The Daily Beast Article – And a Few Comments From Me

Screen cap from The Daily Beast website

Last week, I submitted my story to The Daily Beast – a news reporting and opinion website. They accepted and it was posted on their website today. You can read it by clicking here.

It tells, in less than 1,000 words, a journey that took place over twenty-seven years. Sufficed to say, it was a tiny snapshot of what has taken place over almost three decades. I could not have possibly gone into all angles, options and reasons for my choice in such a short article.

For those who have been following my story, you may know there are those in the medical community who disagree with the type of surgery I had. The so-called strongest argument is that it is not necessary due to cost. da Vinci robotic single-site hysterectomy is more expensive than its counterparts: full open abdomen or laparoscopic surgery, costing $2,000 to $3,500 more (where my procedure was performed).  If I had had the opportunity sooner, I would have saved much more than those figures by not having to seek answers from doctors who didn’t know how to help me. Whether I would have saved it by having lap instead is up for debate. Still, one must wonder why that has not been factored in.

My husband and I have medical insurance that afforded me the opportunity to be part of cutting-edge history. I don’t think that I am the only one who finds the irony in the way we treat medical care in the United States; we fault those who have no insurance for sucking our system dry while we fault those with insurance for having better medical care options. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

Let me be blunt. I work hard. My husband works hard. Try as some may, I won’t be faulted for using my insurance for its purpose – covering my healthcare and, forgive my lack of eloquence, making me better.

A second argument is that it is not yet proven there is a medical benefit to having da Vinci robotic over the alternatives. Yet there are intangibles and those medical professionals are overlooking the human side of medicine. No scar vs. having to take care of four to give post-op scars, no matter how small they are? Benefit. Of course, I have been called vain for that. Up and walking the day after surgery? Benefit. No painkillers after two and a half days? Benefit. Not to mention less risk of nerve damage and blood loss. I think you get the point.

Further, think about it. This technology is too new to have outcomes from the studies. All medical progress started somewhere. I am proud in San Diego it can start with my surgeon and me.

There is already commentary on the article and on The Daily Beast’s Facebook page. I enjoy other opinions, although I think it’s obvious who they’re coming from. I worked with doctors for many years and some are married to the “medical guidelines” which are constantly evolving. Times are changing and I hope they remember that changing with them is why cancer remission rates are growing, HIV is no longer a death sentence and diabetics have more options in their treatment choices than ever.

To sum it up, the train has left the station. So as a wise man once said to me, hop on or get run over by it! Choo Choo! UPDATE 4/1/2014: The train rolls on.