Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thank you French Healthcare

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.


ta voisine, Nathalie said...


Je reste sans voix un bon moment. Difficile de réagir à ce sujet.

Deux sujets très importants dans ton billet :

- ta santé : J'espère que tu tiens le coup moralement ? Tu me diras si je peux t'aider ? On en parlera samedi.

- le système de sécurité sociale français : seul quelqu'un qui connait le système américain peut comprendre l'énorme chance que nous avons. Tu le dis remarquablement bien.

Madeleine Vedel said...

Merci Nathalie, et ça va, l'idée fait son chemin dans mon esprit, et j'ai la luxe de programmer et contempler. A samedi !

Gillian said...

Hi Madeline, I've just today read this very well written post. Yes, you're fortunate to be living in France now with such an excellent healthcare system, and not in the US with what is frankly, an immoral one. I wish you well. In the meantime, a healer I spoke to on the 'phone last October told me a story of a friend of his who had quite a serious cancerous condition. She meditated and met the perfect cancerfree version of herself and invited this self into her body. Not to be too superficial about this, et voila, at her next assessment she was cancer free. The healer, should you wish to speak with him is John Frank, should you wish to Google him. I think his website is If you don't have any luck looking him up contact me and I'll check his address. In the meantime, bon chance et bon sante.

Madeleine Vedel said...

Thanks Gillian, I do have a wonderful healer locally, and yes, I think I will see her in February. It can't hurt and she just might be able to help. I attribute the lack of scar tissue on Jonas' arm from a nasty burn in part to her intervention in removing the fire from his skin. It would be a relief to not need more drastic surgery!

Suzanne said...

First, hat's off to you for making the decision to follow your heart & live some place new & exciting. I've just started reading your blog so haven't gotten back to the part about how you got there, but 'good on you' as my British hubby would say.
I'm sure your medical condition, since it was found early, is being watched & taken proper care of will end as it should; some things in our lives we do not have control over. Health wise you are correct; something as important and crucial as health care for everyone in the USA seems far away and impossible at this point. I've recently been without health insurance for the past 2 1/2 harrowing, worry-filled years while waiting for my hubby to find work. I always had health care thru my job but had to quit working full time because of stress issues and burnout. (I work with cancer patients.)
Have to ask you since you're there, we are planning to relocate from USA to France next year and are in the early stages of exploring regions. I am very concerned about health care, and was hoping that we would be able (once we start paying French taxes) to join their system. Since then I've read that they've passed laws to exclude anyone NOT French, whether they're paying taxes or not. Can you tell me is this correct? I'm American but my hubby is British; but I've read that they are also excluding EU citizens from their health care as well? Any info you can give us would be appreciated!
We're so excited and want to move now, but need to finish fixing up our home and learn more French before making the trip.
Thanks in advance; and you know you'll be even MORE healthy after this spot is gone from your body. Think of it as a dead leaf on a plant; pluck it off and the rest of the plant remains healthy and blooming! That's YOU! You're doing everything you need to to get yourself healthy again and it will work. Stay positive, and live! Thanks again. Suz & Ian

Madeleine Vedel said...

Suzanne -- if you write to me directly on my email I'll be glad to send you more information.