Category Archives: Medical Insurance

Downsizing


While we know that the tumor has been downsized by the radiation and chemotherapy treatments, we have taken a long look at our personal belongings and have started the process of downsizing in this area too.  So far, the experience has been quite cathartic.

How much ‘stuff’ does one really need to be comfortable in life?  China that has never been used, kitchen gadgets (well, except for the Tumor Extractor!), glasses, roasting pans; yikes where did all this stuff come from?   And better yet… what really is the need?

Funny as it seems, when I was in the seminary those little rooms we lived in seemed so small…now as I look back at that experience, living austerely has its benefits.  Thomas Merton does know what he is talking about!

Cancer is a life changing experience for all who are involved in it.  We have grown closer because of the disease and have I have come to a reality check with my life.   You see, what is important is not how many items you collect, rather what is important is how many lives you touch.   The last few years I have lost touch with my own reality; cancer does have its peculiar benefits.

As the green leaves transition to beautiful autumn colors, we are in a transition mode as well.  What we do for ourselves dies with us.  What we do for others will ever be immortal.  I am honored and proud to be a caregiver, it is one of the most remarkable experiences in life.  I am also grateful for the reality check that our downsizing has provided to us.  May the ‘Little One’s’  health continue to improve; let the downsizing begin!

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Cure Esophagus Cancer


The Purple Jacket and The Bow-Tie-Guy support research to cure esophagus  cancer. 

Stay tune to our blog for further information on how you can help!



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Filed under Advocate, Blog, Bow Tie, Bow Tie Guy, Caregiving, Chemotherapy, Esophagus Cancer, Medical Insurance, radiation, Uncategorized

A toast to Friends…


This weekend was filled with a tremendous amount of emotions as we prepare for the start of chemotherapy and radiation on Monday.  After a lovely and quite evening at home on Friday, we ventured out Saturday night for a splendid evening of celebration as two of our friends celebrated their 25th anniversary together with a commitment ceremony, only to be topped off by a lovely reception at the Chase Park Plaza…Quite a posh evening  for this ‘Mutt and Jeff’ combination…yet we enjoyed the evening immensely and ‘The Little One’ held up well, albeit that we had to duck out a tad early do to fatigue.  (why did I not take a picture or two Saturday night?)

One of the things that struck me was the fellowship that we shared with so many friends from the Gateway Men’s Chorus Saturday night…One of the things that I will miss this year will be my involvement with the Chorus.   While serving as President these past two years, we have been fortunate to gain so many new friends;  it is through our family and friends that we will gain the strength we need to over come this illness. So many well wishes and words of encouragement on Saturday evening left us with a humble heart.  While I will miss the Chorus, I know that the Chorus is in good hands with the new Board President and and Board of Directors.  I will be rooting for them from the sidelines, just as they are rooting for us as we embark on this journey. 

As I thought about the kindness and love that was demonstrated to us Saturday night,  I reflected today as we drove to the airport about the meaning of friends  and how friends are a precious commodity and should never be taken for granted.  Friendships are not like faucets, they can’t just be turned on or off at a moments notice.  The true meaning of  friendships are those friends who argue,who love, who care, who regret, and who argue all over again, yet accept you for who you are and what you do.    Sometimes things happen in life and before you know it, people you cared for… are no longer around.  Some you miss more than others, some you know you can call at a moments notice who will be there for you in your time of need.

Often times when a friendship is broken, it’s hard to know what to do or how to fix it.  Sometimes a simple sorry is all that is needed, other times more time apart is needed to heal the wounds.  Life is to be celebrated; no anger, hostility, resentment…life’s to short to have those feelings, yet our human frailty and ego often stands in the way.   Sometimes you just have to let go…

Life can take us all on a different paths, people change, situations change, yet the love of friends, both close and far never fads.   On Sunday, ‘The Little One’ headed back to Fort Lauderdale to start our treatments for radiation and chemotherapy.  These are truly OUR treatments, we just experience the treatments in a different way. Our friend Tom picked ‘The Little One’ up at the airport…Tom and a host of friends in South Florida are going to keep an eye on ‘The Little One’ this week as we monitor the results of the first week of radiation and chemotherapy.

Monday morning at 10:10 am we start our first round of radiation to be follow with chemotherapy on Tuesday

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.   

There is so much that is ahead of us that is unknown; yet what would we do without a friend… What would we do without  friends?

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Filed under Advocate, Caregiving, Chemotherapy, Esophagus Cancer, Looking into the future, Medical Insurance

Decisions, Decisions…and the love of our friends…


Chemotherapy and Radiation: Radiation and Chemotherapy…can’t live with them, can’t live without them. It is a necessary evil; what is one to do? …Well…we move ahead with our head held high!

