Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Some thoughts...

Some sad news came to me last night. My husband's Uncle Tim, who is in his mid-forties was just diagnosed with liver cancer. It's pretty bad, five tumors. He's at the hospital right now and they are treating him for the pain. Of all my husband's family, and there are a lot of them, from his mother to his father including the grandparents, Tim is the one that made me feel most welcome when I first married my husband 17 years ago. At every family party and get together we chat. He's also the only one that has asked about my writing, what I've done, how it's coming along. An encouraging friend. Someone I care a great deal for.

When my Mother-in law told me last night, I had flashbacks to three years ago and my father's cancer. I got a call at three in the morning, the kind you all hope you never get, from my mother. They were rushing my father up to Denver, not sure he'd make it through the night. I live on the East coast and the trip was an 8 hour flight. Believe me, I've flown it many times and never has it been that long... I didn't know what was wrong with him at the time, just that he was sick and I might not make it in time.

In a time when family needs to be strong, mine fell apart. My sister who is bi-polar started having issues with her health and came close to going in the hospital several times during this time. My brother became instant a**hole, and wouldn't go to the hospital and refused to help. Staying home to work. I know it was his way of dealing with it, but it just lumped more on my shoulders.
My mother. The minute she heard it was cancer, she dropped to the floor and began to cry. She curled up in his chair for three days, a zombie and cried till her eyes swelled shut. Everything was left up to me, in a time when I'd like to have curled into a ball and cried myself.

They took my father into that hospital on a stretcher, the cancer was wrapped around his spine, causing the lower body organs to shut down. He had lost all ability to use his legs. What was killing him wasn't the cancer, but the poisoning of his own waste.

To make a long story short, a year after the ordeal, my father was on the reservoir in Pueblo water skiing. A testimony to all that you can beat it.

There are things that happen in our lives that define who we are. There are times we have to reach down and grab everything we have and fight. My father fought for his life. I fought to get him treated. You see, three weeks before he became sick, he was laid off from the construction company he'd worked for. Without insurance, living on Ramen noodles and beans, things were tight for my parents. My mother was mowing lawns to pay the bills, just to keep their heads above water.

Once the hospital treated him for the immediate threat, the toxins from the waste backup, they were going to release him. They knew he had cancer and needed treatment, but my parents didn't have insurance. We turned to the V.A. My father is an Air Force Veteran. It wasn't a war related illness, so they intially refused. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the process of getting him help. There were times when I didn't think I was going to be able to get him the help. I had door after door, slammed in my face. At the end of ten days of not getting anywhere, and my father on the cusp of being released, I collapsed in the sitting area in the V.A. and cried.

If it wasn't for a kind man, a staff member who pushed paper and processed medical bills, my father would never have received the treatment he needed. He got an application of hardship pushed through, and my father was transfered instead of released.
The doctors at the VA treated my father for cancer, but one staff member, a man who pushed paper, saved my father's life.

This holiday season, be thankful to the Doctors and those that treat us when we are sick, the soldiers who serve in the armed forces and the men and women in uniform that keep us safe at home. But also... be thankful for the little guys, they may not get the glory, but many are unsung heros.

Tim is in the same situtation and can't afford the treatments he needs. I'm going to the hospital today, to see if we can get Tim the help he needs. This time, I know my way around the system.
Wish me luck.


Flick said...

Oh Dawn, all my hopes and best wishes go with you and your Uncle Tim and the rest of your family. The notion of having to fight to get treatment is so alien to me as a Brit. Our national health service is used by all and paid for by all but indirectly. We DO have private care too but strangely enough for emergency medicine and for cancer - the National Health Service is the best place. If your uncle was sick in the UK, he'd get free treatment at his local hospital or transferred to a specialist facility - again free of charge. I guess it's why we get so many east europeans wanting to come to the UK to live and work. I've often wondered what would happen if an American took sick in the UK while they were there. As a visitor to the States, I have private insurance just in case because we know how expensive being ill can be here, but I have a feeling that if you were in England you might just get treated for free?

Dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flick said...

Mind you, as my husband pointed out, for non-emergency things our NHS is not so good. I waited over 2years to see a dental hospital consultant. If you have money, you can jump the queue and go private and more and more people do that for non-emergency treatment.

Dawn said...

They are going to do chemo to lengthen his life a bit and try to get him home for a while. Unfortunately they can't do much about it. The health care system here in the States sucks. If they would have run the tests sooner instead of dragging this on for the last few months, he would have known, perhaps before it was too late.

Laurie said...

Dawn, sorry I missed this post until now. Your story about your father is a testimony to your determination to get him help. I'm so glad to hear it worked for the best.

Best wishes with you uncle. I know how special it is to have someone in the family care about your writing and show an interest. So often family members think if you're not published you're not a "real" writer and your just wasting a lot of time at your "hobby". It is good for the soul when someone is genuinely interested in your progress and I'm sure your Uncle Tim is a very special person.