Tag Archives: Alaska

A Painful Chronic Illness – My Journey

By Marcy Sowers

No one I ever know expects to be debilitated.  No one I have ever met dreams of growing up with an addiction or need for pain medication.  10 years ago I was a physically active, busy single mom.  I raised three children by myself for many years, worked full-time, and didn’t have a moment where I sat down to rest until the end of the day.  I was a substance abuse counselor, and I had become highly proficient at conducting assessments.  I would type the majority of my assessments as I met with my clients and the last full-time position I held was as a substance abuse counselor in a maximum-security prison.

Prior to this I had odd medical issues come up over the years, a lot of back pain, hip pain, weird allergies, hives for no reason (and I am talking full-blown fat lip allergic reaction out of nowhere), migraines, Alopetia Areata.  My back first went out when I was 22 working at the bank.  I bent over to get a tray of coins out of my coin vault, and my back completely went out.  It took a week to recover and that was my first experience with not being able to walk because of my back or joints.

By the time I was 40, I was completely and utterly at a loss for what was going on with me medically.  I spent the next several years trying to figure things out with my doctors (who honestly didn’t delve very deep or, I believe, look at the whole picture.)  Had they given a more detailed look, I might have avoided an auto-fused thoracic spine.  This disease horrifes me when I think of my children and pray to God that none of them end up with the same type of issues I did.  My sister is currently experiencing severe back pain and bone spurs.  I am thankful I am aware of what to look for and can help them if need be.  I went to many specialists, including Virginia Mason in Seattle trying to find some answers to the issues I was having.  The most telling thing from that particular foray into a diagnosis was that I was positive for Anti-Alpha Fodrin IgA (uncommon) and that I had no detectable levels of B2 in my system, which was very for odd for a Western Diet.

My disease fully manifested itself in 2010.  I was not able to walk, and had severe IMG_7751stabbing pain as if a joint was broken.  It didn’t just affect my feet/ankles, but it also affected my hands.  I would find myself unable to hold a cup of coffee or even a fork to eat.  This pain was so debilitating I was at a loss.  I had never been one to sit on the sidelines at my kids’ events.  I was on the go, recently remarried and completely perplexed.  I couldn’t fish anymore, for any length of time.  Sure, we have photos of me fishing, but gone were the days of me holding the fishing rod, fighting the fish to the boat.  I couldn’t do it anymore; I could take a picture and hand off the rod and reel – something I would have never done before.  My joints and my back were even far worse than ever before.  I spent so much time battling pain it consumed my life.

I ended up having my C5-C7 spine fused at the native hospital on 01/31/2013.  The surgeon there told me that if he could he would fuse the entire thing as he could tell the necksurgery1entire neck would deteriorate and it was just a matter of time. After the surgery I followed up with the PA at the native hospital.  Now I will tell you that almost ever appointment I had in the recent years I asked someone to accompany me.  I had become jaded with the care I was receiving and saw too many instances of the clinic utterly failing others.  I somewhat joked that if I could be the Erin Brokovich of native healthcare I would.  And if my body had the energy I would have.  But I had to focus on myself first.  I couldn’t help a single person if I wasn’t in a better place.

The PA told me after my surgery, upon physical examination, that my neck wouldn’t heal if I remained as locked up as I was.  He told me my back muscles felt like cement and my healing wouldn’t improve.  He prescribed a short course of pain medications and a benzodiazepine for muscle relaxation.  I followed through with every recommendation, physical therapy and so forth.  Several months later I was experiencing daily migraines.  I had always been susceptible to migraines but this was out of this world in the experience.  This was daily – crawl away and want to die type of migraines that did not appear to want to go away.  I continued to follow up with the native clinic and wanted answers why this was happening.

I was told that it was simply failed back surgery.  I told the doctor that the pain medication wasn’t helping so he prescribed me Meloxicam.  (Meloxicam is a strong NSAID).  This did nothing to alleviate my pain.  It helped for a very short period of time and I suffered many hours of pain.  I continued to struggle with the migraines.  He gave me one course of valium, which helped my muscles a bit but did nothing to quell the ever-present migraines that were plaguing me, in addition to the joint and back pain I had been suffering for several years now.

Now I could respect my doctor’s concern about opiate addiction; I had seen enough destruction by opiate (heroin and illicit use of opiates) in my career as a substance abuse counselor IMG_4280.JPGto be very cautious about the use of these medications.  But I also couldn’t function as a human being with any level of quality of life without some type of pain relief.  I had three children in school, all very busy children and I was running between football, tennis, volleyball, student government meetings and three different schools.  I was also the kind of mom who even in the worst of pain would make a full meal for dinner.  Now I have never been one for packaged meals or pre-made food.  Going to McDonalds was a yearly event for the kids and I.  I refused to give them crap food even when I was in pain.

