Cindy's Multiple Myeloma Blog

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Let the Death Panels Commence


A few weeks back I’d read about the drug Avastin, something about its approval maybe being pulled back. It’s a very expensive drug prescribed as a last-ditch effort for breast cancer patients. It’s not a cure, but it provides an extension of life and quality of life in the hope (that America has no shortage of), that a cure might be obtained.

I’m not in favor of America’s “Obamacare”, though I am in agreement improvement in our existing system is…was needed. I’m not in favor of bureaucracies making decisions about treatments and drugs based on financial records and cost-benefit analyses. That is appalling to me. Anyway, this article shows just how things will work with Obamacare…and this is just the beginning. However, rather than appear all doom & gloom, I have faith in this great country that we’ll either repeal Obamacare and then make incremental improvements that are in the best interest of the patient, the doctor, the hospital, the system, the cost, the debt OR we’ll just remove about 1,990 pages of the 2000 page bill (those #’s are not accurate, but you get my drift…) – and keep the good part.

Perhaps I should have written an entry on the Avastin when I first read about it, as my first thoughts was ‘here we go already’. But this columnist wrote a much better article on the topic than I ever could.

Let the death panels commence
Peter Heck – Guest Columnist – 8/30/2010 10:00:00 AM

On Friday, August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page: “The Democrats promise that a government healthcare system will reduce the cost of healthcare, but [it] will not…it will simply refuse to pay the cost. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide…whether they are worthy of healthcare. Such a system is downright evil.”

The response of Democrats and the media to Palin’s assertion can only be described as outrage. Howard Dean went on ABC and called it “totally erroneous,” concluding, “She just made that up.” Even David Brooks, the closest thing to a conservative the New York Times can bring themselves to hire, proclaimed on Meet the Press, “That’s crazy…the crazies are attacking the plan because it’ll cut off granny, and that – that’s simply not true. That simply is not going to happen.”

And even last week, Newsweek magazine ranked the idea that there would be bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people as one of the “Dumb Things Americans Believe.”

The only problem for Dean, Brooks, Newsweek and the whole lot is that it now appears that under ObamaCare there are bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people.

Take the anti-cancer drug Avastin, which was fast-tracked by the FDA years ago. It is primarily used to treat colon cancer, but is also prescribed now to treat nearly 18,000 women a year who are fighting the late stages of breast cancer. While Avastin doesn’t cure the disease, it can and does significantly lengthen and improve the quality of a victim’s last months. Perhaps to be expected, Avastin is also very expensive, costing up to $100,000 a year.

But now suddenly, despite the stringent objections being made by both the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance on behalf of patients, the FDA is considering removing Avastin from its approved drug list for breast cancer. Such a move would mean ending its coverage by both Medicare and the government program for low-income women.

ObamaCare proponents say this FDA action has nothing to do with the expensive nature of the drug, but rather about questions over its effectiveness. That’s possible…but there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest otherwise.

Consider that if the FDA continues to approve Avastin, it puts the ObamaCare system in a very difficult and awkward position: it could either subsidize the expensive drug for low-income women, or refuse to subsidize it.

If it does the former, the government will be shelling out billions of taxpayer dollars a year for a drug that is increasingly popular, but doesn’t cure the disease. That destroys the promise of ObamaCare to lower costs. But if it does the latter, thereby denying treatment to patients that they could have received prior to ObamaCare, they prove Sarah Palin and conservative critics of the plan totally correct on the issue of rationing.

So to avoid this uncomfortable dilemma, Obama’s FDA simply pulls its recommendation of the drug altogether. This may allow ObamaCare’s supporters the chance to temporarily dodge the political fallout of what they’ve foisted on the American people, but it also devastates the families of nearly 18,000 women who will suffer the deadly consequences.

Is this the vaunted “compassion” our president and his allies promised they were delivering to our healthcare system?

ObamaCare has already devolved into the nightmare we should have seen coming from the moment the president told Jane Strum in a town hall meeting that perhaps her 100-year-old mother should have gotten a pain pill instead of a life-saving pacemaker.

The frightening reality is that this controversy over Avastin is only the beginning. This is what our healthcare system is on the verge of becoming under ObamaCare: battles with faceless bureaucracies who make decisions about treatments and drugs looking at financial records and cost-benefit analyses, not people.

Covering the Avastin story in the Washington Post, reporter Rob Stein begins, “Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.” Highly unusual…until now.

Welcome to Obama’s brave new world where “perhaps you’re better off with a pain pill.” I dare say that for those of us with family members or friends who have battled breast cancer, Sarah’s not looking quite so crazy anymore.

