I’m Expendable?

I’ve been watching a lot more of the news in the last few months than I ever have before. Watching, reading, keeping up on goings on, etc. I think a lot of us have been doing this since there is so much going on in the world that affects each of us personally. I’ve been more and more astonished at the rhetoric coming from the White House and other elected leaders as the pandemic rages nearly unchecked through the United States. For the first time, my US passport is not an advantage as most countries close their borders to us. For the first time to my knowledge, every ICU in Florida is nearing capacity.

My conclusion?

There are people in this country who believe I am expendable and I don’t know what to do with that.

For the very first time in my life, everything about who I am as a person appears to be no longer relevant, the economy and opening up the country is more important than my safety and my life. To add insult to injury, according to every list and instruction I’ve seen, I will be one of the first to not be given a ventilator when they are scare. The actions and statements of so many people, especially those in leadership confirm that the economy, getting people back to work, and returning to “normal” is more important than my life and those in the Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) community, along with elderly, disabled, and other medically vulnerable people.

What am I to do with this?

Prior to being diagnosed with MBC, I was a solidly productive member of society. I was under 40, I was married, I had my own business, I had two children, I was a homeowner, etc., in short, I was employing other people, paying taxes, and working. Now, I’m living on disability, both private and SSDI, along with my husband’s income as a banker. Our family as a whole does still pay taxes, we are still homeowners, and I am still using my education in a productive way.

Except.

I’m immunocompromised and likely would be more susceptible to getting a bad case of COVID-19 than another 41 year old woman without an underlying health condition. Every explanation of how ventilators and supplies would be rationed puts me in the category of being the first to be denied treatment in favor of younger, more healthy people.

This freaks me out.

Like really freaks me out.

I realize that with the precautions we are taking and continuing to take, the likelihood of my being infected and hospitalized is as low as humanly possible. However, I’ve already been tested for COVID (I was negative and it was just precautionary because I had a bit of a leftover cough from a cold) and I’ve already been hospitalized for side effects of my cancer treatment during the pandemic. I didn’t spend more than one night in the hospital, but it was surreal and concerning for all the reasons that are bandied about in the news — mismatched PPE, a general sense of anxiety, medical professionals avoiding talking to me in person because they were treating me as if I had COVID, and limited space. That was in March, when Florida was not reeling with so many cases. It’s much much worse now.

So much worse now with all the ICUs in Florida reaching capacity and the medical system very close to being overwhelmed. I haven’t heard of any cities in Florida requesting the refrigerated trucks from FEMA to store the overflow of dead bodies the way that cities in Texas have had to recently, but I suspect that’s coming too.

How do I wrap my head around the fact that people I’ve never met, people elected to lead our country, believe that my life isn’t worth enough to save?

How I do I wrap my head around the fact that people in this country are more concerned about their “rights” than wearing a mask to help protect me and other vulnerable people?

Having never been in this position before, I have no frame of reference to think about and understand this bombshell. I am not usually an anxious person and even though the sky has fallen in my life more than once during this cancer experience, I have been blessed with a good support system, talented doctors and the time/funds to find solutions for most of the issues I’ve encountered. Plus, I’m just stubborn. None of that will keep me safe now.

I don’t have any answers for this. This is scary. This is demoralizing. #ThisiMBC

I am more than my cancer diagnosis, much more.

35 thoughts on “I’m Expendable?

  1. Yes to all of this. It is a horrifying reality and one that I still cannot fully understand is happening in America. I hope you are never placed in a position where that decision needs to be made.

    And I so wish our fellow Americans who are dedicated to their right to not wear a mask would come to some human empathy on this one. But I do not see that happening. And that is so very disheartening.

    Thank you for putting all this into writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its disgusting how society has changed. i grew up loving everyone. and now i see alot of the rest of the US cares not about their neighbors friends relatives, but only about themselves. If a mask wont save them then why bother. i truly do not understand this way of thinking. Bless you, this is an excellent article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hear you!! It’s such a small thing yet I hear more about “rights” than caring about our neighbors. It’s awful to find out how selfish people are. Awful and demoralizing. Thank you for reading and commenting!!

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  3. I echo your sentiments. Very depressing time in our country for many. Especially for those who would be on the bottom of the ventilator list:(

    Very sad, frustrating and scary.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You already know how much I’m with you on this. I went from having my anxiety much under control to being right back at my worst point, especially in recent months, as they trashed any semblance of comporting with science and medicine and just started ordering us to die and send kids to school. Schools must open, or else, our kids won’t get an education bc funding will be pulled as punishment for wanting to live. Our kids will be forced to live with guilt if they go to school and bring the virus home to tragic results. It’s beyond demoralizing. It’s dehumanizing.

    They really haven’t thought through the long-term effects of losing what seems like an expendable group of people. Until they realize we are the customers and the clients of the entire medical profession. Along with many other professions, because we do still eat and live.

