I recently met with advisors regarding financial planning, something so many ordinary people ordinarily do. These gentlemen seemed to care about me, as they assessed my current financial status and my future financial plans.
But, of course, there’s a sales pitch.
There always is.
They recommended I purchase excellent, fantastic, stupendous life insurance. Although I have life insurance at my place of employment, these advisors suggested I obtain additional life insurance. After they rattled off all the different life insurance companies they work with — and after my brain stopped spinning — I asked the question my inquiring mind wanted to know: How expensive is additional life insurance?
“Well…um…that depends,” said one advisor.
The other chimed in, “Well, you are relatively healthy, so it would be reasonably priced for you. It’s only more costly if you’ve had a history of diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and so on. You’re not a smoker, are you?”
“No,” I said, as my mind had stopped at the word “cancer.”
“Good,” they both chimed in in unison, figuring that selling me life insurance was a slam dunk.
“But I’ve had cancer,” I said.
They were taken aback and looked shocked. I could feel what they were thinking: how could someone who looked healthy and younger than my age have ever had cancer? (Come to think of it, what does a person who has had cancer look like?)
Then our conversation took a turn for the worse, as they regrouped and launched into their sales pitch again.
“Can I ask what kind of cancer you had?” said one advisor.
“Yes, breast cancer.”
They both smiled with relief. “Well,” said the other advisor, “Insurance companies look at the type of cancer you’ve had when making their determination, and I can tell you that breast cancer is generally not a problem.”
“But you don’t know the nature of breast –,” I replied, as they cut me off.
“It’s no matter. If you’ve had breast cancer and a doctor’s note saying everything is now fine, most life insurance companies will be fine with this. How long ago did you have breast cancer?”
“Fifteen years ago.”
“Fifteen years?” they both said, beaming. “Well, if you’ve had breast cancer 15 years ago, you should have no problem getting life insurance. If it was a year or two ago, you’d encounter more difficulties.”
All I could think of at that moment was Jody Schoger, who was supposedly NED (no evidence of disease) for 15 years and who recently died of metastatic breast cancer.
My thoughts were interrupted by the two men who joyously believed they had a sale. And worse yet, these individuals believed that breast cancer was the “good” cancer and that having been diagnosed and treated 15 years before for breast cancer was no big deal. At all.
They had a cavalier attitude toward the source of my and others’ suffering. They believed that having had breast cancer 15 years ago was a slam dunk in the life insurance world. Heck, a slam dunk in life in general.
To that, I call bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.
This dismissive, insensitive attitude is pervasive in our culture: breast cancer is the good cancer.
Breast cancer is the sissy cancer.
Once a person has passed the five-year mark, it’s all systems go.
Like I fire doctors whom I deem harmful to my emotional and/or physical health, I fired these advisors. I thanked them for their time and left, with no intention of ever coming back.
I’ve had enough with financial advisors. Instead, I just bought a book on financial planning. After all, I’d rather turn pages than turn into an idea of what a breast cancer survivor should be.
Have you encountered that attitude that breast cancer is the good, easy cancer?
If you have done financial and/or retirement planning, have health issues come up and, if so, how was it handled?