Skip to main content

pink ribbons and women

Bear with me as I tell the story of my mom’s breast cancer. I try to stick with issues that impact labor; however, this issue strikes a chord with me and affects hard-working women without health insurance.

In 1989 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was the staff duty driver on duty for the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) that night. My job was to answer the battalion phones after hours and provide a ride for any officer or visiting dignitary if needed. In most cases it meant I was on duty for 24 hours without sleep. I reported to the staff duty NCO, who in this case was SSG Pena, my squad leader.

It was about midnight when the call came. SSG Pena answered the phone, and it was the Red Cross. Calls from the Red Cross were never good—it usually meant serious trouble back home for a soldier. I was shocked when SSG Pena handed the phone to me.

“Corporal Andersen, SSN XXX-XX-XXXX?” she asked me.

“Yes ma’am,” I answered, wondering who in my family was ill, dead or dying.

“Sir, go ahead,” she said.

“Mark,” my dad tried to say through the sobs.

“Yeah dad” I said.

At this point the phone on the other end dropped to the floor. I could hear my dad fighting his emotions in the background, and my sister came on the line. “Mom has breast cancer she just came out of surgery. We need you home.”

With that the Red Cross lady came back on the line and asked to speak to SSG Pena. I gave the phone to him while trying to fight the tears. I had no idea how sick my mom was or what was going on at all. SSG Pena pulled out an emergency leave form out of the desk and filled it out while on the phone with the Red Cross. My leave was approved by the Battalion Commander and by noon the next day I was driving down I-24 as fast as my Ford Escort would go to Madison, Wisconsin with maybe an hour’s worth of sleep in the previous 24 hours.

I arrived home around 8:00 pm to find my mom sitting in her chair doing a word search with an IV in her arm. Evidently the surgery had been successful. My sister was sitting on the couch and dad was taking a nap. At that time I was filled in on what had transpired the days before. Mom had found a lump, the doctor checked it, she had a mammogram and was in surgery within about 36 hours. They removed her left breast and her lymph nodes. My dad took the diagnosis of her cancer harder than my mom did, I think in part because her sister, my aunt Jeanette, had passed away just a few years earlier from cancer. Dad expected the worst. Mom was in and out the hospital in just a day, something that my sister was not happy about; however, that was dictated by the insurer and not the doctor.

Over the next week I helped out with getting mom to and from doctors’ appointments because dad was just too emotional to go.

This happened in 1989. My mom passed away in 2010, 11 years after my dad. She was a cancer survivor. She survived an aggressive breast cancer because it was caught early and she had surgery quickly.

If Scott Walker has his way, women like my mom, but who are not fortunate enough to have health insurance, may not have the chance to become cancer survivors.

The Wisconsin Well Woman Program is an 17-year-old state service created to ensure that women ages 45 to 64 who lack health insurance can access preventive health screenings.

In four Wisconsin counties, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider currently contracted as a coordinator for the cancer screenings. Coordinators evaluate women for eligibility, enroll them in the program, and then connect them to health care providers that can perform the exams. The coordinators also do community outreach, letting women know that there are options for preventative care even if they don't have health insurance. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin has been a contractor since the program began—including during the terms of previous GOP governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum—but the group recently learned that its contract is being terminated at the end of the month.

That’s right…the Walker administration is terminating a contract with Planned Parenthood. My guess as to why is that the misinformed, uneducated members of his administration are clueless when it comes to women’s health. This is a politically motivated action to punish Planned Parenthood for providing a safe and legal procedure, abortion, that the right-wing hates, yet they do everything they can to make it harder for people to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

I am sick of the stupid coming from the right. I do not want to see one child in the State of Wisconsin lose their mother to a treatable disease just because she doesn't have insurance. Evidently Walker does. As I have said in other posts this is not just about collective bargaining. Walker and his reactionary agenda must be stopped!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 07:35 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I've been very comfortable for the last few (7+ / 0-)

    idecades with the idea that that nobody would ever try to take away all the programs that help people.   Walker and others of his ilk have proven and continue to prove that assumption wrong.

    How can these people thrive as persons and as leaders in the body politic??????  

    I want all Republicans to have pictures with Reverend Al Sharpton's blueberry pie on their faces.    And pictures with ex--governor, senator, representative etc.

    I have had three lumps removed through the years, all benign so far.   I dread if I didn't have the checks to find the next one which might well not be.

    Thanks for another nail in the coffin of Walker's "public service".

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 07:49:10 AM PST

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (3+ / 0-)

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - xxdr zombiexx

    by ruleoflaw on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 07:54:54 AM PST

  •  Apparently, we need to live just long enough (4+ / 0-)

    to have children and if they become orphans, well... tough.

    These people are pure evil.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them.

    by cany on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 08:32:14 AM PST

  •  Not a budget issue (4+ / 0-)

    Just so people are clear, this is NOT a budget issue. The Women's Cancer Screening and Treatment program is a federal program, and my understanding is that it's 100% federal CDC money (unless Boehner and Cantor wake up and throw a hissy-fit about it helping women and eliminate it).

    I've had all my health coverage through this program for the past 5 years -- a godsend. I have just lost it because I've survived so long I no longer need treatment (YAY!), but still qualify for free mammograms and pap smears.

    This is straight politics a la the ACORN witchhunt. The only solution in the short run would be to find a different agency to do the eligibility determination. (Here in RI it's the state Department of Health, not a not-for-profit.)

  •  The screening program will be ok (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The CDC funds this program and also monitors it closely to ensure states comply.  Planned Parenthood was operating the program with CDC money, which will now likely move to a county health dept for administrative duties and local health care providers for screening services.  Most states administer this program through local health departments.

    The federal law that established and funds the BCCPT programs requires states to have plans that ensure timely access for women who need them.

    There's also a strong breast cancer grassroots advocacy community in Wisconsin who provides oversight of these programs, so I trust they'll ensure the programs continue.

    While I support Planned Parenthood's other activities, when it comes to the battle over choice and birth control, cancer patients don't have a dog in the fight.   In fairness to them, its better to keep women's cancer screening programs out of those political battles.

    "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

    by Betty Pinson on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 09:15:19 AM PST

    •  It might even be better to... (0+ / 0-)

      tie Scotty to the back of a pickup and drag his ass from his executive office suite to the Cherokee marshes.

      •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

        That comment was unnecessary. As much as I dislike the man I would never threaten him with violence.

        "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

        by Mark E Andersen on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 07:21:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site