I try not to talk politics here. This is a breast cancer blog after all. But I have pause our regularly scheduled programming. Something important has happened.
Most of you know by now but Donald Trump has won the United States presidential election. Our country is shocked. Even those who voted for him didn’t really think it was going to happen. For many of us, it is the unthinkable, the worst case scenario. But I don’t want to get into that here. I don’t want to talk about right and wrong, educated and uneducated, bigoted and accepting. My views are strong, that’s for sure.
What I want to talk about is how this election has felt so much like getting breast cancer (hear me out) and what it could mean for those with cancer and pre-existing conditions.
I started out on Tuesday, November 8th with so much hope. I took my son with me to vote in the morning and we cast our vote for Hillary Clinton. I was shaking with excitement because I believed she was going to be a great president, we were helping to shatter the glass ceiling and because Oliver wanted to help me do it. Oliver and I spent the day doing wonderful things around the city; going to Chinatown to find Oliver Street, going to Bryant Park to ride the carousel, eating too many treats. It really was special.
But after I put Oliver to bed, with the promise of a beautiful tomorrow, things started to turn. By 9:30, things were not looking good. My stomach started to sink. The rest of the night, the waiting game, was like waiting for my cancer diagnosis. I know that sounds dramatic but the feeling was similar. The same dread. The same lack of control. The same deep knowing of what was coming. Like the time of my diagnosis, I started to cry and I didn’t stop. I didn’t sleep.
By 2:30am, I had gotten one hour of broken sleep. The announcement was made. I was devastated. I didn’t sleep again. Just like my diagnosis.
The next day, like many New Yorkers, I was in a daze. I wavered between shock, denial and devastation. Just like my diagnosis.
And just like my diagnosis, days later, I am ready to fight. I have fought the cancer within my body and now I’m ready to fight the cancer in our society. Consider my gloves on!
No matter where you stand politically, if you are reading this blog, we all have something in common; a pre-existing condition. I am so lucky to be on my husband’s wonderful insurance. I am in a good place. But there are so many who are part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) who stand to lose so much. I know that Trump recently said that he will protect those with a pre-existing condition. But he has flip-flopped so much, we can not trust anything he says. I can see him saying “I never said I’d protect people with pre-existing conditions. That costs way too much money!” And even though I have my husband’s insurance, it’s always possible that he could lose his job. And then what? That frightens me and I think it should frighten you.
I don’t have any solutions now. Words of advice or comfort. I’m not there yet. These things just need to be said.
I hope that no matter how you voted, we can come together and love each other. I really do hope this. Because come January, we will need each other more than ever.