Yet again, I am and will be in debt to the French healthcare system. It has been not quite a year now since I first had an abnormal pap smear. From that day through to a snipping and biopsy to the surgery that removed the lesion of cells, barely three months passed. And, in my currently financially challenged state, I did not pay a centîme.
It is now six months later, and I've had two subsequent visits to the doctor, and another abnormal pap smear. This one is a bit more dubious, and might mean there are further areas out of sight and reach of a pap smear that are activating. My doctor contacted me immediately. I had a rdv in her office two days after I called. And not ten days later I'll have the less invasive of the two options she proposed.
I face now the choice of a pre-emptive hysterectomy, including the ovaries as there is a history of ovarian cancer in my family, or to choose the lesser option of removing what is visible plus a chunk and keeping a close eye on the rest.
My choice is personal, moral, physical, and not based on money and access. This is rather incredible. I am free to be freaked out at the idea that I might be harboring what could develop into a cancer. I have the option of choosing one intervention and following it up shortly with the more drastic choice. I have a present, bright, and competent doctor who is reactive, proactive and patient. Her schedule and the hospital can take me in. Whatever care I choose and need I will get. And, in my current economic position, I won't even have the minimal co-pay to handle (which would be a max of about 200E for the simple operation, and no doubt a bit more for the more dramatic one).
So yes, I don't like the thought of losing my interior organs at the age of 43. I don't like the thought of being on hormone replacement therapy till I choose (at a later age) to go through menopause. But, I have the option to deal with these personal feelings and worries. The care is there. I will be provided for. I'm not in the midst of going, "Shit! no job, no insurance and thus who and how to pay for such an invasive procedure?!"
If I were actually living in the States, I'd be royally screwed right now. Yes, I've family that would come through for me. I wouldn't be left without help and care. But, that would cause hardship and take funds away from other possibilities.
I have options. I have choices. I am just unbelievably lucky to be living in France right now. I simply need to decide on a when that coincides with free time on the part of friends and others who could help out while I'm following doctor's orders to take it easy.