My Letter to President Trump: Please Don’t Leave Behind Families Fighting Terminal Illness

I just received an email from the White House asking me and other readers to send our Affordable Care Act disaster stories. The email read, “President Trump wants to hear from hard-working Americans like you. How has Obamacare affected you? Share your Obamacare disaster story.”

So, in light of my own very personal experience with America’s health care system, I decided to send him my family’s story and include my desire to see cannabis legalized in Texas.

 

Dear President Trump,

My name is Cherie Rineker. I write this letter first and foremost for my daughter. Not because she is sick, but because she has a mother with terminal cancer, who needs to be around for as long as possible. I don’t know where better to reach out, so I am doing it here.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable and terminal cancer, that affects the immune system, kidneys and eats away at the bones, causing painful fractures and holes. I was only 44, and my daughter had just turned seven. Even though Multiple Myeloma has made incredible strides in new treatments, the medium survival rate for stage III, which is the worst stage, and the one I was diagnosed with, was only 29 months at the time, according to the American Cancer Society.

Multiple Myeloma and its treatment cause a lot of side effects. Neuropathy, severe bone pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression are just some. My nausea has been so relentless that my body has a strong aversion to almost all foods, and I can hardly eat anything, which can be detrimental to my already compromised immune system. After going through countless rounds of chemo and two grueling stem cell transplants, I developed a large tumor on my rib, attacking my bones once again.

I had read a lot about cannabis and felt it was something I had to try, in hopes of more quality and quantity with my family. But cannabis is not legal in my home state of Texas. In order to receive proper treatment, I had to travel to Colorado. Leaving my husband and daughter was one of the hardest things I had to do, especially because time is such a precious commodity in our lives these days.

When I started to use cannabis in Colorado, my neuropathy disappeared within a couple of days, and while in Colorado I never once reached for my opioids.

Morphine, hydrocodone, Tramadol, Oxycodone and fentanyl, are just some of the legally prescribed opioids I have tried, all with debilitating side effects. My immune system no longer works, and I need all kinds of infusions and injections to keep it going. These too come with side effects, for which I need more medicine.

I am a very expensive patient. My medical bill for January and part of February was 86 thousand dollars. The ACA did not seem to punish me and my family, because insurance companies could not deny me coverage, even after I cost them well over one million dollars.

I am concerned that I won’t receive the same coverage with the changes in the new bill. We spend $15,000 a year on our insurance and my husband’s company spends about $7,000, never mind all the other expenses that come with having cancer. I hope your bill will help people like me and my family more, and we won’t feel any ill effects from the changes that are being made.”

Thank you,
Cherie Rineker

Cherie Rineker is the author of “A Pilgrimage Without End, How Cancer Healed my Broken Heart.”  In honor of Multiple Myeloma Awareness month, learn more about Cherie’s story and fight for medical marijuana in the video below. 

Photo Credit: Cherie Rineker

60 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Holly Potthoff
Holly Potthoff2 years ago

Considering Trump's reputation so far, I think it is safe to say he has no intention of reading or doing ANYTHING that is not on his fascist agenda. It's like spitting in the wind.

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heather g
heather g2 years ago

How sad that seriously ill people suffer from the additional burden of not knowing what changes will further impact their health and financial status.

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Jane R
Jane R2 years ago

I wish you the very best. My daughter has lung cancer and no money. I am doing all I can to help with the expense of her treatments. Chemo once a week and radiation 5 days a week. I am a widow on Social Security, no other income. I have health issues also. How are we supposed to take care of ourselves? My house needs a new roof and repairs. Whenever Social Security gives us an increase (rarely) it's eaten up by the raise in the cost of Part B. We don't actually get an increase at all. Something must be done to help the citizens of the U.S. Stop giving so much money to help people in other countries and take care of us first! I would love to write a letter to President Trump but he'd never see it. I don't want to write a letter only to have it read by his aids. I want him to actually read it!!

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE2 years ago

Very sad.

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Francis H
Francis Hale2 years ago

Thank you

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 years ago

Interesting article.

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Debbi -
Debbi -2 years ago

I wish Cherie Rineker the very best of care and good luck. I'm sure there must be millions of us facing disaster if Medicare is no longer available for us. I would love to say her letter may actually move him but it is more likely that he will use her letter to pat himself on the back. He's already liked multiple times about his new insurance covering everyone. He like. Ryan is lying and neither of them really cares about who won't be covered. They could have __improved.strengthened__ ACA but the Republicons don't care who will die due to their nightmare of a health plan. It is NOT a healthCARE plan. It will let thousand to millions to die. Ryan's being the most honest about it because he really does not care who won't be covered or what happens to them.

Sec of Health Price is just a talking wobble head. He's following the party line, lying, deceiving and trying to fool people. His interview on CNN this evening was so lame.

Thanks for the link, Joan. I signed.

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Elaine W
Elaine W2 years ago

I wish this would be read by the President and it should be read on the floor of both the House and Senate. Thanks.

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