So Much BloodThis week’s art: pages in the big paper bag book I sent to Amy this week. I really wanted to get this done before I sent it off to her, because I thought that by the time I get it back a month from now, I might have already had my surgery, and this piece would no longer be relevant to me.

No such luck. The results of last week’s biopsy: I have uterine cancer.

Don’t panic. Everything I’ve read says it’s a slow-moving cancer, or as my gynecologist put it when she delivered the news on the phone, “not the worst cancer you could have”. She’s handed me off to a gynecological oncologist, who I met with this week, and he confirmed that. He thinks he can do a robotic surgery, pull out all my girl parts, and we’ll be done. Fingers crossed that he’s right.

Going through this experience has been really interesting. I’ve learned that for the most part, health care professionals assume that anyone who doesn’t have insurance is A) stupid; B) unemployed; and C) poor. I’m none of those things, and have cut a wide swath through every doctor’s office and hospital room, doing my best to correct those inappropriate assumptions. Because seriously, my IQ is 183, I’ve worked 60-80 hours a week for the last eight years, and when I’m not flat on my back in a hospital, I make enough money to pay a mortgage and bills, and eat healthy, organic food. I’m in this hole because I’m self-employed, and a woman over 50, and my only option is paying for private health insurance, with monthly premiums that are roughly equal to my mortgage payments. I tell this to every person who suggests I pursue Medicaid (not eligible), or apply to the JPS system (a local community health system with two low income programs—for which I’m not currently eligible), or makes any other “helpful” suggestion related to income. Income is not my problem, except when I’m flat on my back in a hospital bed, because then, I’m not making any. The cost of private health insurance is my problem. The ridiculous cost of paying cash for health services is my problem. Earning a living when I’m healthy? Not the problem.

So. We’re thinking my surgery will happen the first week of March, assuming I can persuade the folks at the hospital that yes, they really will get paid eventually. I will probably have to liquidate my tiny retirement fund to make that happen. Once that money goes, I will have no retirement savings, and little hope of building any, since I carried that money away with me when I left the Evil Corporate Empire.

But that’s a problem for another day. Today, I have a nasty collection of cells with bad attitudes living in my body—and I have to send them packing ASAP.