Link to Article above:

6 Comments to

“Let the Death Panels Commence”

  1. October 5th, 2010 at 4:10 pm       Herman Says:

    Let me state at the outset, that you have my sympathy, Cathy. I too have multiple myeloma (Kappa Light Chain). You write: “This may allow ObamaCare’s supporters the chance to temporarily dodge the political fallout of what they’ve foisted on the American people, but it also devastates the families of nearly 18,000 women who will suffer the deadly consequences.” “Is this the vaunted “compassion” our president and his allies promised they were delivering to our healthcare system?” Your Republican solution to the problem was of course to forever do nothing, and allow 45 million Americans to go without any health insurance at all year after year after year. You condemn government bureaucracies making health care decisions regarding what can be paid for, but could you (PRETTY PLEASE) explain how health insurance companies who have over the years shown how greedy they are in the pursuit of profit would be any better? Could you do that, Cathy? Now of course many of the 45 million Americans without health insurance are children, and many are poor. Your “savior,” Jesus Christ, would definitely not want to help these kinds of people, right, Cathy? YES OR NO?

  2. October 24th, 2010 at 5:36 pm       cakassel55 Says:

    I don’t visit this blog often, as I sure seem to receive a lot of spam. It’s become quite a pain in the arse. Anyway, just noticed the response I received to this entry from “Herman”. Thank you, Herman. And we should probably straighten this out up front: My name is not “Cathy”, it’s Cindy. Hello–so nice to meet you. Secondly, you referred to specific comments that you said “I” commented on. No sir, unfortunately I can’t take the credit. I’d reposted an article written by Peter Heck, a guest columnist on “”, where I found the article. (See his name after the word “by” at the beginning of the article?). Then at the BOTTOM of my entry, I included the website of the article. It’s probably a plagiarism thing…I didn’t want to pretend that “I” could write such a good article. Peter Heck hosts a 2-hour daily radio show and…well here…I copied his bio: “Peter W. Heck resides in Kokomo, IN with his wife Jenny, and their daughter, Addison. Peter graduated cum laude from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in both Social Studies Education and Political Science. Then after compiling a perfect academic record, he earned his Masters in Political Science from Ball State University in 2007. Peter has been a public high school teacher since the fall of 2001, teaching courses in American government and American history. In 2005 he was named the Veterans of Foreign Wars Regional Teacher of the Year, and was the state runner-up. In 2008 he was named the General James A. Cox Daughters of the American Revolution District Teacher of the Year for outstanding contributions to secondary education. Besides his teaching career, Peter is an increasingly sought-after public speaker. He has been the featured and keynote speaker at numerous events. His three 4-part series, America’s Foundation of Faith, Pillars of the Faith and A Christian Response to the Unmentionables, have been presented at churches throughout the country. The Peter Heck Radio Show debuted in the summer of 2004 on 1350 AM, WIOU Kokomo which still serves as the program’s flagship station. The show, broadcast from central Indiana, is archived on the internet every weekday immediately following each show. The program’s weekly highlights podcast is followed around the United States. Peter has been heard on nearly 200 radio stations in the country courtesy of American Family Radio Network. Peter Heck is also an opinion columnist, published both online and in several papers. His work appears regularly on the online news site OneNewsNow, and is also featured on nationally read websites like The American Thinker, FrontPageMag, and WorldNetDaily. Through internet syndication, Peter’s columns have been read by millions across the country and world. Peter maintained membership in two professional honor societies: Pi Gamma Mu (political science honor society) and Kappa Delta Pi (educational honor society).” ______________________________________________________ OK, now that we have clear…I believe you asked ME a few questions. Here is my reply. Herman: First you started out with “Your Republican solution to the problem was of course to forever do nothing…” Cindy: I take it you are a Progressive Socialist Democrat then? Herman: “but could you (PRETTY PLEASE) explain how health insurance companies who have over the years shown how greedy they are in the pursuit of profit would be any better? Could you do that, Cathy?” CINDY: Herman, first let’s be clear: The Republicans proposed an alternative bill, one that was nearly 500 pages, and the Democrats wouldn’t even debate it in committee. Second, you say the health insurance companies are greedy? As the table of Profit Margins by Industry shows (see LINK) the industry “Health Care Plans” ranks #114 by profit margin (profits/revenue) at 4.8%. Measured by profit margin, there are 113 industries more profitable than Health Care Plans (includes Cigna, Aetna, WellPoint, HealthSpring, etc.). So–health care plans at 4.8% profit margin, being greedy, especially as compared to other industries? I don’t think so. I’d recommend we allow all the things the Republicans suggested, but the Democrats would not even consider. We need more competition amongst Health Care Plans. Nothing works better than that good ole CAPITALISM. (1) PORTABILITY would be a start. The customer could make more of the calls because the companies would be in competition to provide the best service for the most competitive price? As I read in another blogger’s blog, “And isn’t one reason for a lack of competition that competition for health insurance across state lines is prohibited, creating in effect 50 state health insurance “cartels?” ” WOW. What a concept, huh? Then, (2) TORT REFORM would help, also. The doctors and hospitals can hardly keep up with the liability coverage they must maintain because all of the corruption and fraud. It seems your Democrats are quite close to those frivolous law suit attorneys, you know? If you talk to your doctors and health insurance companies, you’ll find out that the government has imposed so many regulations that they also help to raise the costs. Now Herman, I realize there are times regulations are necessary–but if I were a bettin’ woman-I’d say the government has placed that “hammer on the throats” (a term I picked up from Ken Salazar) of our doctors, hospitals, and health care insurance companies. There were several other ideas the Republicans recommended, I imagine in that 500 pages, but your Democrats aren’t really interested in YOUR health, Mr. Herman. It’s about POWER. Herman:”Now of course many of the 45 million Americans without health insurance are children, and many are poor.” Cindy: How much of that 45 million was ILLEGALS, Herman? They need to work that out in THEIR OWN countries. In the meantime, 85% of people with insurance was considerably happy with the insurance they had. So, that leaves 15%. Herman, does it not make better sense to work on that 15% rather than OVERHAUL our whole system, which happens to be THE BEST HEALTH CARE SYSTEM in the WORLD? We have the best doctors, hospitals, treatments offered, etc. That is why you hear of people (who can afford it) from OTHER COUNTRIES coming HERE–they don’t have to wait in their LONG WAITING lines for life-saving procedures OR they’re told they’re too old & they have a terminal cancer, so in other words–they’re not worth it. That’s what happens in Brittain. There’s another diarist on here who’s husband (with Multiple Myeloma) isn’t eligible for certain treatments because at somewhere in his 60′s…he’s just too old. Second-class…no..maybe that’s a third-class citizen, huh? We have Medicaid–which sucks, by the way, but it’s designed for poor people. Many doctors can not accept Medicaid patients because they can’t afford it; they’re not reimbursed for their actual costs. See, doctors who DO accept Medicaid patients are making up the cost (they’re losing) from patients with private insurance. Medicaid needs to be improved. Medicare also needs to be improved and a good start would be to go after the fraudulant claims. There are options/organizations that help the children. But Herman, from the impression you’ve given me, I don’t think you care all that much about “the little children”. No, I think you’re just trying to bring up the little innocents as a ploy. As a matter of fact, I suspect Herman, that YOU are one of those who might not have insurance. You might be needing a FREE ride? Pardon me if you have run upon hard times and maybe lost your insurance? That’s happened to many people I know–and you know what? They don’t want this crappy Obamacare either. I don’t appreciate your USING “children” as part of your argument, as I can tell…you’re not sincere. Herman: “Your “savior,” Jesus Christ, would definitely not want to help these kinds of people, right, Cathy? YES OR NO?” CINDY: It’s CINDY, Herman, NOT “Cathy”…how many times do I have to tell you. Anyway, it’s sad you slam “our” (yes YOURS and MINE) Savior, Jesus Christ. You know, he loves you, too, even if you are a mean old man. But herman, YES, Jesus does want to help these children as well as the old people, the disabled, the greedy, the kind, the rich, the poor….you see Herman, Jesus isn’t biased at all. He loves everyone of His children. You and I are His children. He is leaving the choice up to us–whether we want his help or not. Good day, Herman.

