Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Now, you KNOW, I know the rules. And you KNOW, I don't want to get tossed out AGAIN. And yet, I'm on a PINK crusade.

So, on this first Wednesday in the month of October - otherwise known as BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH -  let me PINK out my fellow Insecure Writer's and ask for your support in my cause.

To begin with, anyone who is familiar with my writing knows I write non-fiction. Writing non-fiction leaves me, at times, feeling vulnerable especially when it comes to writing about my breast cancer.

I want to write about the realism of cancer without representing myself as a victim. I do not want breast cancer to define me.

My cancer diagnosis was coupled with the loss of my husbands job, and with it went our insurance, and the death of my father, whom I was very close too. Three big challenges, all in less than a months time.

I was hysterical. I was irrational. I would bounce between an acute state of fight-or-flight and denial.

I kept reminding myself that NOTHING, not even this, was a difficult as losing a child. I survived the loss of my son in 2002 and his loss taught me many things, mainly that I am strong.

I am also a firm believer that we sign up for our challenges before we set foot on this planet. That doesn't mean that I didn't scream, what the FUCK was I thinking, over and over again.  

To me obstacles, whether large or small, are opportunities for personal growth. With my cancer I have chosen to embrace the process and listen for the message. What can I learn from this? Where will this journey take me?

Typically, my challenges lead towards helping others but I have to remind myself that I have to heal myself first and fully before I step outside myself. Sometimes I leap outward to avoid looking at the darkest parts of me.

I also know that a well fought, good intentioned battle, fuels me. My current battle requires your help.

To those of you who would like to help me on a personal level, in a way that does NOT require a donation, only a small amount of your time and the licking of a stamp, please consider sending a letter to Dr. Andrew Salzberg.

Dr. Salzberg is guilty of charging BREAST CANCER PATIENTS $739.00 for a reconstruction consultation, and $75.00 to healthy patients who wish to consult him for breast augmentation or breast reduction.

According to New York Group for Plastic Surgery, an LLP that Dr. Salzberg works under; a consultation, whether it's for breast reconstruction, augmentation, or reduction, lasts 45 to 60 minutes, includes a review of the procedure by a member of their staff, a physical exam by Dr. Salzberg (mine lasted less than 10 minutes) and photographs which they keep.

I was recommended to Dr. Salzberg by Dr. Andrew Ashikari, a respected breast surgeon in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Dr. Ashikari accepts my insurance, and when I questioned Dr. Salzberg's office regarding insurance coverage I was told that their staff works directly with insurance companies and that typically they will approve out of network coverage because Dr. Salzberg is one of only a few doctors in my area that does direct to implants with alloderm.

This subjective rate for consultation services is wrong on many levels. To begin with, why is this not insurance fraud? Doctors will charge higher rates to reach an insurance pay out number that they deem acceptable. Because Dr. Salzberg is considered out of network by my insurance company, he charged me $739.00 for a consultation, my insurance paid him $148.00, I paid him $75.00, and he's still expecting $516.20.

Well, I'm not paying it. Not only am I not paying it, I'm going to fight it and I need your help.

Please consider sending a letter directly to Dr. Salzberg. Below is a monkey generated letter that you can copy or word in any way that you see fit.

Example of what a MONKEY POWER letter might say....

Dr. Andrew Salzberg
New York Group for Plastic Surgery, LLP
155 White Plains Road, Suite 109
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 366-6139

Dear Dr. Salzberg, 
I am writing on behalf of a Shannon Kennedy regarding a bill from your office dated 6/29/2012 in the amount of $591.20. The statement shows that your office charged $739.00 for a 60 minute new patient consultation. The statement also shows that her insurance paid $147.80, and that the balance due is $591.20.

A previous statement, dated 4/30/2012, with the same account number, shows a consultation charge of $739.00, an insurance payment in the amount of $147.80, an additional insurance payment in the amount of $0.20, and a PATIENT ACCOUNT BALANCE DUE of $75.00.

Bank statements prove that the patients ACCOUNT BALANCE of $75.00 was paid in full and yet, Ms. Kennedy continues to receive letters and phone calls from the COLLECTION BUREAU OF HUDSON VALLEY, INC. stating that she owes $516.20.

My question is two part.  First, how do you justify a change in the balance due from $75.00 to $591.20? And even more importantly, how do you justify charging a BREAST CANCER PATIENT $739.00 for a consultation when a healthy patient, who receives a consultation for breast enlargement or reduction is charged $75.00? 

I look forward to your timely reply. 


Mary Monkey

Please include your name and mailing address so that they know you are real. Although, isn't Mary Monkey a lovely name!

If you are a blogger, please consider posting this to your page. The more responses he gets, the stronger we get.  

If you saw Dr. Salzberg for breast reconstruction, augmentation, or reduction, please let me know if you had a negative or positive experience and what your fee was for your initial consultation.

There is power in numbers and I believe the power behind people joined in a common cause, outweighs the power of the all mighty dollar. Help prove me right. 

xo, MonkeyME 


  1. What the hell? It's people like that, that piss me off. I'll do what I can!

  2. The stamp is licked, well it's pre-glued, but now it's on the envelope and waiting for the postman. So happy to help!

    1. You're the BEST!!! Thank you Yolanda :)))))))

  3. WTF! I will definitely do this.

    Sometimes part of the lesson is learning to accept the care and generosity from others. I learned that big time when my husband passed away. Even though we are strong, sometimes it is okay to lean on others.

    1. thank you Denise :) we learn form our losses

  4. Wow, that was a lot to take in. I think you've got a great fighting attitude and are putting those writing skills to good use by writing letters. Go get him.

  5. I think you've had your share of challenges. Hopefully no more for this lifetime.

  6. Oh man. Not cool at all. Reading that made my stomach hurt.

    1. me too... its BULLSHIT!!!! thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. Just read a couple of your posts and the section about Kerry. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what you have been through----I'm thinking that what sustains you is your family and your writing. You are a hell of a woman, and I believe at this point in your life, you can accomplish just about anything. Your writing is painfully honest and straight from the heart. Thanks for the visit and for joining my blog---I'm here with you now on your GFC. Keep up the good work.

    1. thank you for reading about Kerry :) my family ... blood family failed me but primarily on my mothers side.. My father never failed me and I believe passed so that he had the power to heal me. I am loved... that is the most healing feeling

  8. Hell hath no fury like a monkey scorned :-)

    Hi shannon, good to hear your spirit!


    1. oh hey there Wander....... how are you my friend? :)

  9. I am SO in awe of YOU!

    Aloha from Honolulu,

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

    1. and I just want to chill with you...... just a little bit..... reflect, breath deeply, take it all in..... ahhhhhh

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Obstacles are opportunities to learn. We don't like it, but that's what it is.
    And I prod my wife to go every year for her checkup, since I know breast cancer affects so many women.
    I saw your comment yesterday and responded, but wanted to let you know I checked and the links are working. The tabbed page under my header leads to the list as well. Sorry, I'd add it to my post, but it's so long now...


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison