For the last several years, I've read Brian Buck's weblog and marvelled at the energy and optimism he mustered during a fight with osteosarcoma that began nearly five years ago.
Buck died April 7 at age 33.
His whole site's worth a read, but here are a few of my favorite entries:
He wrote often about his illness, both in personal and pragmatic terms. Advice from a January 22, 2003 entry in particular ought to be shared, as people spread this sad news:
Dave: "$400 a month -- I asked what it would cost if I didn't have insurance. $400 per month. And that's just one drug."
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Chemotherapy can cost up to, and sometimes even over, $25,000 a week.
If you don't have good private health insurance, you are not going to be seen by anyone but the complete bottom of the barrel MDs. And this won't be at a nice facility, it will be at the shitty hospital in town, you know, the one on the 5 o'clock news where people die all the time of simple, treatable diseases like bronchitis.
My friend's husband died of lymphoma because the crappy HMO he was being "treated" in completly screwed up. They claimed to not know what was wrong with him. When he finally paid out of his own pocket to see a doctor at Sloan Kettering, he was Stage IV, it was too late, and he died.
Then factor in you are not working. If you do not have disability pay, forget about getting paid for a long, long time.
If you are the main earner in the house, count on being financially ruined without a disability policy. Count on cutting corners on your treatment since you don't have any more money and are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
This is scary as hell! Trust me, I was a figure of health before I was diagnosed with bone cancer: never got sick, had a decent weight, exercised semi-regularly, ate healthy, and I was only 29 years old in the prime of my life. And like Dave, before any of this happened to me, I was completely clueless.
Fact is, cancer and most diseases do not discriminate. Rich, poor, black, white, fat, skinny, healthy, sickly -- it does not matter and it could happen to anybody, anytime.
It was never my intention to get cancer. But here I am. And so far I have been extremely lucky to have excellent health and disability coverage. I am 100 percent sure that I would be dead already if I had worse insurance.
If you don't believe me, and want to research this further, begin reading with this Google search. It will open your eyes.
Wow, Brian was a brilliant photographer! I was really moved by his post about the "language of mourning." Thanks for posting about him.
Rest in Peace Brian..
Thanks for putting that together; it is nice. I chatted with Brian a few times, following his progress on his site.
I'm sad to hear this, but glad that his struggle is over.
A wonderful tribute, Rogers. I checked in on Brian's blog now and again to see how his fight was going. I am so sorry to hear he's gone. Thank you for pulling together these great pieces for us to exprience.
Thanks for the kind words.
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