Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Opposing View

I recently began to read one of Suzanne Somer's books.
In it, she interviews a number of people who support
alternatives to Chemotherapy.

One of the things that I find fascinating about it is that
those who are for alternatives are VERY passionate,
and believe in what they are saying, and seem to be
making a difference for those they treat.

They are very much at odds with the current climate
and institution of medicine.

It made me think of myself.

In my experience as a hypnotist, I have often found
myself at odds with the "institution" of hypnosis.
Some people have claimed that I should get training
because I believe what I do.  The fact is I DO have
training, but my experience tells me otherwise.

My experience puts me in the same place as those
doctors who practice alternative types of treatment.

Two sides.  Who is right?

I never said the other side is wrong, as I do not
believe they are.  What I am saying is that there is
more to the story that, when left out, can be misleading.

In regard to medicine, I have no chance to ever become
a doctor at this point in my life, but if I did, I would
be indoctrinated in the same way that anyone who
goes into a profession is.

It is those who are willing to see things differently
that often can make the differences.  Of course,
the illusion of time passing will say something, but
I am not sure that it will reveal who was necessarily
right or wrong.

All it will do is reveal what came to be.  Nothing is
absolute.  Nothing is certain.  No one has THE
answer.  Whether or not it is time for me to leave
is something that no human can answer with
absolute certainty.  Whether or not there is
someone or something else that knows, I haven't
a clue.

I suppose the key is for me to take one moment
at a time, one step at a time.  In some ways, it is
no different than it was before that conversation
I had with the doctor around noon this past Monday.

I am just a bit more keenly aware that the clock
will not forever keep ticking for me in this body.
Something I always intellectually knew...but now
has become a much deeper part of my awareness.

Funny how that happens.  I have heard of people
becoming aware of their mortality, and the lessons
that were learned.  They sounded wise.  They
sounded good.  They sounded heartfelt.  Practical.

Now they not only sound like mine, they are mine.


When I was packing, I thought about carrying my camera.

Every trip I take, I take my camera.  I love to take pictures.

I thought about it a minute, but it was an easy decision to
make:  no camera.

A few times I have wondered if I may have missed out on
an experience spending it behind the lens.  I wanted to be
present for this experience.  I suppose I could find things
to take pictures of, but what if doing that took me away from

I am trying to balance going within and also looking without.
Since arriving at the place that brought me to this center, I
have been asked about my mental health.  I have been
asked if I have gone for therapy.

I have been to therapy in my life, and quite frankly, for
me, it hasn't been all that helpful.  Right before I began
this post, I was watching a video with Christoper Titus,
a stand-up comic.  He mentions therapy, and says that
his therapist would acknowledge what he said, and then
asked what he thought.  Chris said something to the
effect of I am paying you $150 an hour, I want to know
what YOU think.

I am of that same mind.  I didn't find therapy to be very
helpful because I didn't get to know what the other person
thought.  I want to know what others think; it helps me to
bounce it off of what I think.  Sometimes I have strong
reactions, and sometimes I don't.  But the process of
speaking with someone else who is willing to share can
SOMETIMES be helpful.

I say that because there are times that is isn't.  Having said
that, though, those times are usually the times that what is
being said is unsolicited.  For instance, a friend of mine telling
me that I should get a "JOB," and specifically telling me that
this week.

Her heart is in the right place, but we have had several
conversations about it, and no matter how many times I
tell her it doesn't make sense to do it, and that just because
I pursue it, doesn't mean it will happen, she has brought it
up more than once.

This was not the time to do it again.

I took a deep breath in (as deep as I could right now, any
way) and told her that I did not want to discuss it.  I felt
the shift in my body, and it was not a good one.  I did not
have the energy to pursue the conversation.  Not now.

I suppose I should tell you that I work as a hypnotist and
life coach.  That means I work on my own.  That means
there is no steady paycheck.  That means varying
"paychecks."  That means A LOT of work.  That means
paying for my own insurance which is currently at $560
PER MONTH.  That means a lot of things - some good,
some great, and some harder to deal with.

I have a hard time with the "JOB" conversation, especially
given what is going on in our culture right now.  Not to
say that a "JOB" isn't the answer for SOME, but it seems
that for many it appears to be the ONLY answer, and when
there is a job, there is a fine line to walk so one might keep
it, but at the same time lose their soul.

Of course, these are broad sweeping generalities, and I am
not a big fan of them.  Every person and situation will
vary.  At the same time, when there is a form of societal
hypnosis that says a "JOB" is the way, the paradigm all
too easily sucks people into it.

I don't know what the answer is for me going forward.
I am concerned about my future.  I was also concerned
about it before all of this happened.  The difference now
is that my current situation is in some ways FORCING
me to look at things and interact with them differently.

While I love what I do, there are some elements I have
not been happy with, and have been coping with them
in the same way that many cope with a job.

I can't do that any more.  I won't do that any more.  I
knew I wanted it to change - just wish it didn't have to
come this way.  I knew I wanted to take better care of
myself too and, ironically, this is also compelling me in
that direction.

On Monday I am scheduled to meet a pastor type of
person.  The place I go to tries to treat the "whole" of
me.  I am not sure how I feel about this.  I am "spiritual"
and not "religious."

I believe in a bigger picture, at the same time I am
pretty certain I am a part of it, and that there isn't
something that exists that I am disconnected from.

I say it this way because I really don't know what IS.
I have struggled to KNOW what IS.  There are some
who are so confident about what they believe, given
their experiences.  There are others equally confident,
but lean in a totally different direction.

Who is to say who is RIGHT?

I believe that to be part of the dilemma in the world
at large.  As a human we seem to believe that what
we believe to be the best and what is right is what
others should believe.  As a result, we judge and
gauge others.  As a result, there are major upsets
and conflicts that pull humanity apart.

How easy it can be to negate another's beliefs and
experiences when it is something our own personal
experience seems to dictate otherwise.

I realize it is the consistencies that seem to help us
to move forward, at the same time it strikes me that
they also have an equal possibility to limit us.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's All About...?

It's all about...me?

Today I am heading to the place that will diagnose and treat me.
My sister is going to meet me there. I have a niece she wants to
bring with her. We have several discussions about it. I realize

she may want to bring my niece as a part of HER support structure,
but I am uncertain about how I feel about her knowing what is
going on. I wasn't quite clear about what it was about her knowing.
Part of it might be her age. Part of it may have to do with the fact
that it is possible that what we say and think has energy, and I can't
help but wonder what energy a young teen might bring to the situation.

But as I was talking to my sister, I realized that at the moment, I have
very little I can appear to control, so I want to seem to control as much
as I can. Every adult that I have spoken, I have chosen to tell. I have
also asked them to please send me good thoughts instead of worry
when they think of me. Who knows what they did with it, and if they
will? But they are adults, so perhaps there is a better chance that they
will do as requested, and therefore a better chance for the illusion
to be maintained.

During my last conversation with my sister, she also encouraged
me to stay up in NY with a friend after my surgery...that way she
would better be able to help. "So it is all about you?" I asked. She
got kinda defensive. "That was a joke." It was. And. It wasn't.

 She wants to be able to be there for me. Where I live doesn't make
it easy. I don't know what kind of shape I will be in after the surgery,
but it likely won't be all that great. It would be nice/helpful to have
someone to help me. My friend who lives with me might be able
to help, but I am already asking him for more than I want to.
I am sensitive to how he may be feeling throughout this.

I share this because some friends have said this is all about me, and
that I need to stand up for myself.  At the same time, if standing up
for myself (if that is what it is) might have me standing alone.  It
also could be that they might conform in the interest of helping me,
but at the same time, it seems to make sense to consider that there
is no experience that is truly and completely one dimensional.  Not
even one like this.

Perhaps that is a good thing?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

About Me and My Insurance

I am a single woman who is independently employed who pays a whopping $560 per month to have access to health insurance.  Many times people have asked me why I don't drop it.  What is happening to me now is exactly why.

My insurance sucks.  I have a high ($3000) in-network deductible, and even higher ($6000) out-of-network one.  I go online to find the right doctors from their network, and constantly call my insurance company to find out information, and am always battling them in terms of things that should be paid, but haven't been.  There is almost always some sort of situation that requires my efforts.

When I recently went for a cat scan I was on the phone ahead of time.  I had to find out if my insurance paid for it, or if I would.  I learned a few years ago that one person could tell me one thing, but then someone else would say something else, so I was prepared to call back more than once.

Before I go on with the current situation, let me share with you about my previous one - just in case it would be helpful to anyone who might be reading this.  My doctor had sent me for a large amount of blood work.  I needed to know where to go.  I called my insurance company and was told that I could go anywhere that was considered in-network.  So I found a place, and I went.

Well!  I got socked with a $2000! blood work bill.  Aghast, I called my insurance company - several times - and go no where, but annoyed, fast.  There was no reason I should have to pay the bill.  But everyone was insisting it was MY responsibility.  I was on the verge of surrendering when I asked a key question, "What do I need to do next time to avoid this?" "You need to go to -----" DING DING DING!  So, why didn't someone tell me that in the first place?  Well that gave me the ammo I needed.  I had to write to the company and explain my case, and ultimately they realized I, as the consumer, wasn't explained things correctly.  So they paid the bill.

It was this memory that I took with me when I called about the cat scan.

First person told me that it was a part of my deductible and copay.  

Second person told me that as long as it was unattached to a hospital, and not a hospital, it would be covered by my insurance.