At one of my earliest doctor appointments about my joint pain, I explained to the PA that I had severe joint pain and swelling, around the joints, but not the joints themselves.  She chastised me and told me it was probably too much sodium in my diet.  That prepared foods contain a lot of sodium.  I was a bit miffed because she assumed that I fed my family a diet full of packaged foods and fast food.  She then insinuated that it was too much soy sauce in my diet.  I was more than perturbed because I had made a conscious effort to not only avoid those things but to limit even soy sauce in our household. We used Bragg’s Amino Acids on our rice.  This was the first time I had really experienced racial stereotyping or racial profiling as it were. aside from people in high school being jerks that I was accepted into Stanford because I was native.

And this was the *native* clinic.  I had so many bad experiences over the years in the native clinic I never went without a witness.  I had seen my friends father be sent home with a stroke with ibuprofen. Thankfully his family took him to the ER instead, and sadly the effects of the stroke lingered and we will never know if it was from lack of rapid response.  I saw my uncle who had just been at the native clinic about a sore on his leg—and sent home—the same day wind up in Intensive Care and ended up staying for a week.  I had been chastised by a PA, for wearing a walking boot whebootn my joint pain was so severe I couldn’t walk.  Normally I had episodes where just one foot was in severe pain but this instance I had both and I couldn’t put pressure unassisted on both of my feet at the same time.  I remember being pushed out of the clinic in a wheelchair crying.  The nurse whispered to me, “Use them if it helps and don’t bother with what she said.”  Several years later I felt “vindicated” by my podiatrist not only giving me two boots to wear and telling me my instinct to wear them was the right treatment but it didn’t do a thing for the shame and pain I suffered for years before.

I cried more hours than you can imagine that year in dealing with the migraines.  We had the opportunity to move to Wasilla due to my husband’s job which was in the Arctic.  He flew back and forth every two weeks from Juneau to Kuparuk, AK, and the cost of the flight to Anchorage was a big one.  We took the chance when our lease needed renewal.  Instead of signing on for one more year we chose to relocate.  We only had one child at home at the time and were happy to stop paying several hundred every month for airfare.  We wanted to purchase a home and the cost of living in Juneau was exorbitant.  So we found a place to rent in the Mat-Su Valley, giving us a year to figure out where in the Valley we truly wanted to live.

During the packing up of our home I threw my back/neck out.  I called my doctor to see if he could see me, but his nurse told me he was away in Italy.  Now anyone who has had to sit at the native clinic knows that if you go in you could be in and out, or you could be sitting in the lobby for hours, especially if you didn’t have a scheduled appointment.  So with the short time period we had I opted to go to the Urgent Care.  The physician there gave me a prescription for one week’s worth of pain medication and muscle relaxers.  I was completely okay with that as I knew that was more than enough time and I could see the native clinic up in Wasilla once we got settled.  Which I promptly did after we arrived and got into our new home.

The native clinic here told me that I wouldn’t be getting my regular medications (Tramadol for pain) any more. I had been deemed by the Opiate Review Board to be a drug seeker.  My going to the Urgent Care prompted a review of me and in it they listed my scheduled follow up appointments with the surgical team as drug-seeking appointments.  Mind you I never asked for pain medication, the PA prescribed them to me based on his assessment after physical examination and told me if I didn’t get the back loosened up it couldn’t heal.  They also said that I had failed UA tests in the past.  I had never been approached about failed UAs.  I know that if they had I could have said what the issue was.  I had battled migraines for several months and had been given prescriptions for pain medication for them.  I almost never used the entire amount prescribed, but saved them for a future migraine. Had I been asked I could have said “Yes I had a few left from my last migraine and took them on a later date.”  I was never told not to do that, and honestly sitting for hours in the native clinic was not the top of my list of things to do in a busy household.  So if I could treat myself and I was using the medication as it was intended, to treat a migraine, not get high, I would have been able to actually explain what happened.  However NOT ONCE did anyone ask me about any of that.

I can say with certainty that this was one of the best forced decisions of my life, to leave the native healthcare system.  They had not looked any further into my neck/back pain.  I was told that Tramadol was a safe medication at the time and honestly it was so horrific to stop I pray that no one I ever care about takes it.  They are uncertain about the mechanism of action in Tramadol; it affects serotonin reuptake and I will never take it again in my life.

