Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's Personal

I have been having a discussion of the current healthcare debate with some friends on Facebook, usually a good, calm discussion, though we may disagree. For me this issue has become intensely personal. How many of you know that your health insurance, should you have it, most likely has a lifetime limit on the amount that will be spent on you? If it is like mine, it has a limit that seems astronomical, one million dollars. You'll never use all that, so the limit seems irrelevant. Irrelevant until you come down with a catastrophic disease, like cancer. An incurable, but treatable cancer. You go into treatment and discover that one million dollars isn't very much money at all. I will, should I live a few more years, quite probably surpass that limit. What happens then? No insurance company in their right mind will sell me insurance at any price. I will be too young for Medicare, and ineligible for Medicaid. Where will I go? There must be an option available for people like me. Short of a single payer system (please God)a public option is the only choice. Or perhaps I should simply follow the advice of Ebeneezer Scrooge and "die and decrease the surplus population." I will say that I have like many other cancer patients decided that I will forgo treatment before I put my family into bankruptcy. In the wealthiest nation on earth this is not a choice anyone should have to make. It is not a problem now, we can pay the bills, but who knows? Join me in praying for a solution to this dilemma, not for me, but for those facing that choice now. If our faith in Christ means anything, we must use that faith to bring about good, to influence our society to do what is just. Faith must inform our whole life. Ours is a communal faith. In Genesis Cain asks God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Much of the rest of Scripture is an answer to that question.
The answer is YES.
Deacon John
The Memorial of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist
Aug. 29, 2009
St. Peregrine, pray for us.
Blessed John XXIII,pray for us.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Year ago Today...

...I was lying in a hospital bed in Chicago. I underwent an autologous stem cell transplant in an attempt to put my Multiple Myeloma into long term remission. I was hopeful then that this day would be a happy anniversary, with old Poindexter down and out. Things haven’t quite gone as planned. Poindexter proved to be a lot tougher than I thought he would be, managing to find a way back despite the transplant. This is certainly not the outcome that I hoped for, but I am not without hope. Treatment with Revlimid has put Poindexter at bay, as I await another attempt for long term remission, this time with an allogeneic bone marrow transplant. I am fortunate to have a donor for the bone marrow, fortunate to have insurance that will help pay for this second chance. I believe that this transplant will take hold and put Poindexter out of commission. Perhaps I am foolish to be so optimistic, but I’ve come to far to stop fighting now. Yesterday I read an obituary in the local paper, a man my age who died after losing his battle with Multiple Myeloma. I know the odds, I’m not a fool. I also know that faith has carried me this far, faith in God, faith in the power of the prayers and love that I have been blessed to receive from my family, my friends, and so many others. I have faith that one year from the day the next transplant occurs I will be able to write about my continued remission.

Deacon John
Feast of St Nemesius of Rome, Deacon and Martyr
Aug. 25, 2009
St. Peregrine, Pray for us.
Blessed John XXIII, Pray for us.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Steroid Saturday

The specialty pharmacy that ships Revlamid and Dexamethasone to me goofed. I should have gotten the drugs on Friday, but they did not come until Saturday. I don't think the day matters as far as treatment, but I would really rather take the steroids on Friday, not Saturday. They definitley make sleep difficult, and I do work every other Sunday. Guess next week I'll take then on Friday, though that is a day early. I doubt it will make any difference. I judt thank God that they are working, holding Poindexter at bay until the bone marrow transplant finally happens.
Deacon John
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 23, 2009
St. Peregine, Pray for us.
Blessed John XXIII, Pray for us.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Patience Is...

wearing thin. I still have absolutely no idea when the transplant will occur. This is making my life very difficult as far as planning things. I missed NDICE, a national deacons conference, for the second year in a row, because I was awaiting word on treatment. A young woman from my former parish called to ask me to preside at her wedding, at the cathedral, in October. I was honored she asked, but had to decline because I don't know where I will be in October. This is getting to be more than a little frustrating. I saw my Oncologist today and came away no better informed than I was when I arrived. He says the docs in Chicago will make the call. Unfortunately my doctor in Chicago left for another hospital, so now my case has been re-assigned to another doctor I don't know, haven't met, and have yet to hear from. But the hold up could be insurance, I simply do not know. Tell me who to yell at and I will. AAAAAAGH! Thanks for letting me vent. On the brighter side, I just finished round three of Revlimid, and it is working wonders. My blood counts are good, and the only side affect is fatigue. My wife and I did decide, with the doctors approval, that if it seems the transplant will be in Oct. or Nov. we will ask to put it off until after the first of the year. We would rather not spend Christmas in the hospital. Ah well, at least the tumors are gone, the pain is gone, and other than being tired I feel fine. Thanks for your prayers. Kind of windy tonight, huh?
Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Aug. 15, 2009
St. Peregrine, Pray for Us
Blessed John XXIII, Pray for Us