Wednesday, February 7, 2007

It's BAAAAACK!

Okay... Okay... Okay ....

Ya know the thing they tell you about reaching the five years and you can exhale again??? Guess what? It is a bunch of crap. I reached my five year mark on September 6th, 2001.

Today, February 7th, 2007 IT CAME BACK.

I have three tumors in the other breast. ALL cancer.
It looks like a new primary which is good. But I will need chemo and a bilateral mastectomy which isn't so good.

So I wrote a letter to cancer. Quoted The Untouchables again too!

How am I going to do this? One step at a time. It is the only way.

here is my letter:

To: Cancer
From: Me

Hey Cancer-

Yeah, YOU.

I hear you are nosing around looking to take another spin around the chromosomal dance floor with me again.

Are you sure you want to do it?

I beat you once. And that was when I didn’t know anything.

Now I know you. I know all your sneaky ways and all the little tricks you have up your sleeve…

And you still want to take me on?

Just what part of “NoSurrender” do you not understand?

I am ready for you and I am not afraid of you.

I used to be.

No more.

Now I am good and mad.

And I will beat you again and again and again- no matter how many times you try to cut in on my slow, long, beautiful dance with Ned.

Take my advice, stop messing with my sisters too.

We have had enough.

And we are all good and mad.

YOU don’t stand a chance.

Bring it on cancer.

I am ready for you.

I guess you don’t go to the movies much- If you want to know what you are up against, Cancer, watch The Untouchables….

Lesson #1:

“Never stop, never stop fighting till the fight is done.

and

Lesson #2 :

“One more thing, you have an all out prize fight, you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. And that's how you know who won.“

I plan to be the one left standing….

Thus endeth the lesson.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Greed vs Care

"First do no harm"
All doctors take that oath. It is supposed to be in their code of ethics. There are doctors and then there are DOCTORS.
There are the doctors you see once in a great while and are interchangeable and then there are the ones who have a special significance, they are there for the long haul--emotionally, medically and personally-- or are they?

One would think that an oncologist or a oncology breast surgeon would be in that category. If you are a survivor you have formed a bond with these people. They are part of your comfort zone and they are your special forces when it is time for battle. They know everything you went through and are there to keep you alive. They make a good living.

But imagine, suddenly, you are told that your support is no longer going to "accept you" because you have an insurance company that takes too long to pay them or their reimbursement rates are not "high enough" for them. They inform you that you are now out of network and must pay them out of your own pocket. The very same pocket you are paying monthly premiums to the insurance company. Easy fix? No. You are a cancer survivor. You have a pre-existing condition. NO OTHER INSURANCE COMPANY WILL TAKE YOU.

You are faced with a recurrance of your cancer. Where do you go? It would be so nice if you could return to your "team" but they won't accept you. So you must find an entirely new team and start from scratch. A new doctor who doesn't know that you reacted to that chemo in bad way or that you are allergic to regular tape but not paper tape.

What has happened to these doctors? They lost their focus. They lost the reason they are in their particular specialty-- to care for those who have life threatening diseases and to care for them forever....

They would prefer to get $15 more from Aetna than what Oxford will send them as a reimbursement. But what about the patient who is behind the health plan? What about the unspoken bond you made with them? The fifteen bucks wins out.

First do no harm?

Yah.

UPDATE: Now that is has been confirmed that my cancer has returned- BOTH my Breast Surgeon and Oncologist are finding me new doctors to continue my care.

Break in the Action

Notice there has been a time lapse here? Sorry, but the Beast has decided to play a few games with me.

One thing about being a breast cancer survivor is you are never safe. There is always something looking over your shoulder... and a simple check up can be a life altering experience.

That is what happened to me. Not one, but three lumps were discovered in Righty, AKA the "good" breast. When I was first diagnosed, things were easier, clearer and much less of an ordeal. But now the players have changed their job descriptions. BOTH my oncologist and breast surgeon decided to stop taking Oxford as health insurance which means that I must pay them out of pocket. That is fine if it is just an office visit, but if we are dealing with a potential new diagnosis it is a disaster.

I was given the run-around but finally wound up today with three core biopsies performed in the radiologist's office. Seventeen samples were taken, I was wide awake, and I do believe that the late Saddam Hussein himself thought up this procedure.

Is my cancer back? I don't know. I don't want it back. I do not want to do this again. BUT, if it is I hope the Beast remembers just who it went to battle with last time around... defeat is not an option. I am reminded of the scene from The Untouchables...

“What are you prepared to do? If he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. If he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”

And I am prepared to do what ever I have to do.