I reached out to new physicians and a pain management doctor.  I went in openly and explained how much pain I was in, not only in my joints but in my neck and back.  The doctor was very thorough, explained a lot to me that I had never had explained before, and took my pain seriously.  I had never been one to respond to medications the way most people do and I requested that I get the genetic testing to determine which medications I don’t process.  Lo and behold I was an intermediate metabolizer for two separate CYP categories.  This explained why some pain medications didn’t work or work well for me, why Meloxicam (a very strong NSAID) did nothing.  But more importantly she determined that I did indeed need surgery again on my neck.  So she set out to refer me to a physician.  The first surgeon took one look at my referral and history (now including drug seeker from the native clinic) and didn’t even bother to schedule an appointment to talk to me.

secondsurgerySeveral months later she found a surgeon to look at my case.  He had MRIs and X-rays taken and met with us.  My C4-C5 had been ruptured, and by the looks of it, had been for a long time.  I had been going to physical therapy and every time my PT would work on me he would need to use a metal bar to help “beat” my muscles into submission to get them to relax.  However quite often I had such severe pain in my neck that I would feel as though I would throw up when they pressed on it.  I lived on Zofran, an anti-nausea medication and I followed everything they told me to do.  The new surgeon, after looking at my completely collapsed disk, which was pressing on my spinal cord, scheduled me in his very next available surgery slot.

When he did the surgery he discovered that a piece of the disk and broken off and was lodged between a nerve and a muscle.  This explained the severe pain any time pressure was placed on that area and why I wanted to throw up. In fact my surgeon told me right then that I “had a very real reason for my pain, it had been that way for a while. This was validation of my complaints, legitimacy to my pain and as bittersweet as it was I still had an incorrect label attached to me


The recovery was a long one with my autoimmune issues also rearing themselves.  We discovered that I healed better with steroids involved.  I was finally starting to feel relief and didn’t have the daily migraines.  The native clinic had dismissed me for almost 8 months. I battled another 8 months of daily migraines while trying to establish that I wasn’t full of crap, that I did have legitimate pain and thankfully the surgery taking the disk off my spinal cord gave me the LONG awaited relief I needed.

I continued to have back pain and sharp stabbing pain in my pubic bone.  One of the ways my autoimmune affects me is gastrointestinal issues. I had battled daily chronic diarrhea and I was referred to a surgeon to do a colonoscopy.  The surgeon did an MRI of my abdomen before aSIjoint2nd the radiologist saw a mass in my mediastinal area.  They rescanned me to get a view of my chest and in it they saw that my thoracic had fused. I had what appeared to be shark fin shaped bone spurs growing everywhere into my lung area.  This led my spinal surgeon to ask my other doctors if I possibly had Ankylosing Spondylitis.  I myspinemean, the spine usually doesn’t fuse, it doesn’t usually create shark fins growing into the spine, and the deterioration and pain in my SI joint and hips all along could be related.

Ultimately I ended up with an Ankylosing Spondylitis diagnosis. This painful chronic disease has no cure.  The standard treatment are NSAIDS and Disease Modifying Drugs or biolgoics, some of which I happen to not metabolize very well (as in I metabolize them far differently than most), and suddenly all things started to become clear.  My back pain started in my twenties and the symptoms I had suffered finally made sense.  Despite years of back problems, strange symptoms the native clinic completely brushed it off.  All the strange autoimmune reactions that I had, pain and swelling, the severe GI tract issues, the water retention – it all fell into place.  I can only imagine what my life would have been like had I been diagnosed and treated early but I really can’t even allow myself that luxury.  The anger would be too great.  I hated the native system for pushing me off as a crackpot, for deeming me an opiate seeker without **even looking** at my spine which was actually pressing on my spinal cord.

I fought a battle that no one took seriously; many providers assumed I was full of shit and didn’t take the pain I was in seriously. I cannot condone their dismissal, nor can I accept that their assumptions which were based on a preponderance of evidence skewed to support the idea that I was indeed a drug seeker.  I have no problem admitting where I’ve had issues and fully accept responsibility for things based on fact and truth. But I have never been addicted to a substance other than nicotine or caffeine. I abused alcohol when I was younger but I stopped that long before I was 25.  If I at any time truly felt I was an addict I would seek treatment. Anyone who truly knows me knows I can’t even drive the wrong way in a parking lot. I’d be such a wreck if I was just out to get high id check myself into treatment.   The worst part for me was that I never even got the chance to be formally evaluated and contest their claims. The funniest part about all this is that given my work experience, had I actually wanted to I could have found drugs outside the medical system, but I never just wanted drugs.  Sure I wanted, and on a humane level deserved relief, but more than anything I wanted answers and appropriate treatment.  But that was not to be had in the native system; I was just another low-life drug-seeking person in their eyes with NO real problem except being overweight, begging for pain meds (not heard begging for answers), and I was pushed in and out without serious thought to the issues.

