My name is Hillary StPierre. I live in Charlestown, NH.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 23 years old. I was newly married. We had a young son. I had just started my career, and we’d built our dream home
Everything stopped while we fought my disease.
I’m here to ask to raise the cigarette tax, fund the Cancer Plan, and save the Catastrophic Illness Program.
In August, I publicly asked for assistance with my medical costs. I feared approaching a 2million dollar maximum on my insurance while simultaneously being told I would need a second stem cell transplant in Boston.
My life depended on the procedure. I also had to move to the Boston area, where I could only be an inpatient for a couple weeks, and then would need to live elsewhere for a period of time, no less than a month.
Thanks to charitable causes & donations, I was able to do this.
Insurances and economic budget cuts have served as an obstacle to receiving care.
I suffer, not only from cancer, but from fighting for care, care that is rightfully owed through a contractual agreement with a business that I’ve paid for.
I am not the exception of health care.
I am the rule.
Me, a registered nurse who graduated summa cum laude and practiced in critical care, who has health, short/long term disability, and life insurance, is not EVEN safe from the catastrophe of illness.
I AM NOT ABLE TO NAVIGATE THE SYSTEM ON MY OWN.
Me, the valedictorian of a bachelor’s in science nursing program, cannot navigate and afford the current system.
If I am not equipped, who is?
I fight for a cure and for care at the same time.
As a patient, I know the fear of judgment, discrimination, and ridicule has silenced many.
It’s why HIPPAA exists.
I share despite my option of exercising my HIPPAA rights.
Everybody should know EXACTLY what even the most economically prepared, financially stable, and educated patients suffer.
If I suffer like this, but those that are not as fortunate suffer more.
They suffer silently. They cannot fight their disease and for care.
Proposed budget cuts, such as eliminating NH’s Catastrophic Insurance Program, stopping funding to the Cancer Plan, which strives to prevent and diagnosis cancers while they are manageable, and reducing all ready laughable reimbursement for medicaid, capitalize on the weak, sick, disabled, and voiceless.
These actions will contribute to the inability to access care. More facilities will refuse NH Medicaid, like Boston Children’s Hospital, Claremont dentists, and therapists all ready do, or risk bankruption.
These cuts will force patients to wait to receive care or accept partial care. Something as simple as Strep Throat could become a public health crisis if people can’t afford to see a provider for antibiotics or if they are forced to choose between a full or partial prescription.
People will present with Rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, septicemia, and kidney infections at the Emergency department, possibly requiring inpatient hospitalizations and IV antibiotics.
The treatments for these emergent health problems are more expensive. They all could be prevented.
Budget cuts will only shift the cost from the state to the hospitals. Valley Regional Hospital of Claremont all ready donates 1 million yearly to the community.
CHaD will lose 10 million over the next two years.
All the budget will do is shift costs forcing patients to wait or ignore serious symptoms and ultimately present with respiratory failure instead of lymphadenopathy for lymphoma or seizures with brain death for brain tumors.
NH has more options than cutting the sick, poor, disabled, and needy.
A nickel increase in the cigarette tax would raise 4 million dollars and save Catastrophic Health Insurance and the 2010 Cancer Initiative. A dollar increase will save 5300 lives according to ACS and bring in 49million.
An alcohol tax could be used to fund medicaid, or any health safety net, since alcohol related diseases include pancreatic cancer, hepatitis, electrolyte imbalances and overdoses which often require intubation and ventiliation to save lives.
Those are costly to treat.
Our society is only as good as our weakest member.
I’ve suffered the loss of my career, my license, and my functional abilities. I can no longer feel my hands or feet. I suffer from severe, constant pain.
I’ve lost enough.
It is devastating to imagine that people could lost more.
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."