My name is Christine and I am one of three daughters to a Ms. Loretta Cabanillas of Yuma, AZ. About two years ago, my hero, my Mom, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. At the same time, my father, my war-hero, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Luckily, my Dad is in remission. Unfortunately, my Mom was misdiagnosed for two years prior and learned about ovarian cancer while in Stage III of the illness. My Mom's CA-125 result was over 1,400 with 0-35 being the norm. However, my Mom managed to get her CA-125 down to a mere 9 via her chemotherapy treatments. (Yeah, for Mom.) Well, last Christmas the cancer returned. My Mom began the chemo treatments again and things were "getting" better, but we all realistically know that Mom will eventually die from her illness. But, Mom is a strong individual and was giving the cancer her toughest battle.
On August 14th of this year, Mom turned 65! At this time, Medicare became my Mom's primary care provided and so involuntarily Mom gave up her rights with her Tricare provider. My Dad was retired from the Army and even though the retirement pay was not that great, they both knew that having the medical benefits would suffice with the lack of monetary compensation. And, were they correct in that assumption. Tricare, after my Mom reached her catastrophic cap, was paying for Mom's GEMZAR chemo treatments, blood transfusions and pet scans. And that's why Mom was continuing to "fight her battle." Then, all of a sudden, the bills starting coming in and Mom was informed that Medicare refused to pick up the bills because her cancer was of ovarian nature. In other words, Mom's life was not worth saving! Yet, an acquaintance of hers in the same city she resides in, was experiencing the same difficulties with breast cancer and Medicare decided to pay for this patient's trips to MD Anderson in Texas as well as the GEMZAR chemo treatments. Again, my Mom is notified that she is not worthy of life. Well, after realizing that Mom was not going to "win" at her cancer battle, and knowing that whatever chances she had would require her to empty their savings account, my Mom decided to STOP all treatments as she doesn't want my Dad to go bankrupt because of her illness.
I am appalled with our society's care for the sick and dying! Why is one woman's life more important than anothers? Who decided that Medicare would play God? I've begged and pleaded with my Mom to continue her treatments and all of the family is willing to pull our resources together even if it is to give my Mom just another four months of life, but Mom is protesting us saying that she doesn't want her death to bring any more turmoil to the family. SHAME ON MEDICARE! Why didn't they just let my Mom continue with Tricare? They've robbed her of life, and they've robbed society of an outstanding individual.
If it is the last thing I do for my Mom and all other ovarian cancer victims, it is to CHANGE Medicare's monopolistic view on life. I'll continue to send my letters to Washington, D.C., and Sen. John McCain's offices in both D.C. and Arizona, as well as other advocate groups.
"MEDICARE, MY MOM WILL NOT DIE IN VAIN!" -Christine Cabanillas