I worked diligently to show my providers I wasn’t just a drug-seeking addict over the years.  During this we have learned that I can only take certain medications based on my metabolism.  My allergies to things only continue to grow and added to the laundry list of medications that can cause severe allergic reactions you can now add to it adhesives.  The wrong bandage can cause me to feel as though I cannot breathe.  My ribs don’t fully expand either due to the fusion of my thoracic so extra care is taken when I am in surgeries.

The constant pain of my joints and neck are still there.  I had a few years reprieve after the second neck surgery, but back again is the constant and nagging, wearing pain in my neck.  There is some deterioration of my C4-C3 and it bulges slightly. I am afraid that I will end up with my entire neck fused, and actually hope that some of that can relieve some of the pain I live with daily.  I take buprenorphine daily for pain, and it allows me to clean house, make meals, walk the dogs, plant a few flowers.  But this level of pain is something that I live with all the time.  I don’t think I even really know what a life without pain is.  I cannot imagine it. I live with pain so great I think it might drive others mad if they experienced it suddenly without the long build up of pain tolerance that I have had the misfortune of experiencing.

I find myself hating the drug abusers who get high.  I find myself hating that I spent so many years helping people who make it harder for me at this time to get legitimate pain relief.  I hate the very idea of being catalogued into that group.  But guess what?  There is no cataloging of people who live with a very painful chronic illness.  To the world at dt_150319_chronic_pain_headache_migraine_800x600large we are nothing but drug seekers.  Cancer pain, is the only real pain that people who sufferers it deserve treatment.  Having battled both cancer and chronic pain I can tell you that – pain is pain.  It didn’t matter what kind of pain it was—it still hurt.  But apparently one is legitimate and the other well—is just something people should suck up and deal with.  I have battled and fought cancer myself.  I spent months being dismissed with extreme fatigue, change in my bowels, change in my mood, body temperature, blood pressure and I had cancer all along.   But the labels from the past just follow you and don’t lend themselves to being taken seriously—until someone else discovers a tumor growing.

These painful illnesses affect everyone in our lives, our spouses, our children, family and friends.  We do not have a world of folk advocating for us.  We have ourselves, armed with the knowledge of our diseases and essentially are overlooked in the massive push for legislation and market reforms.  Insurance companies dictate who, what are how we are treated based on formulas and denials abound.  We fight these things on a daily basis and there is no outcry to help us.  We are treated the very same way opiate addicts on the street are by many.  This makes little to no sense to me.  I used to be appalled at the idea of “death panels” but they do exist, death by a thousand cuts—this med is no longer approved, one is approved but denied later and guess what? Interruption of that medication can sometimes result in the loss of efficacy.  So that denial was effective in stopping an expensive treatment that was working leaving me with a search for another.  We do have to fight for every ounce of care.  There is not one person I know who has been affected by a painful chronic illness that wouldn’t trade it all in for health, the ability to work every day and no pain.  But we do not have the choice or the luxury.

There are many people with debilitating chronic illnesses that get lumped into the same categories as people who use pain medication for recreation, to soothe their psychological pain and simply because they love the high.  I have never “loved” the high-I resented having a need for the medication to function and there was no pleasure in it, only relief of pain.  The only thing I have ever wanted was a bit of relief from the incessant pain in my body.  There is no greater loss than the loss of self-worth and you can imagine that battle is one that someone who is ill must fight all the time.  What I wouldn’t give to go back 15 years, treatment - Copyand even with back pain, I’d love to remember what it is like to go all day and night without stopping, without constant pain.  My former life has been stripped away from me and it is something I had to grieve and mourn and come to terms with where I am now.  I don’t want to be here but I have no choice, and the only choice I have is to make do with every day and do the best I can.

This fight is a real one and I am so very tired.  Who will take up the cause?  Who cares enough to fight for people who have to fight to get out of bed every day, when we have to chose between vacuuming or cooking dinner as the extent of our abilities for the day?  When showering is too much physical pain to consider, but we do it anyway because of course we have to.  We are seen as lazy drains on society.  Our loved ones look at us differently.  We lose so much of who we are, the dreams we planned, and it takes it’s toll.  We lose more things than just our physical abilities.  We lose the things everyone takes for granted.  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  But I haven’t given up and I will keep up the fight as long as I am able.  Human strength comes in many forms and I hope I never lose mine.


Diversity Training – Apples vs. Oranges PT II

So yet another way that the “Diverse Origins” training irritated me:

During the training the facilitator discussed stereotypes.  All around the room she posted large post it papers and gave each participant a marker.  One the top of each page was one category of “disadvantaged” people.  She asked each participant to write one stereotype that is known about each.  So she elected to go over a few, and oh how I wish she would have chosen Alaskan Natives, since I was the only obviously native person there (that doesn’t mean I was the only one mind you)… but she did not.  She chose a few and People on Public Assistance  was one of them.  She asked the people who had ever been on public assistance or had a family member on public assistance to stand up.  Oh heck, let’s continue with the orange analogy…

Here is the poor disadvantaged orange, who accepted public assistance at one point their life.

The stereotypes and assumptions made by society could have been wrong about this orange.

Now the orange did not feel bad about having been on food stamps for a few months in it’s life, never even worried about it.  But… along comes this apple, who realizes that all these stereotypes exist and really must do something about it!

So the apple tells the orange.  I really am sorry that anyone might have ever felt any of these horrible stereotypes about you and I personally apologize for that.


The poor disadvantaged orange really needed to hear that (why??) so they could feel good about being an orange on public assistance at one point in their life.  Without it, they might have never felt good about themselves and would probably carry on this feeling of pain knowing that the others thought this of them.  They really were disadvantaged you know and thank goodness the apple came along to set things right for them or they might always feel terrible.

Oh please!  The minute this exercise was over I am sure my one eyebrow was raised and my hand shot up in the air.

First of all, unless the facilitator did something directly to me (was she the one spreading all those stereotypes?) I honestly don’t expect an apology from her.  Nor do I expect one from anyone at all.  I said that I did not feel an apology was necessary, not from her since she has personally never wronged me (aside from the assault of her left-wing thinking all day long).  And I do not expect an apology from society who might be perpetrating that stereotype.  Life’s NOT fair, not everyone will adore you, not everyone will think you are the Belle of the Ball!  GET OVER IT!  That doesn’t mean I excuse bad behavior.  If someone is treating me badly, you can be rest assured I will let them know. It’s my job to let them know that, if I fall short on that, I could choose to be a disadvantaged orange for the rest of my days or NOT.

I really don’t care what others think of me based on my race, fruit type, skin type, size, social class, age, color of my hair, my political views.  That in all honesty is THEIR PROBLEM, not mine.  I choose not to own that.  Some people I encounter might be prejudiced towards me because I am Alaskan Native *gasp*!  Now for example I went to the Capital City Republican Women’s meeting the yesterday and one couple at the table would not smile at me, and had a cold appearance and demeanor towards me.  Now, if I was feeling like the disadvantaged orange, the only Alaskan Native at the event and woe is me, they might not like me, I might have wanted to leave.  But… I did not.  I sat, I smiled and sure for a second I felt uncomfortable.  But I made the decision, it is them who really don’t feel good about something (I don’t know if it is me, who knows maybe they always look like they have just sucked on some lemons and aren’t warm and engaging to everyone) but I am not going to take on ownership of how they appear to feel.  If it is me, well then the heck with them.  I might choose to sit next to them at the next meeting too.  I will smile, be cordial and be myself.  Secure in myself.  If they move, well they look like the idiots.

So the next thing that really perturbed me was this glass ceiling and women’s salaries.  The facilitator talked about the disparity in womens salaries compared to mens, asked for the rate in Alaska.  I looked it up and reported it to be .74 on the dollar.  And my mind was not as quick as I would have liked it to be.  I didn’t say this but thought about it later.  (Mind you I had a bunch of disadvantaged orange bs all dang day and I really was on overload!)   Now that is really just not fair said the disadvantaged orange to the apple.  You make .26 cents more than me for every dollar!  I am hurt and ANGRY!!!

This is numbers spinning at it’s finest.  I had spent the past few hours opening my mouth and wish I had opened my mouth on this one.

Let’s just look at these:

Now I have lived in Alaska most of my life.  Sure there are women on the fishing grounds, in the oil fields, loggers, miners, construction etc.  However I’d be a dolt to say that a lot of women just are itchin to get out there and do the work that a lot of Alaskan (and some non-Alaskan) men do.  It’s not sexist, it’s not the world treating me in an inequitable fashion.  I (and I am sure other women) just don’t want to stand on the top of a tree, bottom of a mine or on the heaving, waved hammered deck of a boat.  Plain and simple.  Do I harbor ill will against the  men that do, because they are making more money than I am???  Please… A  lot of Alaskans have families that benefit from these high paying jobs.  All of these are not single men who run around waving their paycheck in the air in front of women, just to taunt them “Nanner nanner na nooo… I make more money than you do!”  Get real.  They are men with families. and a lot of families depend on these incomes, and for those that don’t have families, they often spend the money in our state (good for the state’s economy and good for me).  Get over this glass ceiling nonsense and quit spinning numbers!  It’s people like this that spin the numbers for the CBO and keep building this fire underneath the inequity pot.  Oh you poor disadvantaged oranges….

