About Me

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Bakersfield, CA, United States
Hans was a busy, happy, sweet and fearless three year old when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He fought his disease like a "gladiator" for nearly 6 years. Hans was an animal lover to his core. He was 'guarded' at home by his three cats, Black, Orange and Cotton. He also had his Golden Retriever, Honey, to keep him company. Hans enjoyed swimming, biking, gardening, grilling (he had his very own grill!), horseback riding, playing video games, building Legos, and flipping between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Animal Planet. Hans loved all members of his family and he was a loyal friend. He had to go through a lot of treatment in his life. But Hans powered through it. His attitude was let's get this done! His motivation was always to get back home, to his family, pets, favorite foods and pool.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I am in somewhat of a unique situation to talk about healthcare here. I have navigated Hans through more than 1000 medical encounters. I have seen more than one thousand medical claims processed in excess of two million dollars. Without healthcare, Hans wouldn't have made it to see his fourth Christmas. Without health insurance, our family would have been bankrupt within a matter of months of his diagnosis, if we'd have been treated at all. Hans has always had the good fortune of "excellent" health insurance, but in my heart, I know that he has no more inherent right to any medical services than any other child who should need them.

 I'm pleased with today's Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I believe that access to quality, affordable healthcare is a basic human right, on par with, but even more basic and elmental than free and appropriate public education. I am glad to see the day has come that we finally recognize that as a country. I am experiencing a sense of pride and justice today even as I walk through the children's hospital. Finally, each child I pass has the same right and access to healthcare as my own son. I am proud that today we recognize that healthcare is not just for the most fortunate or the most impoverished, but for all.

I know that the 'Mandate' portion of this bill is controversial, but I fear it has been overly politicized. At the heart of the matter: all Americans need access to healthcare. On an individual level, the responsible thing to do is to get it. No one individual should ever presume to bank on the ongoing good health and absolute well- being of their entire family. Despite our best efforts to eat well, exercise and practice all reasonable health and safety recommendations, it is clearly and certainly within the realm of possibilities that on any given day, any one of us could experience a series of events that lands us in an ER resulting in utterly devastating and life-changing health news.

 I hope we can come together as a country and embrace this as the new law of the land. I hope that we can celebrate the greatness of this Act for what it does for basic human rights. I know that one day we will see this decision as one of the most important of this century. Once we figure it out and iron out the kinks, this ACA Act will be a cornerstone in making our families and our country stronger and healthier.

 In Hans news: we are fine. We are actually all done with XRT tomorrow! I had counted the days wrong! We saw Dr. Araz yesterday, and we decided that we will get stem cells on Monday July 2nd. She is already thinking ahead about the next steps. Nothing is settled, but we are kicking around our ideas. We do know that Hans will need a few weeks off to recover from this month of chemo and xrt and to let the stem cells do their thing. We will scan July 17th/18th and then we hope to start another treatment the following week. My mom got in yesterday and we plan to celebrate the end of XRT tomorrow night!


Anonymous said...

Your comments are poignant and spot-on, Lara!

Oh, what fun...a regular cycle of grandmotherly attentions!!! WHOO HOO! Have fun with the amazing Weberlings, Stephanie!

Thinking of all of you...cheerfully at home and at rest!

Love and hugs,

Aunt Susy

Anonymous said...

It was wonderful to meet you yesterday. I loved seeing Hans and your beautiful daughter. Both smiling and so happy.

I have to say AMEN to your blog post. I used to think more conservatively before Tyler was diagnosed. Now I see firsthand what happens to those without insurance. It's so frightening to even think about what happens when they turn 21 and can't be on our insurance anymore. Now that is no longer a concern.

Thank u for your point of view. I may share this if it's ok with you.

Love to u


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Hans is doing so well, and is almost done with this round.

Your thoughts on health care are terrific, and spot on! It is hard for those who are healthy (or who have stable jobs with excellent coverage) to comprehend what life can be like for the uninsured or uninsurable. I fully agree -- assuming this doesn't all get unwound by Republicans in the next Congress (which is what they are threatening to do), we will all look back at this someday as the beginning (because it is not a perfect scheme, and definitely will need tweaking over time) of a really good thing.

Northwest Fan

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear today is the last XRT day! Have fun with your mom/grandma. Looking forward to seeing you all in soon :)
Love, hugs and prayers
Aunt Holly and Uncle Michael

Anonymous said...

Yeah La - we love you guys! pl

Anonymous said...

Glad to read that Hans is doing OK!

Thanks for the healthcare comments, Lara -- very eloquent. The irony around the mandate is that it was a conservative idea, and it took many of us liberals in Massachusetts some time to accept that penalties were necessary in order to prevent people from waiting until they got sick before buying insurance. Governor Romney actually did well for us here; it's such a topsy turvy world that has him renouncing legislation that sounds to me exactly like what he used to espouse. From his July 30 2009 Op Ed in USA Today: "Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar. Second, we helped pay for our new program by ending an old one — something government should do more often. The federal government sends an estimated $42 billion to hospitals that care for the poor: Use those funds instead to help the poor buy private insurance, as we did." So why can't he now be proud that the rest of the country will benefit from the wider access to healthcare that he helped bring to Massachusetts?


Lisa said...

I'll second the "Amen" reply to your post.