CDC Symptom Diary Card

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mother Nature Keeps Us Grounded


Coney Island ca .1912

Coney Island before Hurricane Sandy 

Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy Oct 30, 2102

Deep Sea diving in the New York Subway, as a result of Hurricane Sandy  
(Please click each photo to view source web pages for each photo)

Sandy caused massive devastation along the Atlantic and New England shoreline yesterday.  As of now I read that at least 50 lives have been lost so far.  It is uncertain how many thousands of people have suffered a total loss of property and the countless business and industry losses are yet to be known.  Atlantic City's famous "Boardwalk" is gone.  The shoreline has literally been relocated.  New York's subway system is under water.  Hundreds of homes were burned in a town called "Breezy Point" in Queens, New York.  

A large crane atop a NY condominium building under construction literally collapsed.  It is perched up high, dangling off from the side, waiting to fall.

I hope that those who have experienced trauma and loss due to this horrendous storm can find comfort in the thoughts and prayers of the nation and the world. 

Hurricane Sandy broke all time records in terms of storm surge and hurricane strength for that region, leaving everyone stunned and frozen.  

I have seen reports on television of people expressing not only grief from the actual physical loss of Coney Island or Atlantic City, but the memories that now can no longer be recreated. This seems to be stinging the hearts of so many.  

I personally have never been there, but feel this loss anyway, because we are a community. 

Why do I write about this on my cancer blog.  Because, like mother nature, our bodies get ravaged by devastating storms, storms that kill or forever 
change our body's landscape.  We too must rebuild. 

New memories will be created one day.  

One prayer, one brick, one hammer, and one nail at a time.  

Praying for the survivors of Sandy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"ReGifting Lions" Helping Those Who Have Suffered Trauma

I am so incredibly impressed with "ReGifting Lions"  Please go to their website at to learn more about how they help all who suffer from a trauma. Below is a radio interview, compliments of NPR, as well as a video link from the "ReGifting Lions" website.

"Regifting Lions"

A stage image from "Regifting Lions" - Photo: Lynn Lane
October 23, 2012
Photographer Lynn Lane and choreographer Toni Leago Valle preview the new dance piece they have created in collaboration with performer Catalina Molnari. Regifting Lions looks at survivors--the people who must find a way to live after trauma.
Lynn Lane and Toni Leago Valle talk with Catherine Lu.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cancer patients will be safe with Obama

The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and then signed into law by the President on March 23, 2010.
On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.

 In 2013

A young boy is getting the nasal spray flu vaccine from his pediatrician
  • Improving Preventive Health Coverage. To expand the number of Americans receiving preventive care, the law provides new funding to state Medicaid programs that choose to cover preventive services for patients at little or no cost. Effective January 1, 2013. Learn more about the law and preventive care.
  • Expanding Authority to Bundle Payments. The law establishes a national pilot program to encourage hospitals, doctors, and other providers to work together to improve the coordination and quality of patient care.  Under payment “bundling,” hospitals, doctors, and providers are paid a flat rate for an episode of care rather than the current fragmented system where each service or test or bundles of items or services are billed separately to Medicare.  For example, instead of a surgical procedure generating multiple claims from multiple providers, the entire team is compensated with a “bundled” payment that provides incentives to deliver health care services more efficiently while maintaining or improving quality of care.  It aligns the incentives of those delivering care, and savings are shared between providers and the Medicare program. Effective no later than January 1, 2013.
  • Increasing Medicaid Payments for Primary Care Doctors. As Medicaid programs and providers prepare to cover more patients in 2014, the Act requires states to pay primary care physicians no less than 100% of Medicare payment rates in 2013 and 2014 for primary care services. The increase is fully funded by the federal government. Effective January 1, 2013. Learn how the law supports and strengthens primary care providers.
  • Providing Additional Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under the law, states will receive two more years of funding to continue coverage for children not eligible for Medicaid. Effective October 1, 2013. Learn more about CHIP.

In 2014

A chain of blue paper dolls forms a circle with one orange paper doll
  • Prohibiting Discrimination Due to Pre-Existing Conditions or Gender. The law implements strong reforms that prohibit insurance companies from refusing to sell coverage or renew policies because of an individual’s pre-existing conditions. Also, in the individual and small group market, the law eliminates the ability of insurance companies to charge higher rates due to gender or health status. Effective January 1, 2014. Learn more about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Eliminating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage. The law prohibits new plans and existing group plans from imposing annual dollar limits on the amount of coverage an individual may receive. Effective January 1, 2014. Learn how the law will phase out annual limits by 2014.
  • Ensuring Coverage for Individuals Participating in Clinical Trials. Insurers will be prohibited from dropping or limiting coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial.  Applies to all clinical trials that treat cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Effective January 1, 2014. 
The number of people covered increases while deductibles, coinsurance costs, and copayments go down
  • Making Care More Affordable. Tax credits to make it easier for the middle class to afford insurance will become available for people with income between 100% and 400% of the poverty line who are not eligible for other affordable coverage. (In 2010, 400% of the poverty line comes out to about $43,000 for an individual or $88,000 for a family of four.) The tax credit is advanceable, so it can lower your premium payments each month, rather than making you wait for tax time. It’s also refundable, so even moderate-income families can receive the full benefit of the credit. These individuals may also qualify for reduced cost-sharing (copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles). Effective January 1, 2014Learn how the law will make care more affordable in 2014.
  • Establishing Affordable Insurance Exchanges. Starting in 2014 if your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you will be able to buy it directly in an Affordable Insurance Exchange.  An Exchange is a new transparent and competitive insurance marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy affordable and qualified health benefit plans.  Exchanges will offer you a choice of health plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards.  Starting in 2014, Members of Congress will be getting their health care insurance through Exchanges, and you will be able buy your insurance through Exchanges too. Effective January 1, 2014. Learn more about Exchanges.
  • Simple comparison of two coverage options
  • Increasing the Small Business Tax Credit. The law implements the second phase of the small business tax credit for qualified small businesses and small non-profit organizations. In this phase, the credit is up to 50% of the employer’s contribution to provide health insurance for employees.  There is also up to a 35% credit for small non-profit organizations.  Effective January 1, 2014. Learn more about the small business tax credit.
  • Increasing Access to Medicaid. Americans who earn less than 133% of the poverty level (approximately $14,000 for an individual and $29,000 for a family of four) will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid. States will receive 100% federal funding for the first three years to support this expanded coverage, phasing to 90% federal funding in subsequent years. Effective January 1, 2014. Learn more about Medicaid.
  • Promoting Individual Responsibility. Under the law, most individuals who can afford it will be required to obtain basic health insurance coverage or pay a fee to help offset the costs of caring for uninsured Americans.  If affordable coverage is not available to an individual, he or she will be eligible for an exemption. Effective January 1, 2014. Learn more about individual responsibility and the law.

In 2015

  • Paying Physicians Based on Value Not Volume. A new provision will tie physician payments to the quality of care they provide. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower quality care. Effective January 1, 2015. 

If that doesn't give you pause, maybe this will..........

By MICHELLE CASTILLO / CBS NEWS/ October 2, 2012, 2:53 PM

Study: Romney health care plan to leave 72M uninsured

The percentage of uninsured people without either act by 2022. / THE COMMONWEALTH FUND
A new study released by the private foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, has revealed that 72 million Americans would be uninsured by 2022 if Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wins the election and has his health care plan enacted. That compares to 27 million uninsured by the same time if President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) was kept in place with his reelection.
"There are stark differences between what each candidate has proposed for our health care system, and this report shines a light on how Americans might be affected, based on their age, their income, and where they live," the report's lead author Sara Collins, vice president for affordable health insurance at the Commonwealth Fund said to CNN. "The report finds that repealing the ACA would significantly increase the number of Americans without health insurance, limiting their ability to get the health care they need and exposing them to burdensome medical bills and debt."
The analysis was conducted by economist Jonathan Gruber, who advised the policymakers who wrote the ACA.
Currently, the government says there are more than 48 million Americans -- about 16 percent of the population -- without health insurance.

