Pre-Existing & Resisting: When Do We March?

I have a vagina.

I live with breast cancer.

I am a walking-talking-crawling hot mess of pre-existing conditions.

Let’s march.

Are you one of the luckys with a pre-existing condition, too? (fuller list) here. Many of us have at least one of these, and it changes how we work, walk, talk, breathe and sleep (I barely do the last two).

I didn’t choose breast cancer, it chose me. Ditto for allergies, depression, anxiety, acne and the whole batch.

We gotta march. All ages, all sizes, all kinds. I don’t want to be constantly sick either. Or even a little bit sick! But I was born, my pre-existing doozies fell on me, and I need to fight for my life.

I rock at least (6) pre-existing conditions, and am uninsurable. What does that mean? Another mountain of bills and debt will come whenever I need a scan, doctor, emergency room visit (unfortunately typical for me as a breast cancer patient), test or other care. I’d rather not die at age 43 because of the actions of a bunch of power hungry men!

I almost did not get a second opinion and eventual breast cancer diagnosis at age 39 when my OB/GYN told me that a lump in my left breast was “probably nothing.” Under the ACHA, there will be other women like me, facing excruciating Jenga of “can I?” and “should I” book that medical screening? I was too worried about what a second visit would cost. There are millions in the U.S. just like me, who struggle to pay for groceries, food, and clothing. Medicine and care should not be at the end of the budget list, but it often is — meaning, I get tempted to put off or avoid treatment based on the cost. If I don’t get treatment for my ailments and breast cancer, things get worse and I become physically and emotionally miserable. There’s more pain.

Worry, debt and pain should not be what wakes me up at 3 a.m. — I’d prefer sleeping, brief cuddling or straight up lovin’!

Who’s in to march? When? Which cities? (Every city in the U.S. needs action!) #IAmAPreexistingCondition

Tips for nips accepted. Help a lady writer out!

Mary Ladd’s writing has appeared in Healthline, Playboy, Time Magazine/Extra Crispy, KQED, & San Francisco Weekly. She is co-author of The Wig Report, a graphic novel on catastrophic illness.

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