Bottom line, I am tired of the baloney that is constantly perpetuated.  The more energy we give the travesty and tragedy of the plight of the orange, the more oranges will be in despair.  See, the more in despair–someone can come in and rescue them and look like the good guys, (when all along tee hee they don’t realize it but they were carefully herded into despair mode) and then the plan to treat them the way they need to be treated will look really great!!!

Whose fruit stand do you want to be in?  Who do you want to drive the market for oranges?  I’d suggest you read the Cloward-Piven Strategy.  Placating the masses while you create a crisis and using it to your advantage!

Until Next Time!

Marcy Sowers

Begich – My Husband’s letter to him

Just figured I’d share this tidbit of correspondence.  I can’t imagine he’d get a response actually addressing his concerns.  Begich makes it a habit of completely ignoring his constituents comments, unless they agree with his position.  (My previous emails and his responses are case and point).

Dear Senator Begich,

I just read your comments in today’s Anchorage Daily News regarding health care. I take issue with your comment: “I think we’ve had enormous floor debate that’s been public and transparent.”

I agree that there has been public floor debate, however, I don’t consider anything in the entire process to have been transparent, as far as how the bill will actually affect everyday Americans. As a registered independent voter from the State of Alaska, I believe your comments, although they adhere to your party’s idea of transparency, to be somewhat less than opaque. I’m sure I don’t need to go into detail as to why I believe your comment is disingenuous at best, and actually approaches reprehensibility. Town hall meetings, emails and phone calls notwithstanding

This health care bill is an absolute monstrosity, in my opinion, and although I know you plan to vote for it, I am compelled to share my opinion and this last item: I assure you that come the next election cycle when the Republicans nominate someone to run against you, my support, both financially and otherwise, will be behind your opponent. For no other reason than that you will have voted Yes for the most insidious piece of legislation I’ve ever seen Congress actually vote on.


Mark Sowers

Proud to be married to this man, an American and look forward to being part of some hope and change we can believe in, the next election and many more thereafter!

Until Next Time!


Begich’s Reply – The best Deem of ALL! MUST READ!

Yet another testament how the elected are NOT listening to their constituents.

Wonder what Obama and his ilk promised him?  Either he got a sweet back room deal or he is absolutely brainwashed by his party’s rhetoric.  Either way, he has no spine and is willing to sell out Alaskans and Alaskan Constitutional Rights to the Obama movement to socialist America.

March 19, 2010

Dear Mrs. Sowers:

Thank you for contacting me regarding health care reform. I appreciate hearing Alaskans opinions, both pro and con, on this important issue.

As of this letter, the Senate reform bill awaits final action in the House. It is my hope Congress will incorporate the best ideas, no matter where they come from, and move forward soon with a comprehensive bill. I have already shared my thoughts on what Alaska needs with Senate leadership.

We must act. With reform delayed Alaskans are contacting me about health insurance premiums rising even more drastically. For example, the Anchorage property management company is seeing a 64 percent jump for family insurance policies this year. The Juneau nursing home is paying a 27 percent hike for 2010; when they shopped around the only other quote was for a 37 percent increase. Or the self-employed Alaska couple who couldn’t afford a 60 percent premium increase and instead raised their deductibles so high all they have now is a plan to cover only medical catastrophes.

The Senate reform bill I voted for will reduce the federal budget deficit. It will end the status quo of ballooning insurance and medical costs, patients denied coverage and families in financial ruin because of illness. Even healthy, insured Alaskans are being hit by a hidden tax charging them for medical costs incurred by those not covered.

The economy is stymied by these increases. Families have less disposable income. The majority of recently surveyed Anchorage businesses listed soaring health insurance costs as the number one barrier to growth.

My principles for reform are clear – providing Alaskans the security of:

o No discrimination for pre-existing conditions,
o No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays,
o No cost-sharing for preventative care,
o No dropping of coverage for the sick or seriously ill,
o No gender discrimination,
o No lifetime caps on how much care insurance companies will cover,
o Children eligible for family coverage until they turn 26.

The Senate-passed bill also reduces the deficit. Because the government is a major health provider, delivering care more efficiently significantly reduces outlays in years to come. The non-partisan budget office says the measure cuts federal spending by more than $100 billion over the next decade and up to $1 trillion in the second.

The Senate bill includes several of my amendments: a panel to improve federal health care in Alaska, increased loan forgiveness for thousands of new primary care providers and added funding for community hospitals. I also helped author a well-received cost-containment amendment that cuts prices for consumers, increases value and innovation in the health care system and saves hundreds of millions of dollars.

No one who supports reform is trying to win a popularity contest. I’m doing it because I firmly believe reform will help relieve the burden on hard-working families and businesses while reducing deficit spending.