The percentage of uninsured people with President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act by 2022.
While some of President Barack Obama's ACA has already been implemented -- such as free preventive women's health care, allowing children 26 and younger to be covered by their parent's plans and not allowing insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions -- many of the proposed changes will not be enforced until 2014. These include implementing near-universal health care coverage, with steps like expanding Medicaid health insurance plans to cover more low income people and organizing state-regulated plans that people can choose from.
State plans would all have to fit regulations set by the federal government, which has also set goals of including free annual wellness exams and getting rid of the prescription drug benefit's "donut hole" -- or gap between the initial coverage limit and the upper limit set by the federal government. In general, they are high-deductible insurance plans, which means low premiums but higher deductibles in case of an accident.
The Commonwealth Fund, which has supported the ACA, said that if all the intended changes were made, 23 million more Americans would get insurance.
However, in comparison, The Commonwealth Fund's analysis showed that 12 million fewer Americans would receive health insurance under Romney's plan compared with current rates. Romney has pledged to repeal the ACA and implement his own changes, which he believes will encourage more private insurance incentives (instead of state-decided plans) and give the individual more say in choosing a plan that is right for them. For example, those who wouldn't seek preventive women's health care wouldn't pay for those services under his plan.
The study also found that Romney's plan would cost Americans more money. People who choose to buy health insurance on their own would pay 14 percent of their income, compared to only 9 percent under the ACA, The Commonwealth Fund stated. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation added that repealing the ACA would cost a federal budget deficit of $109 billion between 2013 and 2022.
The Romney campaign argued the fund's study results were false.
"The Commonwealth study sadly contributes little to the health reform conversation that this country deserves," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul toldTPM. "It badly mistakes Governor Romney's proposals. Worse, it assumes a fantasy world where Obamacare has been a success. Instead, Americans have seen their insurance premiums increase, small businesses are facing massive tax increases, and seniors will have reduced access to Medicare services. The simple truth is this: The American people do not want this law, we cannot afford this law, and when Mitt Romney is President he will repeal it and replace it with common-sense, patient-centered reforms that strengthen our health care system."

The percentage of uninsured people with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's health care plan by 2022.
Though Romney hasn't provided exact details, he has laid out a broad framework for his health care proposal. Instead of opting for state-selected plans, the consumer would choose which private company they wanted to be insured by based on their needs. He or she would pay for that plan from funds from a personal health savings account (HSA) and be aided by tax breaks. Employers would deposit money into the HSAs, and the employee would choose the health care company.
Proponents of the HSA plan argue it will give Americans more choice.
"Health savings accounts empower the consumer in all aspects of health care decision making," Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a statement to the Associated Press explaining why he rejected the "essential health benefits" plan under the ACA on Oct. 1.
Bentley, a physician, added that having the federal government mandate what states should provide restricts people to picking plans that may not fit their needs.
"The Affordable Care Act includes many provisions, all supposedly geared toward making health insurance affordable, yet it does not include any significant mention of health savings accounts. I contend that the law does not make health insurance affordable and negatively affects consumer choice," he added.
Romney's plans would still allow for ACA provisions such free annual wellness exams and getting rid of the prescription drug benefit's donut hole and, theoretically, would push people towards high-deductible insurance plans. However, instead of being mandated by the federal government to include these benefits, consumers can choose to go with a company that includes these provisions. That way people will only pay for what they want coverage for.
"Healthcare is the only service in the United States that you buy and use without knowing what the price is," Dr. Scott Atlas, a Romney adviser with Stanford University's Hoover Institution, told Reuters. "If you're paying out of a health savings account, you actually see the bill. It really does reduce prices."
Critics, however, argue that those plans would not help people who have prolonged illnesses because they would spend their allotted health care funds faster and be forced to pay for care out of pocket.
Medicaid block grants would allow states to dole out the funds to the groups who they think need it the most, rather than try to add coverage for a federally-set amount of people.
Romney has argued that the ACA will increase costs for consumers, who already pay an average of $15,734 per hospital stay and spend 17.4 percent of the GDP on health care costs, pointed out. For comparison, Romney's old health care plan he enacted in Massachusetts, the basis for the ACA, did increase costs while making sure that 98 percent of the population was insured. But, Romney has since claimed that while the plan worked for Massachusetts, it shouldn't become a federal mandate, and states and individuals should have more choice in choosing their health care.
The Commonwealth Fund isn't the first group to criticize Romney's plan. Families USA released a report stating that Romney's plan would cost families 92 percent more than the ACA by 2016.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The ticket nobody ever wants to get