Sure, I liked that answer, and I could have left it there.  However, I wanted someone to validate the info.  It would be quite a costly error, if she was wrong.

Third person adamantly claimed that the first person was correct.

Fourth person, too.

I called again, and got lucky, I got person number 2 on the phone.  It's not like I didn't trust her, but I needed validation.  She was so certain.  She had me hold, got validation, and returned.  I asked her to make a note in my account specific to her findings, which she did.


So about 10 days later I called again.  There was something else I needed to ask that I couldn't remember the answer, or if I had asked.  In the process of doing this, I decided to have the person make a note that based on the information that was provided, and the research I had done, I was going to go have a ct scan with the full expectation of it being covered.

In the interest of this person being helpful, she tells me that it will be a part of my deductible, despite what the note/other person said.  I was more than annoyed.  I couldn't leave things like that now.  If I went for the test, and the last thing I was told was that I would have to pay for it, then I likely would be responsible.  I waited forever for her to come back to me, only to be told that she had to have her supervisor contact me - in 24-48 hours.  WHAT?  No way was that acceptable.  But it was all she was giving me.  I then asked to SPEAK to the supervisor, and just as I heard his voice after a long hold, our call was disconnected.

I called back again, and went straight to the supervisor who ultimately confirmed that what was in the note was correct.

*Dang insurance company*

Why can't they train their employees on how to properly assess someone's plan?  I most assuredly cannot be the only person who has gone through this kind of thing!  I certainly never need the aggravation, and even less so when not feeling well.

I had also found a doctor on their site who was supposed to take my plan.  When I got to his office, I found out, after being there an hour, that he only takes it, if the insurance plan is locally based.  Why aren't these things spelled out somewhere?  This person may or may not be your doctor, it all depends on which way the wind blows.

I realize that is an extreme statement, and silly, but why is our system so convoluted and complicated?  What kind of incredible monster have we created around an industry that is supposed to be taking care of people?  Instead it seems to do a good job of taking them for a ride.  

I remember hearing something once about how a lot of creditors will be happy to give you an umbrella when the sun is out, but the minute it rains, are more than happy to take it away.  It seems as though our health insurance industry is also like that.  So many people who need the coverage are either denied or in some cases, their insurance taken away.  I am not going to say that government is the answer, but there has to be an answer that somehow is better than the one we currently have.   I just wish someone would come up with it.

Of course, you may think if it was that simple, then I could be that someone.  Well, maybe I could be.  The problem is we all have our things and limitations in life, and right now as much as this makes me very frustrated, it isn't a hill I can currently climb.  At the same time, if insurance companies could at least be more consumer friendly, it would certainly be a start.

A New Me

Two days ago, May 14, 2012, I was told there is a good chance that I have cancer.

I have, perhaps prematurely, been telling people that I do have cancer.
Apparently, you need a biopsy to know for sure.

I would like to be wrong.  Perhaps I am.  I will find out in a few days, as I am
going to be going to a place that has a great reputation when it comes to
cancer treatment.  They will assess, and if they need to, slice.

Quite frankly, given the way I feel, and have been feeling, I know something
is really NOT right.  I even went as far to look into suing for malpractice because
of the way that my doctor had treated me, and didn't.

Let me be clear about something:  I DO NOT like doctors.  I go to them as a
last resort.  I DO NOT like hospitals.  I was in one a few years back, and was
not happy with the food they were providing me.  Almost everything offered
had high fructose corn syrup in it.  How could they not know how bad it is
for people in general - and I would imagine it even worse for someone
who was trying to get better.  But that experience in its totality may be
something to talk about another day.

Although, I do have to say, much of that experience has played into how I
have interacted with the events of the last few months, so it may be a more
suitable conversation than I initially thought.

At this time, though, I wanted to just begin to share the beginnings of this new
journey.  I have told a few people about the idea of this blog who do not know
things about me that I begin to share.  As I write, I wonder if it will prohibit me
from being as forthcoming as perhaps I should.  Fortunately I have yet to share
the address of this blog, so I don't have to be so quick to tell them.  I kind of
think there may be more value in open sharing.  I have no idea who will
eventually show up here, but details are often the parts that people relate to.
At the same time, they are also the things that limit and label us, too.

This is where things begin.  That is one of the few things I know for sure.
Another thing is that, as odd as it may sound, I feel a bit excited.  I love to
learn, and there is much that I am learning and exploring in the last couple
of whirlwind days.  It helps that it seems that what I have isn't one of those
"death sentence" types of cancer.  I am hopeful to move through and move
on from what is happening.   It also helps that I am educating myself, and
will have things to pull on when it comes time to discuss things with the

Much more to come.  Just have to unjumble the mess in my mind.  So many
things I want to talk about.

Onward and Upward.