As we get ready to face our life changing event; we are comforted by the support that has been shown to us by so many people. The way we are going to get through this is simply by the love and support that our family and friends have shown us. While cancer is a life changing experience, we will not allow the cancer to take control of our lives. The human body is so complex, and each one of us reacts to medication is many different ways. Until the treatments begin next Monday, we have no idea how ‘The Little One’s’ body will react. Overcoming our fears, moving ahead with the treatments, we turn our trust over to a higher power. Coming from two different faith backgrounds, (Jewish & Catholic…by the way, who said mixed marriages did not work? 🙂 ) we tend to look at the ‘higher power’ component in a different way. Yet what is common in the belief in this ‘higher power’ is the ability to love, the ability to care, the ability to look beyond oneself. Life is made hard when life events take control of our lives…it is when we release control that we are free…free to love, free to learn and free of all that binds us…that is how we will be free of this insidious disease called cancer

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Filed under Caregiving, Chemotherapy, Esophagus Cancer, Looking into the future, Medical Insurance, Senior Housing

Out, About and 20% Down


As we move closer to the start of the Chemotherapy and Radiation, (looks like we’ll be starting on August 29th), we are attempting to go about our lives as best we can.  The long and introspective talks are followed by fun and laughter.  In our opinion, humor is the best way to go about dealing with a serious illness.  Humor and sarcasm can go a long way in taking the ‘edge’ off serious health related issues.    While we want to be politically correct, we want to be able to talk freely about what we are dealing with because this disease has a profound affect on both of us.  We are in this together, side by side…one by one.  There is no other way to deal with this than head on; we are present to each other in our words, actions and deeds.  While I can’t feel his ‘pain’, I can’t let it go unnoticed either.

During our discussions this week, I have learned that there is a 20% co-pay for the radiation treatments.  Florida insurance can be tricky; yet luckily there are terrific resources available in Florida for seniors.   The Aging and Disability Center of Broward County is a great source for us http://www.adrcbroward.org/ as is my old stomping ground…Broward County Elderly and Veterans Services…http://www.broward.org/eldervets/Pages/Default.aspx.

I am often amazed at how few people (seniors) access services that are available; hence the need for an advocate!   20% is quite a bit for someone who is on a fixed income to come up with on a moments notice.   What does one do when their insurance will not pick up the entire tab?   Our country can give millions of dollars abroad, yet at times, we have trouble taking care of our own.  It can be perplexing?

When one is dealing with the trauma of being sick and having cancer; all their efforts should be focused on getting better.  Having an advocate will help alleviate the burden of all the ‘red-tap’  that comes with dealing with insurance companies, multiple health care providers and the such.   I often wonder and have seen it for myself…’How does a senior, or anyone for that matter,  fend for themselves when they are sick and  alone?’  Some are to proud to reach out for help;  some families are too scared and broken to know when, or ever worse, how to help.

Senior care is a big money making business; while there are plenty of wonderful, mission driven  non-profit organization  caring for seniors,  there are other organizations who make their health care decisions based on the financial bottom line.  My advice is to choose wisely; hence, another need for an advocate…hence the need for love, passion and commitment.

The advances in Medicine has far outweighed the advances in caring for our seniors.  People are living longer and money does not go as far as it once did.  I often chuckle when I hear the debate in regards to Social Security reform.  How many people recall that when FDR started to implement the Social Security System, the average age expectancy was in the late 50’s early 60’s. Of course it was a good deal at the beginning…how many people lived beyond the average age expectancy?  According to the Census Bureauhttp://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0102.pdf the average life expectancy today  is 79.5.  I’ve never been a math whiz, yet looking at the life expectancy in the 1930’s versus today, there is a 19 year difference in the life expectancy rate over the past 80 years.  Multiply that with the increase of our population…well, I think you know where I’m going with that; the figures are astounding!  It is no wonder the system is broken…

Times have changed, but change is difficult.  The debate will continue in the halls of congress, yet to do nothing, is not taking on the role of an advocate, which in my opinion, is a role our government has often overlooked in today’s political process. While we should not solely relay on our government for aid and assistance; our government should not be the  road block to the assistance as well.    Leadership and advocacy comes hand in hand; you can’t do one without the other.  It is difficult to make decisions based on a need, unless you have experienced that need.  How many politicians have trouble coming up with the 20% down?

At the time of the depression in the 1930’s there was a radical call to action, “million of people were unemployed, and those circumstances led to many calls for change.” If you listen to the news today, that sounds quite familiar.  There is radical call for change, yet the government is to polarized to change. Change will come when the people stand up for it; that does not seem to far around the corner. (Follow the link for some great information on the history of Social Security http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html).

At the time of the great depression and beyond,  families cared for each other,  it was the right of passage.    Grandparents were not set aside, yet celebrated and cared for with honor and dignity and often in the family home.  While families today are ‘different’…we all have to set aside the time to care for each and everyone in our family.  It is our human responsibility to care for those whom we love, and whom we entrust our lives too.

I close this evening with this simple, yet complex analogy of how times have changed over the years.  Using the 30’s as an example…other than medical personnel, no one was allowed in the delivery room at a hospital when a baby was born.  Today, families celebrates the birth of a baby with a ‘welcoming committee’ in the delivery room; it is a beautiful event.  In contrast, in the 30’s, generations of families lived together in one household, and at the time of death, the wake of a loved one was right at the home of the deceased.  As these important life rituals have changed, we must continue to be mindful of how we celebrate life.

If we are to celebrate life, we need to celebrate all parts of life.  As the birthing process has changed over the years to a welcoming committee of family and friends; too many seniors are dying alone, without much fanfare, without much hope.  As we ponder our future; let us celebrate life to its fullest; let no one go unnoticed at their time of birth or at their time of death.   Because in the scheme of things, that 20% down, pales in comparison to the love and commitment of our family and friends during our entire lifespan; love is what makes life work!

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Filed under Caregiving, Looking into the future, Medical Insurance, Social Security