As the Congressional hyenas laughed on the White House lawn, celebrating their pyrrhic health care victory with their Hyena In Chief, all around our country many were experiencing frissons of fear.  These Republican analinguists of wealth, had finally managed to initiate the start of their mission to ensure that the wealthiest 1% of Americans will no longer have to pay anything like their fair share in taxes.  This is the true meaning of Repeal and Replace.  While Jimmy Kimmel waxed eloquent on the issue of how children with life threatening health conditions will be hurt by the Republican travesty,  Kimmel is a wealthy and famous man, so we know that one way or the other his son will receive the best possible treatment in his lifetime.  What about other people of lesser income and status?  Here is a brief story from one such person, Mark Sumner of DailyKos, which I am re=publishing here.  Sarah, who is Mark’s wife,  suffers from Primary Mediastinal B-cell Lymphoma.  Here is her story from DailyKos today.

“For more than twenty years, my wife ran every day. Ran or shine, summer or winter, she pounded out six miles each morning, often when I lazed around or stumbled through my morning routine. 

When, just a few months before her fiftieth birthday, she complained to me that she was having trouble keeping up her usual speed, I only grinned. She was getting close to fifty. That seemed normal enough. When she told her doctor she was having a lot of pains in her back, and having trouble sleeping, he blamed impending menopause. She was close to fifty.

Then she got sick on the way to the middle school where she taught science for even longer than she’d been running. By the end of that day she was in a hospital, where she leaned over the table used to serve meals, and a doctor put a huge needle into her back and took out the almost two liters of fluid that had filled her left lung. When I asked what could cause this, the doctor only shrugged. “Probably a tumor.”

It was Primary Mediastinal B-cell Lymphoma, a kind of cancer that usually affects younger people. The tumor in my wife’s chest was bigger than a one-liter soda bottle. It was not only causing her lung to fill with fluid, it was pressing against her heart. Untreated, it was within days of killing her.

But it wasn’t untreated. Because we had good health insurance, she was able to go to Siteman Cancer Center, where Dr. Nina-Wagner Johnston, now at Johns Hopkins, where she’s the Director of Lymphoma Drug Development, was ready with the best treatment.

That treatment was incredibly harsh. Television characters may go through such experiences with a quick montage. Sarah went through hell. For one week out of three,  she wore a backpack filled with toxic fluids measured in gallons. Pumps forced this horrible brew into her through a port on her chest, day and night, for five days at a time. It went on for months.

But, because she had good insurance, most of those months were at home, with nurses that came out to see her in her bedroom, rather than her going to them. And because she had good insurance, one part of that brew was a special monoclonal antibody custom-designed to fight B-cell carcinomas. Because she had good insurance, we could afford the treatment that was $20,000 a bag. And the shot was $9,000 per injection.

Because she had good insurance, this June she will visit another doctor at Siteman, and if, as in the past four years, there’s no sign of renewed activity, they will change the status on her report from “in remission” to “cured.”

Sarah’s survival is a miracle that I’m thankful for every day. But she’s not a TV character. The whole episode — the cancer, the chemo, the massive doses of steroids, the bone-wracking pain caused by drugs intended to boost her immune system — it beat her up in every way. She doesn’t run any more. Not six miles. Not one. She tried to go back to teaching just weeks after the chemo, but by the end of that year it was clear she’d need to take early retirement. And when her job went away, so did that good insurance.

Because of the ACA, we were able to continue her insurance. Republicans in the House just voted to kill my wife. Jason Smith, in Missouri District 8, you voted to kill my wife. I won’t forget that.“

If they did nothing more than pass this abominable Bill, these Republican purveyors of greed and duplicity need to be cast out of office. The truth is that they are doing and will do so much more that is harmful to 99% of us all and the planet we live on.  We should never forget that and we should take our revenge by casting them out of power.

Resist!

 

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