Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BE PROACTIVE

So the big news this week isn't Mother's Day. But it is certainly about mothers. And what they will do to be there for their kids. Angelina Jolie, sex symbol to the universe has admitted, bravely, to undergoing prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstruction, not because she has cancer but because she has children. She carries the gene that increases her odds of developing the disease and she wants to decrease her odds of not being there as they grow and develop into the people she loves more than anything in the world.

We must be proactive with our decisions to know exactly what our genetic make-up is and how it affects our families. The particular test that she needed was a simple but very expensive blood test. About $3000 of which many insurance carriers pay nothing. Hopefully, the legislation set to commence in 2014, called the Affordable Care Act will allow us testing that ordinarily might be out of our price range.

We must be diligent in questioning family members about our medical histories. Those secrets about why great-grandma died have to come out of the closet. We must be diligent in questioning our healthcare providers about tests that are currently available to us that may indicate whether we have the genetic make-up that might affect our health now and in the future.

We must not be afraid to have those tests, because we are concerned about "finding out something bad". We must be proactive about doing and getting everything we need in order to promote the best healthcare available for us and our families.

The Affordable Care Act is a very controversial political topic. It boils down to what some people think is a right rather than an entitlement. If we want the best medical care that the richest country in the world can provide us, we must be proactive about insisting that this our right and then we must be proactive about actually following through and requesting, if not demanding, what current medical science in the United States  has available to us in order to preserve our good health and perhaps prolong it. It will always cost more to treat the disease than to find out if we may have it.

But I don't think anyone is going to send us vouchers to run off and have elaborate and expensive testing. I can't imagine a time when your insurance carrier is going to sign you and your family up. We must be proactive. For ourselves, our families, our communities and all Americans.

If celebrity brings with the package the courage to be proactive and let everyone know it, then hooray for celebrity and thanks a lot to Angelina Jolie, Debbie Wasserman and your neighbors who have come out to expose themselves for the greater good of their families and their countrypeople.

Campaigns to educate work. I remember the infancy of the stop smoking campaign. An actor, Yul Brenner, suffering with lung cancer, implored the nation, on TV to stop smoking. He made a difference. Former First Lady Betty Ford admitted to her alcoholism on national TV. Countless other celebrities brought awareness to mental illness, prostrate cancer, Alzheimer's, Autism, AIDS and so on.  Now, Angelina Jolie. They were proactive on our behalf, as well as theirs and we must continue the responsibility in order to insure our rights to preventative testing and follow through care. BE PROACTIVE.