Monday, September 15, 2014



I hope you’ll all bear (or should that be bare, I never know for sure) with me because today’s post might be a tad bit long. I’m combining my BATTLE OF THE BANDS post with a post for ‘The Big C Blog Hop’, so let’s get started. One little bitty thing first, please try to visit other participants in ‘The Big C Blog Hop’, you can find the list HERE. As always I hope you will make an effort to also visit everyone participating in BATTLE OF THE BANDS, at last count there were 10 or 11 participants. You can find a list of BOTB participants at the site of Stephen T. McCarthy, also known as the sexiest man on the planet, but clicking HERE

OK, BOTB first…As the title of this blog posts suggests I simply cannot get away from my roots, even when those roots lead to favorite singers who tend to be a bit genre bending. Take one of my all-time favorites for instance; ole’ Willie Nelson. Most of you think of him as Country, and justifiably so, but he has covered a lot of the ‘old standards’ and some gospel too.

Today let’s take a listen to something from his ‘Stardust’ album (Did ya guess that it’s one of my favorites?). Here’s Willis croonin’ ‘All of Me.

Now for a little jazzier version (and done by a girl, whadda ya know?), Miss Sarah Vaughn with the same tune.

 You guys know what to do next and how to do it. Leave me your vote in the comment section and give me your why. Next, mosey on over to STMcC’s site and see what he has selected for his BATTLE. Check out the other participants and should you feel the urge. join on in with your own BATTLE,  be sure to say so in your comment so I’ll scurry on over to your place.

I’ll be back on the 21st with my vote and the final tally. Maybe I'll even tell ya a little bit about 'All of Me', the song not the real me.


Those of you who come by here regularly know how fond I am of talking about myself, so my contribution to ‘The Big C Blog Hop’ was a monumental effort. It’s difficult for me to be specific, but I hope it will somehow manage to be inspirational and/or uplifting. The big question in life isn’t what we have to endure but, how we make it through.

It would be nice to think I was not the only weirdo on the planet who spent more than a few minutes trying to predict how I would react if I was ever told I had cancer. Whether that’s the case or not, it did turn out that all of my personal predictions didn’t even come close to the reality of the situation.

I walked into a strange doctor’s office one afternoon feeling like I was pretty much at the top of my game. I felt good, and thought I didn’t look to bad either. I went to see the doctor for a routine check-up. OK, maybe it wasn’t completely routine; I was experiencing some symptoms that I thought were probably normal changes in my body, but felt that since I hadn’t had a check-up in years, now was as good a time as any. When I made my appointment, I was told that the doctor was too busy to see me, but I could have a going over by a PA, and if there was anything out of the ordinary they would make a follow-up appointment with the doctor when he had time.

The long and short of that arrangement was; after exactly five minutes with the PA doing a physical exam, she ran to get the doctor. Within twenty minutes of my entering the office ‘at the top of my game’, this doctor whom I had just met, informed me that he was doing a biopsy, but was certain I had cancer.

To say that I was in shock was most definitely an understatement. I left that office with the promise that they would call after they had made an appointment for me with a specialist in a distant city. I was afraid to go home. I was afraid to tell anybody. In some remote part of my brain I felt ashamed that I had cancer. Now, how crazy is that?

The first person I did call was a dear friend, who had gone through her own cancer ordeal just two years prior. She was sympathetic and offered encouragement; the biggest encouragement I got, was that she was still alive on the other end of the line. I kept repeating over and over in my mind that cancer was not a death sentence and yet somehow I just knew that ‘I was going to die’.

Here’s something funny; never before in my life had I really – I mean really considered that I was going to die. It’s not funny in the ha, ha, sense, but more in the really odd sense. Let’s face it, my brain kept telling me over and over, everybody is going to die. Life is terminal. But, once someone says you have cancer, you are forced to face the inevitable, sooner than you had planned.

I felt as though I had a lot of decisions to make and yet the most important decision of my life (whether or not my body would turn on me, and my cells mutate into what we know as cancer) was completely out of my hands. Being the type of ‘control freak’ who insists on choreographing my personal destiny, I decided I needed to see exactly what I could control here. Trust me when I say, there wasn’t much. In the end I settled for controlling my attitude.

I made a decision that cancer wasn’t going to take ‘everything’ from me. I decided to be as positive, even if in a morbid sort of way, about every aspect of this that I could. I tried to focus on the positive – easy task, because there wasn’t much there.

In the end I found myself consoling many of my family members and encouraging them to be positive for me. I even had an experience or two of encouraging my doctors. I had some moments of resentment and sorrow. I would find myself crying at odd times, and for no apparent reason (ha! as though I really had no apparent reason), but for the most part, I never doubted that I would beat this cancer into dust, and force it to leave my body one way or another.