I'm not sure if it is because Halloween is coming or that I'm on chemo, but the nightmares were relentless over the past 48 hours.  I completely missed yesterday because I was so sick, thank God my sister could come over this afternoon and bring me some soup, and a few little meals for the cat.  When she arrived I could barely stand up straight.

It all began Friday night with nightmares from hell, and I say that most literally.  My dream, in techno-color, started off with a ghoulish man offering me a ticket to hell.  He smiled at me and said it would be perfect for me, that I would be  happy and that I will get to be there forever.  I don't remember accepting the ticket, but I found myself in what would otherwise be a musty moldy dirty sorority house. Lined up along the wall with other recruits, we were taken in small groups to our headquarters.  I was to stay in this extra large master suite, which off to one side had a maternity room and off to the other was someone's master bedroom.  It was a beautiful setting.  The finest marble, linens, and one tiny bottle of perfume on the bathroom sink.  

I know we were all ghosts, and that this room had tragedy written all over it.  Now I remember that there was a reverend n the main hall of the sorority house of ghoul, and he wanted me to pray.  He demanded that I pray some prayer sends people to hell, and I refused.  I started say "Our Father Who art in Heaven...." and he stormed fuming mad and yelled "Happy Easter".

One of the recruits had been sanctioned to remain in what would later become known to me as a crib, but at first I just thought she was to big for the bed.  She was literally stuck in the crib and said that she was never going to get out of if, no way to repair the damage.  I felt scared.  There were four other ladies who had to share the space in this master suite, and we did not get along.  The rules were that we had to attend daily classes and when not in class we were to be in our suite.  But the suite was cluttered with furniture, but no extra beds.  I of course missed my ride to class and begged for one of the other ladies to take me, which she did but it came at a price.  The drive was scary to and fro, and when I was in the residence, I became the target of ridicule.  For example, I had asked for make up advice, and my enemy gave me this deep magenta lipstick.  I had said I wanted something off color or unique and she turned that into "unattractive" and the lipstick was designed in such a way that it never stayed on the line you created, so my face was always messy.

At night I would fly with a group of other ticket holders and we would chase down innocent people walking in the street.  It was absolutely frightening, they would look back up towards me and scream, and I would just chase them.  This scenario ended with one of the male ghouls wanting for me to be his bride and I think my brain blew a gasket and I found myself in another nightmare.

I was in transition, moving from one house to another.  I could not afford where I was living and my room mates did not want a sick room mate (in this dream I have cancer).  So I was forced to find something else.  Well, an unbelievable flat became available in a bad part of town, but the flat was not what it was represented to be.  I had read or had been told that I would have my own kitchen, bath, living space and bedroom.  

So I grabbed a few things to get ready for one night there, forgot food and coffee, but brought basics and some clothes.  The layout was open, lots of metal and glass in the interior design,  Pretty layout, with two floors, and one big pane window that looked to the Denver skyline.  It was raining like crazy.  I was getting comfortable when all of a sudden another family came into the space and started setting up shop in the kitchen.  I went in and said that this was my place and the husband said "no it's not".  He pointed down some rickety stairs and said that downstairs was my area.  

I went downstairs and the walls were unfinished, drywall on one side, dust, nails. no running water, no kitchen, no restroom, nothing.  Just concrete and unfinished work.