Many components of the Senate bill are exactly what I talked about and supported during my campaign, and I will continue to work hard to make sure we finish the job. The stakes are too high not to move forward.

Thank you again for contacting me about health insurance reform. As the 111th Congress moves forward, please continue to share your thoughts.


Mark Begich
U.S. Senator

Begich attached two files to the email, one on on Health Reform Facts and an article from the LA Times.

Do I care? Do I believe the bull he is trying to pawn off on me? NO!

Why are insurance premiums so high? How about allowing people to buy insurance across state lines? How about providing some tort reform so medical providers don’t have to pay huge medical malpractice insurance and order tests they don’t feel are necessary? Why doesn’t he mention in here, that this horrid piece of legislation changes not only healthcare, the largest government takeover of all? But now they have rolled into it student loans, making the government the only source of student loans?

How many IRS agents do they figure in?

Well an article I found states this:

The IRS, the agency responsible for enforcing tax laws, will have to hire a small army of new employees to monitor the health insurance compliance of roughly 300 million Americans and collect the penalties imposed on those who don’t meet the health care bill’s individual mandate to carry health insurance. Some estimates put the number of new tax collectors at more than 16,000.

This is unreal.

Read on if you wish.

How will the IRS be involved in your healthcare?  What new power will they have if we let them continue on this power play of force?

The sickening thing is that the people that really give two %#@% about what is going on are not the kind of people to incite revolution and force the hand of the government to stop this nonsense.  But maybe we should be… at this point.  If half the people in this country  knew what they were in for.

Is their plan to “deem it passed” constitutional?  I think, not.  Read on from Edwin Meese III, former US Attorney General.

Quite possibly the BEST thing I have read today comes from Deroy Murdock and his article on National Review, here are the last two paragraphs!  PLEASE SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!  SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, YOUR BLOG, YOUR EMAIL!  I deem it!  I LOVE IT!

Meanwhile, House leaders grow increasingly shady as they pound this legislative gruel down the gullets of the gagging American people. Team Pelosi may attempt to pass the Senate bill through a “self-executing rule,” whereby House members would approve a reconciliation proposal, whereupon Obamacare will be “deemed to have passed” the House without a pesky yea-or-nay vote. Pelosi praised this subterfuge: “I like it because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”

If Obama, Pelosi, and other Democrats pull this scam, Americans should deny them the cash they crave. Come April 15, citizens should tell Washington that they “deemed to pay” their taxes, and then pocket their earnings.

Is that not just the most beautiful thing?  I deem my taxes have been paid…

Mr. Begich…

My email today to Mark Begich, the senator from Alaska.  I’ll call too.

Mr. Begich,

I am writing as your constituent to demand that you vote no to the health care legislation.

Your vote will dramatically affect your political career in Alaska.  I will personally contribute some of my income to any party running against you or the Democratic party.  I will devote my time to any such campaign against you or the democratic party as well.  I had a great time making phone calls for Scott Brown.

I, like so many people, have had enough  force feeding of the health care issue.  I agree health care is a concern.  It falls under individual states to address issues not outlined in the constitution , not the federal government.

I demand that before you vote on any piece of health care legislation you READ it out loud to your constituents in Alaska, via television and radio.  Heck we have streaming audio as we are a very connected state.  You explain in detail how you agree with each piece of the legislation.  Sounds like a lot of work?  Well, that’s your job.

Care to meet and discuss it with me?

Marcy Sowers

I am fed up…

I did not call for…

I called Mark Begich’s office in Juneau this week.  I called to tell the dutiful aide, knowing that Begich would not be available to speak to, that I opposed the proposed healthcare legislation that Obama and the Democratic party were continuing to ram down the throats of the American people.

The dutiful aide asked what I, in particular, I was opposed to.  I asked him if he had a few hours.

I then proceeded to explain how I did not support the healthcare legislation.

The dutiful aide provided me with the standard leftist baloney and I just had to interrupt him.  I stated:

“I did not call to hear the democratic rhetoric, I called to tell you, as a constituent, I oppose the president’s healthcare legislation.”

I have been watching the news, reading articles and working with my children.

We watched Glenn Beck the other night, the topic was education and how the left has infiltrated the educational system and is trying to indoctrinate our children.

I am concerned.  I am very glad that my children do not see the way others in their generation see things.

Education is indeed a privilege and not a right.

My duty, as a parent, is to see that my children are educated.  I pay my local and federal taxes to ensure they are educated, but that’s not where my duty ends.  I am responsible for educating my children and for teaching them to question what they are presented with.  My daughter failed a test on climate change, she is a straight A student.  She doesn’t believe in Good Ole Al’s Global Warming.  Just like I don’t believe in government run healthcare!

