*foreward and this is purely my own opinion.
I really do not want to get into politics, particularly because there are far more creditable people other than me who are doing an amazing job of getting into the details. I do want to say this about our current president and administration as it is something that I really cannot wrap my head around. And if you do not want this to be about politics, then think of what I am about to say as a broader message that goes beyond it. (Think of how hard is it to concede to a good idea at work when it comes from someone you do not typically see eye to eye on. Or think of how you often want to defy good advice because it is coming from your parents, or sibling, or whoever). So, please, hear me out.
I keep waiting for a strong argument from ANYONE about why Trump is the right choice for President. The only reasons I have heard so far from those who voted for him are that our government needs a change and people hate Hillary so much, they rather have voted against her. So here’s the thing, voting for Trump and bringing him into office is going to mean A LOT of detrimental impacts to what should be our basic rights to live. I’m talking about things like women’s rights and health insurance. I would find it hard pressed to find anyone who feels insurance in particular is a non-issue and it’s advisable to make (negative) changes to it. And if someone does, then perhaps they are living in an idealistic world where they only seek medical assistance maybe yearly for their annual check-up. For many of us though, we rely on insurance for so much more. We are people and well LIFE HAPPENS. We are not all in perfect health, and the idea to me that someone will be penalized by any pre-existing conditions is just not something I will ever be okay with. Or the idea that someone else will chose for a woman what she should or should not do to her body when that person has no idea what a woman’s situation might be, is incredulous.
We need to make informed choices and look past WHO is doing what. I feel that people voted Trump and it’s cutting of their noses to spite their face kind of a thing. Ok so fine, Hillary lost. They got what they wanted… but I question if they really understand what it is that they gained (or lost).
Ok so now that I got that out of the way…
I am really excited to have my first ever guest writer on my blog, my amazing, lovely, and ferocious friend, Rebecca Weiner. She approached me to help edit something she wrote and as I read it, I immediately wanted to be able to post it on her behalf (which she graciously agreed to).
And so without further ado, here is what Rebecca has to say.
I have seen memes floating around every now and then about how everyone is fighting a battle you do not see, so be kind to them. I know what it means. I get it. With so many political postings, speech interpretations, fake news and people discussing their point of views (or downright arguing them), you may not think that the above sentiment applies to you. It does to me though, now more than ever.
I am guilty of posting A LOT on Facebook, typically about workouts, travel, skin care and other things that are what make me who I am. Facebook can be used as an outlet for your humor, to share your lives with your relatives around the country and your friends around the world, to market your business, or make points that you believe in. I personally do not generally post about private things like personal relationships or my family. I am not passive aggressive in what I chose to post nor do I use social media as a way to vent about anyone. And I definitely do not post about my political views or other controversial topics.
One of the typically off limit topics for me that I chose to not post about is living with an illness. Every now and then I might casually throw something in a post, but I’m certainly not advertising my health issues on Facebook as I never want it to be taken as a tactic to gain sympathy. I am not embarrassed by it, but i also do not want it to ever define me.
Having said that, I am compelled to share with now about my illness as it really drives home a point that coincides with the current political climate. This is 100 percent completely and totally out of the box for me, but if there is ever the time to go against my own normalcy, it is now. I was diagnosed a few years back with Hashimoto’s and that means that I live with this day to day as it incurable. One in nine women have it, so it is not as rare as you may think. Auto immune diseases like Hashimoto’s affect everyone differently and to different extremes.
One of the more annoying symptoms is brain fog. I’m not talking about not remembering where I left my keys, or why I went to the refrigerator, though that does happen. I’m talking about having a real foggy brain where I cannot remember a word I want to use while talking or writing or where I think I am listening to someone talk and then I realize I completely spaced out and the other person has to repeat themselves. Today’s conundrum: I couldn’t remember if I took my medication for the day, the very same medication that should help in not having brain fog. Hashimoto’s 1: Rebecca 0.
“The fog” has been pretty bad lately, among a host of other symptoms like exhaustion and joint pain, and I refer to it that I’m in the Hashimoto’s cycle. Two weeks I feel “normal’ and then I go through this cycle. Each cycle has a different duration, but regardless, I can expect to experience this again and relatively soon.
