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A Letter to the White House

A Letter to the White House
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Published on March 15, 2017

Key Takeaways

  • The ACA did not seem to hurt me and my family
  • We spend 15,000 a year on our insurance 
  • Multiple myeloma and its treatment cause a lot of side effects

[Editor’s note: (10/2019): Cherie Rineker had a long battle with myeloma that included 16 lines of myeloma therapy, numerous hospitalizations, and incredible physical and emotional stress. She decided to end her battle with myeloma with physician assistance in Colorado by using the End of Life Options Act. Cherie was an incredible source of inspiration who embraced healthy living and the latest in cancer treatments. She will be remembered as a myeloma advocate leader with a big smile that lit up a room. Cherie's personal motto was, “It was always about love anyway.”

I just received an email from the White House asking us to send him our ACA disaster stories. This is literally what it said: President Trump wants to hear from hard-working Americans like you. How has Obamacare affected you? Share your Obamacare disaster story. So I decided to send him our family story!

My name is Cherie Rineker. I write this letter first and foremost for my daughter. Not because she is sick but because she has a mother with terminal cancer who needs to be around for as long as possible.

I don't know where better to reach out, so I am doing it here.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable and terminal cancer, that affects the immune system and kidneys and eats away at the bones, causing painful fractures and holes. I was only 44, and my daughter had just turned 7. Even though multiple myeloma has made incredible strides in new treatments, the medium survival rate for stage III, which is the worst stage, and the one I was diagnosed with, was only 29 months at the time, according to the American Cancer Society.

After going through countless rounds of chemo and two grueling stem cell transplants, I developed a large tumor on my rib, attacking my bones once again.

I had read a lot about cannabis and felt it was something I had to try, in hopes of more quality and quantity with my family. Leaving my husband and daughter was one of the hardest things I had to do, especially because time is such a precious commodity in our lives these days

Multiple myeloma and its treatment cause a lot of side effects. Neuropathy, severe bone pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression are just some. My nausea has been so relentless, that my body has a strong aversion to almost all foods, and I can hardly eat anything, which can be detrimental to my compromised immune system.

When I started to use cannabis in Colorado, my neuropathy disappeared within a couple of days, and while in Colorado I never once reached for my opioids.

Morphine, hydrocodone, tramadol, oxycodone, and fentanyl, are just some of the legally prescribed opioids I have tried, all with debilitating side effects.

My immune system no longer works, and I need all kinds of infusions and injections to keep it going. These too come with side effects, for which I need more medicine.

I am a very expensive patient. My medical bill for January and part of February was 86 thousand dollars. The ACA did not seem to hurt me and my family because insurance companies could not deny me coverage, even after I cost them well over one million dollars. I am concerned that I won't receive the same coverage with the changes in the new bill. We spend 15,000 a year on our insurance and my husband's company spends about 7,000, never mind all the other expenses that come with having cancer. I hope your bill will help people like me and my family more, and we won't feel any ill effects from the changes that are being made.

Thank you,

Cherie Rineker, a very concerned mother and cancer patient and Author of "A Pilgrimage Without End, How Cancer Healed my Broken Heart" 

Hope & Love

Cherie Rineker
~ A Pilgrimage Without End ~

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 


Thank you for being such a good resource of fast-changing information for multiple myeloma patients.

— via email

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