I suffered traditional treatment – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It took me years to recover even partially from the treatment. Today I’m still fighting conditions that are a result of chemo and radiation, and finally having some success. I was declared cancer free two years after the initial diagnosis and have done a lot to insure that I will never hear someone again say to me that I have cancer, but you never know for sure.

After my oncologist declared me cancer free he finally ‘fessed up, and told me that my cancer was more advanced than he had initially let on. He also told me that I survived because of my attitude. I was a pain in the ass to the nurses while in the hospital, because I insisted on doing everything my own way and in my own time, but he confided that they all agreed, they had never seen anyone so determined to live.

I’m still determined to live, and live my life, my way. I hope that my way is in accordance with God’s way, because I have no doubt that it is He, who really calls the shots. I live by the motto that ‘Attitude is Everything’, and in my experience, nothing could be more true.

As a postscript you might want to know that I have been cancer free now for fourteen years.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Now don’t get too shocked, or too used to me showing up here between BOTB Installments, but there is something that I just have to talk about.

This has to do with Healthcare. I’m not going to go on about the Obamacare Debacle, BUT there are some things you might want know.

Let me start at the beginning.

If you’ve been reading along here with me, you know that I’ve had some health issues lately. My doctor decided that I need to have a test done, and we all know how expensive those pesky little medical tests can be. What you may not know is that I do NOT have insurance. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m in non-compliance. Not really surprised are you. 

Anyway…I probably should tell you right here and now that a Major Medical Policy is going to cost me $550 a month. This policy has a $5000 deductible (meaning the first $5000 of EVERYTHING), after the deductible is satisfied most things will be at a 70/30 rate. Keep this information in mind, because you’re going to need it later.

Now, back to the doc and the test he wants performed. I asked how much it would cost and he said between $1,200 and $1,500. After he picked me up off the floor, I reminded him that I did not have insurance and could not afford that. He said don’t worry we’ll shop around for you to get a better deal.

‘What the hell does that mean?’ was my reaction. ‘Are we looking for some cut-rate, back-alley, diagnostic center to do my tests’. Doc says, no, no, nothing like that. This is the new medicine. If you go in and tell the hospital or diagnostic center that you have no insurance, but you will pay cash at the time of the test or procedure, they will cut you a deal. How much of a deal, I’m wonderin’? Cause I can’t afford even half of that.

The long and short of it is, the doc’s office called around and got me scheduled. The test is going to cost me $201. Can you believe that? From $1200 - $1500, down to $201. Great news for me, right? Well. Let’s go back and think this through.

Let’s say, I’m not the rebellious sort, and someone who is also more financially solvent, and I am in compliance with the new Healthcare laws. That means I’m paying $550 a month for insurance. Let’s even go so far as to say that at this point in time I’ve satisfied my $5000 deductible. That means my insurance would kick in and pay 70% of $1200 - $1500 for this test. Let’s even say the test cost came in at the lower price of $1200. That means all I would have to pay is $400. But I would have been paying $550 a month all along for the insurance in the first place, plus have shelled out $5000 to satisfy the deductible. 

This means at this date, I would have spent $5000 (deductible) + $550 x 9=$4950 (nine months Jan – Sep for insurance premiums) + $400 (my share 30%) = $10,350, for the exact same test that I’m paying $201 for, all because I can’t afford to be in compliance with the new Healthcare Laws that are going to see that I’m well taken care of.

Now, I know there will be at least one person who will want to jump all over my case and ask me what about being diagnosed with some dread disease. There is a time and place for that Major Medical Policy, I agree, but in the end are we all just gambling that we never have to use it.

My contention is not that we don’t need some form of insurance, but rather let’s look at what the insurance companies, big pharma, and the healthcare industry (provider like hospitals, labs, and diagnostic centers) are doing to us. There is something wrong with this picture. These are the people getting rich off of your misfortune. I also hope you’ll keep in mind it was my doctor who suggested all of this. When he saw my incredulity at the outcome, he explained that the insurance industry wants to blame doctors (and a lot of us do too), but in the end it’s not the doctor who really makes out, but rather the providers.

Also, there are apparently a whole lot more rebels who are in non-compliance, out there, or why would they be offering an alternative like this.

I had one final concern and that was; ‘will I get the same type of treatment and care during this test, as someone who has insurance and is paying ‘full price’. The doc assured me, and from what I can tell with the whole set up of this thing, no one will know, except for those in the finance office.

Welcome to the Brave New World of medical care and costs. This is a real eye opener for me. BUT, if your shocked by this, I encourage you to check out just exactly how many of those ‘dread diseases’ have a cure that is being withheld from you because, treating them is such big business.