So I went upstairs to argue with them and begged them to let me stay on the main floor.  They eventually agreed.  It's at this point in my dreaming that I started to get nauseous, and I wonder if that is when my actual nausea set in.  (It's still Friday night).  So as they finished their dinner, they said their peace and went downstairs.  I suddenly started to panic because I could feel myself getting sick, and I had no food.  

It was now dark, raining heavily, and I had no idea where a store would be.  I rummaged through the cabinets only to find instant Folgers and those little creamers you find at an all night diner.

I must have been stuck looking for food for a while.  I did take a shower only to discover that the shower was a public shower, and one of the guys saw me.  Creepy.

So in real life on Saturday morning I woke up with a severe beyond horrible headache, nausea, sweats, chills, and abdominal pain.  I managed to call work to take some sick time, hoping I would be better for my second shift.  I took a compazine, and a zofran and other things to calm my stomach.  Called my mommy because when I feel like that I want my mommy.  I was so  sick.  My nightmares continued, resuming the ticket to hell dream, of course, and I woke up around 5 (?????)  I don't remember but had to call work again because I couldn't hardly stand.  

I managed another zofran and some water and back to bed I went.

My lovely adorable kitty cat stayed with me the whole time.  My sweet sister came over on Sunday afternoon with soup and cat food.

I have more nightmares to share but am too tired to type any more.(Grandma making me give penance about a car accident that I didn't start, but could have triggered, in the snow) and wild dogs....

The best part that has saved me Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night through all this sleeping has been my sweet little kitty cat Marilyn.  She does not leave my side.

I think when I get chemo, the anti-emetics given via IV during chemo just stop working suddenly.  I had a lot of nausea last time, that hit me several days after the treatment.   Thank goodness she came over because I could barely walk.

I am getting ready to have a bit more soup and go to bed, but wanted to share this because I am praying I am never offered a ticket to hell.  Purgatory is a grace, and I will gladly go there to cleanse myself of my sins, but not wanting hell.  No way........I wonder what these nightmares mean?

To better days?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Something Special for your Heart and Eyes

My muse and champion is continuing along her journey with art.  I have two of her beautiful works in my living room, and each piece tells a story of courage and hope.  
She simply does not just paint, she converses with you about important times in our history.  
She has a unique talent and eye for creating optimal emotion in her works.  
If you go to her blog, you can read the stories behind each piece. 
Mandy was and is one of my earthly angels.  Her works make me happy.
They will make you happy too and she is having a special sale now.  
Below you can read about Mandy of Weathered Silo

My Sister's art

I am a self-taught artist with a passion for objects timeworn and uncovering what lies beneath. I sketch, paint, and occasionally sew. My studio name pays tribute to my great-grandparents and their parents who homesteaded in the early 1900s on the prairies of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico.

 photo via Shorpy

Don't you just love this photograph?! Those faces, those clothes! I think its the perfect image to announce my 40% off sale.

Why am I having this HUGE SALE? Because I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who's hung in there and supported my work along the way. I'm definitely still creating art, it's just that I'm in a slow period since I am helping my mom through some serious health issues. My energies have also been focused on settling into the new school year, new school community, and part-time work. Thank you for not giving up on me!

For one week only everything my Etsy shop will be 40% off. Just be sure to enter the coupon code THANKYOU40 at checkout to receive your discount. Sale ends midnight Pacific time Friday, October 19th. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Securing the Future of American Health Care — NEJM

Securing the Future of American Health Care — NEJM

"The law also roots out waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, gets rid of insurance overpayments, reinvests those savings back into the system, and adds 8 years to the solvency of Medicare. Obamacare is closing the Medicare doughnut hole — saving people an average of $600 last year — and bolstering your efforts to get your patients to adhere to their medications. More than 3 million young adults who would otherwise be uninsured have coverage on their parents' plan until they are 26 years old, and up to 17 million children with preexisting conditions are no longer at risk of being denied coverage. Small-business owners are getting tax credits to provide coverage for their workers and will soon be able to pool together to leverage better rates, just like big corporations."

