Having insurance is important to me because without it I would not be where I am today. When I was just 6 weeks old my parents received the news from doctors that they discovered I had a hemangioma in my rectal and vaginal area. Through multiple MRI’s and testing they discovered it was growing internally as well as externally. My parents had to keep a constant eye on whether I could urinate regularly and have normal bowel movements since the hemangioma was pushing on my urethra and bowels. If I could not have regular doctor appointments and testing, I could have lost use of my bowels. The doctors had prepared my parents for the possibility of a colostomy bag. I had multiple laser surgeries to help stunt the growth. Without the health insurance my parents had, my outcome could have altered my life forever. The hemangioma continued to grow, but by the time I was 4 years old, it stopped growing. My doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital said it would slowly shrink. I had my final appointment at age 8. The scar is the only thing that remains now, but it is a constant reminder of my good fortune. I am thankful every day that I live in a country where the medical care and insurance were provided for me to have the care I did. Insurance was the difference that let me lead a normal, productive childhood.
At age 3 I began dancing at a local ballet studio, and I loved it from day one. By age 7, I made the decision to audition for Cincinnati Ballet and Frisch’s present The Nutcracker. I was cast as a the first baby mouse to come on stage. After this production, I decided I wanted to attend their Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. I attended regular classes there as well as auditioned for and danced various rolls in many of their professional productions.
In 2011 and 2012, I was cast as the lead child role of Clara in The Nutcracker, performing at The Aronoff Center Of The Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shortly after my last performance in 2012, my grandmother was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. She loved watching me perform. She passed away within 6 months. Some of the life insurance money she left was the only reason I could continue dancing because of the increasing costs of tuition. She was in the health care industry and knew the importance of doing her best to have life insurance and health insurance. I am extremely grateful to her for her support even after she was gone from this life which allowed me to continue dancing. Anytime I felt tired or frustrated in class, I remembered my grandmother, and I saw everything in a different light.
I continued dancing, but in the beginning of high school, I was having more and more pain in my left ankle. By this time, I was on pointe about 4 days a week. In February of my freshman year, my orthopedic doctor said I needed surgery if I wanted to continue dancing. Once he started surgery, he discovered that my FHL tendon in my left ankle was in the process of tearing. My recovery was long and painful. I had physical therapy a couple days a week as well as follow up appointments with the surgeon. Without the great health insurance coverage my parents’ jobs provided, I could not have had this surgery or attended physical therapy.
My grandfather and I have had deep conversations since I was quite young. One story I used to ask him to tell over and over again was about one of his businesses having a devastating fire. He owned several imported auto parts stores. One night a fire started in the basement of one location and destroyed the majority of the building. Luckily he had insurance to help with the loss of inventory and to restore the building from all the fire damage; however, he did not have loss of business coverage. I would continue asking questions about how long it took and why he was so sad. One important point I always waited for him to add at the end was, “Lauren whatever type of insurance you have when you’re older….health, life, house, car, or business, make sure you check all the benefits and aspects of it.”
I am thankful everyday that my family has insurance from life to health. My love of dancing would have come to a screeching halt without my grandmother’s life insurance or the health insurance needed to have surgery and get the physical therapy required. My talks with my grandfather will always remind me as I get older to carry insurance and check all details of it.
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