I read a Facebook post by someone I know.  Who stated “??? I am native, why here in homer, i can not get free health care?? like nome or anchoarage?”

I wrote back, “Certain communities have health care services for native people. However, health care is never free, someone, somewhere pays the price!”

I have stopped attending the native clinic here.  The reason?  I get what I pay for.  Invest nothing, receive crap. I would only use that as a LAST resort.   Like welfare, which is meant to be used as a last resort.

Where’s my piece of the pie? I hear things like that all the time–it is unfortunately the message that is being thrown out there in overt and unseen ways.  The overall message reeks.  What happened to the world I grew up in?  What happened to strong moral grounds and dedication and hard work?

50 years ago, we earned it… with hard work and perseverance.   We did not get to be the greatest nation without elbow grease!  It wasn’t handed to us because we deserved it!  It was not our birthright!  It was a result of hard work.

We are not guaranteed a college education, healthcare OR happiness.  The pursuit of happiness is guaranteed by the Constitution.  We can work to achieve it.  The belief of so many these days, is that we deserve things to which the left wing wants us to believe, at the expense of the greatness of America.  I’d much rather live in a country where it is POSSIBLE to have good healthcare, to have the chance at making a reasonable living, the chance to live in a country with the freedom of speech, the right to vote and the pursuit of happiness.

I am tired of this world that accepts so freely the disgusting display of immorality, insincerity, unethical behavior and where duty is something that the government dictates, not the morals of society.

The rich don’t make the world evil, the big corporations don’t either.  The message that society has accepted and allowed has promoted the degeneration of our society.  Silence betokens consent.  Why are people not screaming about commercials that depict the prelude to a threesome, aired during prime time as the family watches a television show?  What parent thinks that is acceptable?

Commercials make me sick these days.  With a few exceptions.  The kind of commercials like the ones for values.com commercials are too few and far between.

We are losing our moral rudder.  All in the name of political correctness.  God is forbidden in schools, on buildings yet our government is protecting the terrorists that threatened our very lives?

I dream of a day that the moral compass of this country is righted.  Where hard work and perseverance can make a difference.  Where the word of a person is his/her bond.  Where the good nature of people kicks in, instead of the government telling us what we should all have, do, believe in and teach our children.

I did NOT call to be ignored and that message will be clearly sent next election day!

Until Next Time, tell me what you think!


Give it to me NOW!

So, as I sat watching a commercial today, I was struck by the profound message the Hidden Valley Ranch commercial had.  Not just to make Hidden Valley Ranch topping for potatoes, but the underlying message.  Apparently the mother in the commercial, her son would only eat potatoes.  So to vary it up, the mother decided to put ranch and bacon on it to liven things up.

Now, that just sickens me.  Kids who dictate the dinner table are the kind of kids that will dictate our future.  The lack of rounded individuals abounds.  Ever present are the kind of kids and adults who have whined until they ate nothing but (potatoes, mac and cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets etc.) for dinner.  We are breeding a generation of people who base their decisions in life on lower level needs–decisions based on pleasure or approval.  Higher level decision making happens less and less, the focus on making decisions considering others and community have fallen by the wayside.

Because of this decision making style and bribery that is the  modus operandi for so many American homes, I believe that the egregious bribery that is running rampant in our United States Senate, the purchase of Ben Nelson’s vote for example, is not viewed as disgusting and unethical as it is.  The “What’s in it for me” or “The I’ll do for you if you do for me” is viewed as normal and an effective way to making decisions for dinner as it is for buying votes in the Senate.  How can this even be constitutional?

Americans need to stand up and shout, take a hard look at themselves and how they expect the world around them to be and REFUSE to accept this way of thinking in our homes and Senate!

I say no to making mac and cheese every night at dinner because my kids won’t eat anything else.  This just begets further problems.  My children will be the first to exclaim they want a steamed artichoke or brussel sprouts.  They eat things ranging from spicy Thai to a savory curry from India!  This would not be possible if I had given them mac and cheese or chicken nuggets every day.  Each day I expected them to try new things have an open mind and go out of their comfort zone.

It worked.

These and many more reasons are why I am very proud of my kids.  They are respectful more than other kids I see.   When they are not, it’s for things that are quite normal for kids and NOT the kind of lip you hear so many teens these days.  I am raising some fabulous conservative kids, with a healthy dose of care for others in society.

The American people need to look deeply at what is going on the United States Senate and put a stop to this unethical, disgusting behavior.  Bribery and force feeding–if you must do this, can it possibly be the right thing to do?  Take a minute and think.  Hold a tea party, write your Senators and call for serious repercussions for this foul behavior.  It is NOT acceptable and will not be tolerated!

Until next time!


P.S.  I would love to get more comments!  Feel free to comment, is always great to hear from you!