ObamaCare Facts: Facts on the Obama Health Care Plan


Obama Care Facts 2012 - We Tell you the Facts, Not The Talking Points

We present the Facts on Obama Care (ObamaCare) / The Health Care for America plan. Our goal is to help you understand the basics of the Obama Care health care plan and bill, so you can decide for yourself what you think of ObamaCare, based on the facts and not the News Radio / TV opinions.
Obamacare Cartoon
(ObamaCare Facts Image Public Domain, Photo by Chuck Kennedy; U.S. Government Work)
• ObamaCare, Obama Care and Health Care for America are all the same thing; an extension of thePatient Protection and the Affordable Care Act and ongoing efforts to reform the health care industry.
• Some aspects of Obamacare health care reform are already enacted. The Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act was signed 2 years ago, I bet you didn't even notice unless you needed coverage and didn't have it. The Affordable Care Act requires thatinsurance plans cover preventative services and stopsinsurance companies form dropping you when you are sick as well as offering a number of other reforms and protections.
• ObamaCare is a hot button political issue and both sides of the isle will try to persuade you for or against it. You need THE FACTS on ObamaCare and the Health Care For America Plan.
Obamacare Facts• ObamaCare's goal is to provide affordable health insurance for all US citizens.
• ObamaCare does not replace private insurance or medicaid
• Medicaid will be reformed and expanded in order to help cover more people, especially those below the poverty level.
• ObamaCare aims to improve community health care centers in an effort improve health care for those who cannot afford private health care.
• Affordable health coverage means American's and their families pay what they can afford.
• American Employers need to provide comparable coverage to theHealth Care for America Plan or pay a modest and fair Tax to support ObamaCare. (like the current state run unemployment and workers compensation programs)
• If an American or their family chooses not to purchase healthcare through the Health Care for America Act they can buy private insurance. Those who chose to not participate will pay a penalty tax to help cover the rest of us. In other words no one is actually forcing you to havehealth insurance.
• 19 million Americans will receive tax credits to help pay for healthcare and most middle class Americans will actually save thousands on healthcare via tax cuts (this has been going on for the past 3 years already)
• The government is by the people and for the people. The health insurance companies are for profit organizations who are for the bottom line and the investors.
• ObamaCare ensures that sick people can't be dropped from insurance, people can't be denied for preexisting conditions and women can't be charged more than men by insurance companies. These measures prevent all types of discrimination in regards to your right to health care.
• All Americans have the option to stay on their current healthcare plans.
• Those with incomes exceeding 250k will be subject to higher taxes. This will help pay for the ObamaCare. As you can imagine this does not make some people happy. Though it's important to note that those making less will not be losing money, rather they will be gaining the option of healthcare.
• The Affordable Health Care Act doesn't just focus on insurance, it also reforms the parts of the healthcare system that aren't working or are costing the tax payer money. For example by focusing on preventive measures instead of just treatment ObamaCare will save tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives.
• The average American will save money under Obamacare. In fact many Americans are already paying less for health care services.
• Obamacare cuts the national deficit by over 100,000,000,000 dollars during it's first 10 years.
• Over the next two decades Obamacare is projected to cut the national deficit by over 1,000,000,000,000 dollars.
• ObamaCare aims to make it easier for small businesses to provide coverage to workers by offering Tax Credits to employers who enroll their workers in private healthcare plans.
• One of the main goals of ObamaCare is to ensure that all preventative care will be free on all insurance plans. Private insurance plans that are grand fathered in and are all ready in place will be exempt until they lose their grand fathered status.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: The "ObamaCare" Bill is currently signed into law. There are many people, including Mitt Romney who would like to see ObamaCare repealed. If this happens millions of Americans will be without proper health coverage, many more will be dropped from private insurance companies who are not required to provide healthcare. From employers will drop health care plans of workers. Many more will suffer the consequences of a health care system controlled by private companies, who's bottom line is money and not health.