Me and Caris Lavert. Lucky. And why we need national healthcare.

Hearing about NBA star Caris Lavert shook me up a little.

Lavert was a great player at Michigan and most recently a star defensive and scoring player for the Brooklyn Nets.

Then he got traded to the Indiana Pacers.

Getting traded meant Lavert had to have a physical exam.

And this is where the story gets interesting to me. Lavert had no symptoms. The required physical exam discovered a cancerous tumor on Lavert’s left kidney. Had it remained undiscovered, it likely would have spread to other organs and might have killed him.

The trade to the Pacers may have saved his life. Caris Lavert is only 26.

Like Chris Lavert, the cancerous tumor on my left kidney was discovered by accident.

I couldn’t defend against my grandson Joey on a basketball court and the only trade I’ve ever been involved in was somebody for a Duke Snider bubble gum card as a kid.

A bad summer cough led to a CT scan which showed my tumor which was otherwise asymptomatic.

It was discovered by simple luck.

I went in for surgery on November 7th and today I feel no effects.

I’m down to one kidney and a lifetime of regular screenings and currently cancer free.

I’m sure Lavert will be back on the court after some time for recovery.

Advances in medicine have resulted in CT scans and MRI screening and the ability to discover life threatening cancers like never before.

But that only matters if you have health insurance like I do as a retired public school teacher.

Or if you are star in the NBA that is involved in a trade.

For the millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured or who lose their work-based insurance because they were laid off due to the pandemic, who can’t afford to see a doctor for what they think is a minor pain, but would lead to a life saving cancer screening, it is a way different story.

I’m glad for Caris Lavert.

And for me.

It shouldn’t be about luck.

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