A cancer survivor's story | Arkansas Blog

A cancer survivor's story


Dorinda Moran Fox is an Arkansas native who now lives in Florida. She blogs. Read on for her primal reaction to opposition by Sens. Bill Nelson and Blanche Lincoln to a public health insurance plan.

Blanche Lincoln and Bill Nelson Don't Give a Damn About Me

NOTE: I have lived most of my life in Arkansas and Florida.  I am reposting this from my blog on Open Salon two weeks ago.  I NEED the public option in order to live.  I pay $10,000 a year for health insurance because none of the cost is borne by an employer.  Sen. Lincoln, women are more often in that position than men.

I'm not sending Nelson a letter. I went to his office in person last month.  He does not care.

These people voted against the public option because they want to be re-elected.

Many of you are one job loss or one divorce away from being in the situation you will read below.

Nelson and Lincoln do not give a damn.

Vote against them please.  I don't care who runs against them.

President Obama is fighting for his mother and honoring her memory. President Obama often refers to his mother arguing with insurance companies on the phone from the sickbed in which she died.

That is unforgivable.

Been there and done that except for the dying part because I was lucky enough to be receiving treatment at a cancer hospital that hired someone to make those phone calls and fight for me when I was too ill from chemo, surgery, radiation, working full-time, and raising two kids to fight for myself. I HAD to work to pay the insurance premiums. I dragged my sorry sick butt from the bed to the couch to a computer where I taught classes while linked to hydration lines to fight off nausea so I could earn money for the mortgage and very expensive COBRA health premium.

The f irst couple months I handled the calls myself. My insurance company’s policy was either to deny coverage on first presentation or to have a “nurse” call to talk me into refusing coverage. They wore me out.

Now I will tell you why the hospital paid someone to do it for me.

I could not work, take care of my kids, and handle the insurance company.

The ugliness that has surrounded the healthcare debate has horrified me. But the ugliness of insurance companies does not surprise me.'

I was diagnosed in August 2007 with invasive inflammatory breast cancer in my left breast. The kind of cancer that before the invention of herceptin killed over 90% of the patients who contracted it very quickly. It still isn’t the best kind of cancer to have had. The diagnosis of this type of cancer used to be a death sentence. I could not have had a mastectomy at the time because it would have certainly maimed me and more than likely killed me.

I have two children. One just started kindergarten this year.

I presented to the surgeon with two tumors of 8 cm and 9 cm. For those of you unfamiliar with that lingo they were big-ass tumors in the back of my breast growing dangerously close to my heart and lungs. Without treatment I would not have lived until Christmas.

Every Friday afternoon for three hours I endured chemotherapy treatment that hurt enough to require simultaneous painkiller. 52 Fridays. I then went home alone for three days while my kids were with my ex to try to recover enough to face another week of working to pay for the premiums to pay for the treatment and the roof over our heads.

I took one week off. I was selfish. I love Lyle Lovett. I love cruises. He was performing in February 2008 on a Cayamo cruise with many other artists. I could not travel alone because I was so weak from chemo. My best friend Carla who works 60 hours a week for a software company and who has two adopted Chinese children under five went on the trip with me. The Cayamo people were incredible and we had front row seats for a litany of amazing musicians – but I had promised my oncologist to be in bed by 10 p.m. so we went to the early shows.

I went horseback riding in the ocean on that Jamaica trip. A young cowboy who looked like a black Barney Fife tied a rope to my horse and guided me through the ocean waters telling corny jokes the whole time. To this day he remains the most handsome man I have ever seen. I thought it was the last time I would see the ocean. It wore me out to be on the horse for an hour but others helped me back on the bus.

The morning Carla and I returned from the trip where my mother had been taking care of the girls I opened the mail.

Twenty years before when I was unmarried I was listed on the state retirement system as single meaning I could only COBRA for 18 months. The insurance company hired someone to find that information and they tried to give me less than 30 days notice that my insurance was to be terminated. As an ex-wife of an insurance receipient I was actually entitled to 36 months of COBRA coverage. They tried to get around that by changing my employee ID.

I made a dozen phone calls that day crying and trying to explain that without coverage I would die. No one cared.

My mother lost it and called my ex in for help. My insurance coverage did not get denied because he had a high enough position to get someone from the Department of Insurance on the phone that day to restore the coverage I had been paying for at a very high price.


That insurance company was willing to kill the mother of two children who was fighting harder than could be imagined to save money through a technical loophole they had to find.

I can’t write about this any more. I can’t watch Obama because he has to win this.

Whoever it is in that congressional chamber that heckled him this is my reply, “Fuck you.”
I am in remission. I hope to remain there.

Like Obama I will never forgive.

Neither should you

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