    And they really haven’t thought forward to how many productive members of society they are losing, and the condition they are leaving the rest of them in. They have not considered the psychological state of the children who will lose family members and teachers. They have not thought through to the number of people who will become disabled and replace us, and how there will be less productive people because they thought they were just not protecting us, when they really aren’t protecting the entire country.

    As if we don’t already feel guilty enough that our children have to take more precautions than their friends because of us. I just hope there are enough of us in November to make a difference, and I hope as many people as possible can survive until then. What else can we do? You know I’m here. For now. At least we have each other for now. Hopefully for a long time. Let’s just keep ourselves isolated and safe and ride this lunacy out. And pray not to need the hospital at a critical moment. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a truly bizarre situation. When the government prioritizes the economy, lives become expendable. When lives become expendable, scarce resources mean some lives are deemed to be even more expendable. I don’t understand why this isn’t reason enough to let the economy take a backseat to public health.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What you said SO needs to be said. How does this make any sense that many people claim to be “prolife” without understanding that should mean pro everyone’s life. Our lives should matter. (Survived Inflammatory breast cancer, so far)….thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes!!! Although, I really think that the people who claim to be pro-life, are really just pro birth, because they don’t support any of the programs those families need to survive once the baby is born. It’s hard to understand how they can ignore all the circumstances that lead a woman to want to have an abortion. Anyway, that’s a topic for a different blog post! I’m so glad you are surviving with IBC. Love and hugs to you!! 🙂

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  7. “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” (Hubert Humphrey, in a speech November 1, 1977)

    And since we live in the country of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” it seems to me that it is we, the people, who are failing that test at the moment. Thanks for your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The states that are struggling now, except California, opened up too soon, and “skipped steps” according to Dr. Fauci. To be honest the far right is out of control costing people their lives. Florida’s governor openly courts the favor of the president.
    Anyway other countries are much safer than the US due to this issue (including masks) and guns. One American living in Denmark decided to stay there when the pandemic broke out. She said one of the most stunning statements I’ve ever heard about government. She said “we trust our government here”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many good things about the United States, but the leadership in our country and in Florida has been extremely demoralizing. I agree, other countries have done a much better job. It’s so sad. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I wrote a post about this early on in the pandemic. It is so demoralizing to feel even more invisible and discarded than I have become used to just because I am a woman of a certain age. This is worse. This is not just invisible but annoying — “if only you vulnerable people would get the hell out of the way the rest of us could do our thing.” kind of annoying. Stay safe. You are vitally important to many many people, including me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Thank you for putting that into words. It’s so weird to be in this position and for people who have no idea who I am or who other disabled people are to make those statements. You get it. :). Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂 You stay safe too.

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  10. This is wrenching, Abigail. And so much of it is attributable to the examples set by craven, ignorant politicians. We must ensure a change in leadership at all levels in November—and Florida is the key. We have a lot of thought reversal to tend to.
    In the meantime, stay as safe as you can and try to get back to your wonderful ability to live out loud. Unproductive? You’re one of the most productive people I can think of. (Maybe this post is another that should appear in more public media?)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Abigail

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and your love through your words.

    It discussed me to think that Americans have become so selfish and self-centered. Your life is just as important as mine or my next-door neighbors for that matter.

    I don’t know how to solve it either. I believe that one life can make a difference and that your words and actions along with my words and actions can be part of the change.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Just this feeling so much. I have fought hard in the last year to stay alive with my cancer and beat all the odds. To feel like a complete minority and at the bottom of the list sucks. If anything, i feel like we have more grit and determination to survive than anyone. But most importantly deserve to be treated equally and fairly. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. I think if people felt their mortality like those who have a terminal illness or go through a life altering experience they would appreciate their life and be more responsible and respectful. Not just to themselves but others. And see the bigger picture like doing something to stay alive as opposed to losing their humans rights. I’ve never felt so much compassion for myself and others than I have, since my eyes were opened truly by my illness. It’s a shame it took that. But I feel blessed to be surrounded by the most beautiful, amazing, strong and inspirational warriors. And be able to experience that in my life is humbling. However long that may be. I’d pretty much been self isolating for the last year anyway. You have no idea how blessed you are until something like this alters your life. There is no choice, option or rights but to adapt to survive. And then try and find the reason you’re still here to have some type of purpose, for me anyways. Stay safe and keep shining 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s never going to feel okay. Nobody cares about the person with cancer in the middle of a perceived apocalypse. I think that I am disappearing before COVID is disappearing and that COVID might be what disappears me. Plenty to be scared of here ❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Absolutely. I am worried too. I am a 57 year old kindergarten teacher and I’m being told I will be starting 5 days a week with kids in September. We will wear masks and all will be well. Feeling expendable myself these days 😠

    Liked by 1 person

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