coping better than I actually was, which as it turns out is a valid coping skill after all.

When I finally saw the doctor (after two days that somehow stretched into years), she said that everything looked good and the ER doctor had just seen some benign cysts. I could have kissed her. I didn't, but totally could have. Sweet, sweet relief. It suddenly felt like I had been holding my breath for a decade! When I paid my fee of $287, it felt amazing. "Only $287!" I thought, "What a steal! No biopsy, no surgery, no chemo. Just $287 and my good health." I think they could have charged me just about anything and I would have happily handed it over, big dumb smile plastered on my face, so lucky did I feel about knowing my life had magically gone back to normal. I know not everyone is so fortunate in that respect.

The first moral of this little story is that NO ONE should have bankruptcy or health coverage be their initial thought when their health and life are threatened. If you suddenly have an unexpected medical need, health care shouldn't suddenly be unavailable to you because you--GASP!--need it. As a nation, we've got to fix that.

The second moral is please make sure you get your pap smears and yearly exams, even if you don't have health insurance (if you can somehow manage it). Saving $287 today can cost you a whole lot more tomorrow. I surely won't be skipping one again.

19 comments:

painted maypole said...

I've been putting off making an appt - so thanks for the reminder.

and you are so right. how twisted that your first worry was insurance and cost.

InTheFastLane said...

lessons learned...hopefully this country can figure out one of those.

flutter said...

I'm so glad you're ok

Kate said...

I know the Canadian medical system isn't perfect, but I can't even imagine trying to balance my medical needs against my financial needs. I get my pap done every year and it doesn't cost me a cent (directly anyway... I pay for it in my taxes, but it's spread out over time, so it's not money out of my pocket in the same way). I'm glad everything's ok. Have you considered moving north? :)

hilary said...

That's quite a scare. I've been there, although not with kids.

One of the things I really like about Planned Parenthood, regardless of one's political bent or view on abortion, is their dedication to women's health issues. Those yearly exams and pap smears? without insurance, your best bet is planned parenthood. and it saves lives.

Pgoodness said...

I never miss a pap...thanks for reminding me it's for more than a prescription refill.

So glad it turned out to be nothing.

Niksmom said...

*sigh* I could have written this same post. It's sad that even routine, preventative care is so cost prohibitive for the uninsured that we put it off.

Glad you are fine. Whew. FYI, many states have programs which cover things like mammograms, paps, and colon screenings. In my state it's called "Screen for Life." If anyone is in a situation where they would end up going w/out, I encourage them to google it or to call their state's dept of health/human srvcs to inquire.

Becca said...

I am so proud of you for putting this out there. It kills me that the nay-sayers don't realize that they are one layoff away from being one of the uninsured. Or that responsible, hardworking people can find themselves without insurance through no fault of their own. It's staggering. Maybe you should go yell your story at a townhall meeting. Those guys are the only ones getting any press right now.

Gwen said...

What a horrible first thought upon hearing that news. I'm glad you're okay.

turtlemama said...

Is student health or student rate insurance an option for you or your husband since you are full time students now?

Lisa b said...

Phew!
Yes it breaks my heart that you have to think about how much it costs to get your pap done and how it will make you uninsurable.
My medical issues are making me insane-er and I don't have to bust out my credit card each time I see a doctor.

Cold Spaghetti said...

After being denied insurance twice for really no good reason, I'm afraid to see a doctor and have something actually BE wrong. When I've gone over the past year, I've sought physicians that will work with me on what they write on my medical forms and I will NEVER again be honest on any medical record.

But I will go get a pap... like you, I haven't had one since my daughter's birth. Thanks for the wake-up...

Cold Spaghetti said...

PS: I AM GLAD YOU'RE OKAY!

~aj~ said...

I know how relieved I felt when I heard the good news, so I cannot even imagine how good it made YOU feel.

And all of this was a reminder to me that I'm a few months behind on my own yearly exam. I'll be calling about that soon.

Cori said...

I am so glad you are well :) I was so worried about you guys

Jill said...

Oh Kyla, how awful for you. Is it possible for you to get some health insurance cheaply through school?

Aliki2006 said...

Oh god, I'm only catching up on this now! I am so so glad you're okay. And yes, I'm behind in my check-up too. I think I'll make that call today.

tierd said...

I'm so glad you are ok. But you are so right - we have GOT to get health care straightened out.

As far as the scare, I can't tell you how many times a radiology tech or nurse or even non-specialist doctor has told me something that COMPLETELY freaks me out and I worry and worry only to have another doctor tell me it was nothing. So glad yours was 'nothing' too. :)

lildb said...

thank effing god. oh, Kyla, thank heaven. i'm sorry to be such a cornball but DUDE, the world needs MORE of you. not less.

phew.

HUG.