The days when I find it impossible to get out of bed before 8:00 AM I know are not going to be good ones. I am an early riser and if I am not up at 5:00 AM, it is safe to assume that cycle has set in. So today I jumped out of bed at 7:30 and I made coffee. Later around noon I walked over to my vanity wondering, “Did I take my thyroid medicine today?” To keep this in perspective, for one, I am a routine person and two, I live in a small studio apartment where I have to be efficient. It is not like I go from room to room all morning making it easy to be distracted by this or that.
Now it is not life or death if I skip a day or take an extra dose. It’s just so ironic that the main thing I have to do to try to keep my thyroid levels normal, is take medication every single day, but one of the symptoms of having a low thyroid, is brain fog! (Disclaimer: I am not looking for tricks or advice on how you remember to take your meds in. Keep reading for the real point of this).
Ok so here we are, January of 2017. We have a new President. As an American, I do intend to support him. I more than whole heartedly support the women who marched for women’s equality. I have very passionate and specific views about the Supreme Court and what could happen over the next four years, but I want to focus on one particular issue to me, that this change in ‘power’ really resonates. It will not only impact me personally but millions of other Americans. So as you read this, please note this is not a story just about me. It is the story of so many of us.
Pre-existing conditions. Have you heard the term? I do not know if everyone reading this is old enough to remember, but before The Affordable Care Act, if you had any lapse in coverage AND had a pre-existing condition, you would have a hard time getting health insurance, much less at an affordable rate. Diabetes? Disability? Chronic health condition? Nope. Nope. Nope.
According to Think Progreses ( https://thinkprogress.org/), one in four non-elderly Americans have pre-existing conditions- that’s 52 million Americans. In just one night, six essential health benefits were taken away by the GOP and this is one of them. If you have a lapse in coverage because you lose your job and you cannot afford COBRA in between jobs, or perhaps you are currently a 1099 and do not have health insurance because you can’t afford it right now, I strongly advise you get on a plan NOW.#getinsured
If I should be unfortunate enough to lose my job and I cannot afford to go on cobra in between jobs, or I quit my job for whatever reason and do not have insurance for 6 months, when I try to get it again due to the recent vote and repealing of the pre-existing conditions clause, it is highly likely that any medical expenses relating to my Hashimoto’s will NOT be covered. When I think about all the medications I take, the frequent doctors’ visits, the out of pocket expenses I incur (because remember, Hashimoto’s is going to be with me FOREVER), it petrifies me to think I may NOT BE COVERED. Will the following be covered: Monthly blood work? Specific blood tests for my thyroid levels? CAT scans or MRIs? Rheumatology visits, endocrinology visits, orthopedic visits… Should I go on?
While I was diagnosed relatively recently, about 4 years ago, I have always been aware of this pre-existing condition clause, and because I am one of those better-to-be-safe-than-sorry kind of people, I have always made sure I never lapsed in insurance. Now more than ever, I know I have to continue to be diligent and never risk being uncovered for Hashimoto’s (and asthma, but let’s not even discuss).
There are five other major major health initiatives that were taken away for people by the GOP in the vote a couple days ago.
Are you still under your parents health insurance? You better get your own pretty quick because that was repealed. Are you on birth control? Republicans blocked the continuation of a savings initiative the affordable care act enforced, through it women saved approximately $255 per year on the pill. So expect your birth control prices to go up!
I am not going to iterate back everything I read, but my point? Educate yourself. Think about what all of this means. Republican or Democrat. Republicans say they want to replace Obamacare with something better, yet in just one night the new administration has indicated that they ARE NOT willing to take a stand to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions, women, children, veterans, young adults, people with disabilities, and struggling families can continue to access affordable coverage that they will need going forward.
This may not seem relevant or important…. for you. But it is for me and millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions ranging from diabetes to pregnancy.
I share this now because it is my way of saying I hope we all see there is so much more at stake than one issue. There is so much more at stake than one tweet, and one incorrect sentence, or one SNL skit. Everyone has their own point of view and everyone has something to win or lose. I do not typically post such strong opinions. This is personal to me and I want to bring to light that these things that are relevant in choices we make.
Many people who voted may not think anything about how that decision may negatively impact them, but perhaps they need to think beyond themselves. Maybe it is not them who is dealing with health issues, but it could be their mothers, their daughters, their friends, their neighbors.
This matters. They matter. You matter. I matter.