On Life and Death: Preventative Measures and the Reality of it All

Have you ever sat there and thought about how you are going to die? I can’t tell you how many times I have sat there and considered exactly what type of cancer I might get, or what disease might ale me when I am middle aged. My father died of cancer when he was 42 years old. I have never taken that situation lightly because we have no idea what caused it. His father is on his death bed with Alzheimer’s disease and having previously fought cancer himself. This basically tells me one thing; I’m screwed unless I do the absolute best to keep myself healthy and active as well as get checkups every year. I recently had a revelation… I have to work out or I AM going to die young, and that is a very scary thought.

Thinking about death really frightens me. I know a lot of people say, “don’t think about it and enjoy life.” How can I do that when so many people I know have died much too young? I don’t understand how people can just not worry about dying. Cancer, amongst many other diseases are so prominent now that I just can’t help but be a hypochondriac. I am doing my very best at 22 years old to fight what may be coming my way by exercising and [trying] to eat right, but it is difficult. This country is consumed with unbelievably bad eating habits, and when you grow up eating fried foods, it’s as hard to stop that as it is smoking cigarettes. Actually, I quit cigarettes cold turkey, but the bad food is like a harder drug and it is rough.

I recently heard about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, thats a really good preventative measure considering she was at an 86% risk of breat cancer.’ But how the hell could someone like me afford the test to check for that? On top of that, the plastic surgery to undergo a DOUBLE MASTECTOMY. I read an interesting article today about this and the fact that it pissed a lot of women off because of the fact that it is so unrealistic. Taking the time off of work to undergo the surgery and the 20,000 out of pocket to cover it is just ridiculous. I mean good for her, but most insurance companies won’t cover that type of preventative care. That makes me so angry. Which leads me to another topic… how can women prevent cancer if the overpriced insurance companies won’t pay for the fucking preventative measures?

Okay, yes, according to Healthcare.gov, insurance companies are mostly mandated to cover mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, but this is not the same as understanding your exact risk percentage and what can be done now to avoid possible cancer in the future. Mammograms are there to tell you if you HAVE cancer, but not if your going to get cancer. This is bull. We should be entitled to the genetic testing that screens for the BRCA1 gene for free. This would allow us to take action now, rather than when it is too late. Not everyone undergoes mammograms, or other screenings, and this would prevent many problems, but I don’t see the government mandating the insurance companies responsible for this.

It truly is unfortunate, because I would like to see that middle class working women and lower class women have the same chance of fighting a possible grim future, just like Angelina Jolie. Right now this doesn’t seem like something that is in the near future, but with the right tactic, maybe someone can start a fund for those who can’t afford the test or insurance that will pay for the test.

Anything is possible, and I believe that ANY preventative measure should be made available to those who cannot afford it.