  3. October 29th, 2010 at 5:06 am       John Cusworth Says:

    Hi Cindy, First of all, I admire your spirit and the way you are coping with your cancer. My father also had Multiple Myeloma and I know the sort of suffering that he went through for the 8 years since he was first diagnosed. He also showed real grit and was an inspiration to those around him. He finally succumbed at the age of 82 after a brave fight. Secondly, congratulations on your rebutal of Herman’s bitter, and uncalled for, tirade against you. Well done! I wish you all the best for your future fight and pray that God will be with you. Regards, John Cusworth Multiple Myeloma Symptoms

  4. October 29th, 2010 at 2:16 pm       cakassel55 Says:

    THANK YOU, John Cusworth. I’m humbled. I guess it showed I was a bit irritated at Herman’s approach. But I appreciate your kudo’s. Sometimes, no matter how spirited I sound-I often feel like a small speck scrappling my way around. I’m so sorry about your father but I rejoice in his ability to inspire those around him and leave a legacy to be proud of. Again, thank you for your support & well-wishes! With God, I can do anything! Take care, Cindy

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Hello! I started this Blog October 13, 2007. At that time I was 52 years old. I am the mother of two wonderful grown sons, both married to wonderful girls. I have three grandsons (as of June 15, 2011).

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Igg October 2005. I was 50 years old. I jogged three miles 3-to-5 times a week and worked out. I was in very good shape.

Before MM, I lived on 17 acres and had 4 horses, 4 dogs, 4 cats, plus barn cats. I completed my MBA in 2002.

I worked for Sprint for 17.5 years before I got sick, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM), and had to go on disability. I was first put on oral treatment of Thalidomide/Dexamethasone from October 2005 to March 2006. In April 2006 I had an autogolous stem cell transplant (SCT), but unfortunately it did not produce a remission. I was then put on Revlimid/Dexamethasone and I responded very well to it (8/06 – 10/07). In December 2005 I had 10 radiation treatments to a tumor at my T8. In March 2006 I had kyphoplasty done at the T8.

If you are a fellow MMr, I hope this blog is helpful to you. Actually, I probably have you more in mind than family or friends. It helps me to read the blogs or talk to fellow MMr’s and compare my symptoms or feelings to theirs. Sometimes we’re similar and often not so alike, but it still helps. We’re not in this alone!

I have a strong faith so God gives me strength, courage, and contentment.

Below is a picture of my boys and me in November 2005, just about one month after I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (MM).

Boys & Me November 2005