Cycle 1: Day 2 – A Running Log of Symptoms

(Edit:  I’m not documenting every day. So no daily update of symptoms. Nobody needs that. But I will try to post at the beginning of  each cycle.)

Today I get to have a shot which may 1: give me lots of energy for a few day, 2: make me even more emotional, and 3: make me irrationally irritated.

Yay. I’ve already warned my family of this. That it’s not them, hell it’s not even me; it’s the drugs.

I’ve figured out I need to carry the anti-nausea drugs around with me. Looks like I’ll have to start carrying a purse again.

Managed to hit the Orthodontist with the EOB from the insurance, stop and get a pair of sunglasses to replace the ones I left on Nerdboat, stop at Starbucks and get a frappuccino to replace the calories I haven’t been eating.

And now the heartburn, along with a stoned feeling, without anything that would cause that.

Oh yeah, very stoned feeling. Just not from any mj.

Dinner was ok, but got really sleepy afterwards. Managed to hold on till 8:45, and headed back to bed. Noticed I was very flushed, but no fever.

I think I slept for about 30 minutes, but my left leg got very twitchy. That’s not the one I normally have problems with. Ended up taking a lorazepam and slept like the dead till about 9 this morning.


Cycle 1, Day 1: Crickett's Big Adventure

Started chemo today. The actual infusion was a lot shorter than they’d led me to believe. But of course, they want to leave lots of time for Justin. You know, just in case the port had developed a clot that had to be dissolved first, just in case you have a reaction, that sort of thing. I thought it was going to be somewhere between 5-8 hours. It took 2.

The biggest issue *I* had was that the area around the port was still bruised and tender. Apparently it’s a little deeper than usual, too. My nurse took two attempts to connect correctly. Not living hell, but definitely painful. As was the disconnect. Hopefully it will be easier when the bruising heals.

I drove home fine, but quickly needed a nap. An hour later I was jerked out of bed by the need to take one of the nausea pills. Only pushed it down a little, which was better than nothing.

But there was still nausea. Not the “I’m going to throw up in the next few minutes” type, but rather the “I’m feeling a little green” type where you are producing a little too much saliva and you’re very conscious of the saliva glands under the tongue. So after a couple of hours I took a lorazepam as well.

Managed to get down some chicken soup, which helped a little. As did the tums. Then turned in early. The sleep was just glorious.

Oh Yeah, I Was Here To Drain The Swamp…

Ok, I’m waffling on the edge of being terrified.

First, the port placement, first set of blood draws, and first chemo appt have been set up. Once they had the correct insurance numbers, they wasted no time in heaping appointment after appointment on me. Surgery didn’t faze me at all. I went to sleep, and 9 hours later woke up with weird shaped boobs and scars for nipples. But the approach of chemo has me a little weirded out. There’s a list of symptoms that I may or may not get. And an even larger list of medications they promise will help with those symptoms. I don’t even want to the list of symptoms those medications may give me…or the list of medications for those symptoms. I’m just going to assume it’s an infinity mirror of symptoms and medications.

Second, the first insurance company sent us a refund check, but doesn’t explain what it’s for. I don’t believe that I have all the bills for up to February 28th. I don’t see where we’ve met the deductible (for that insurance company) yet. So a refund check feels a little fishy. I guess I should just cash it, and pay off some of the cancer debt. Probably just to turn around and accumulate more cancer debt. The new insurance is supposed to be better. I’m living on hope where that’s concerned.

Third, my daughter has braces. We worked out all the arrangements with the Orthodontist and the insurance company when that process started. Seems that the new dental insurance has a much lower cap, and now they want an Explanation of Benefits from the old dental insurance in order to figure out…something. I’m not clear on what. Why does the new insurance need to know what the old insurance has already paid, in order to figure out what THEY are going to pay? So I have to dig that paperwork up. All I really hear is cha-ching!

So I guess all in all, it’s just business as normal around here.Dazed and confused.

The Show Must Go On

Quick update for those of you following along at home:

After all the sturm und drang, the insurance cards arrived Thursday. They were just in time for my port placement on Friday. And when we got home, there was another set of insurance cards. In case we lost the first ones maybe?

The Referral Authorizations arrived on Saturday. They said, Yes, we agree that all this chemo is medically necessary. That doesn’t mean we agree to pay for it, just that it’s necessary.

So we’re now where we were supposed to be three weeks ago. I have my port placed, and my first chemo is Tuesday. Here’s to the next 4 months, wherein I get progressively fatigued, and try to control the side effects. Yay.

Well, That Was…Fun?

Well NerdBoat definitely was fun, but I’ll talk about that in another post.

Insurance switched on March 1st. Even before that I went to the Doctor we used to have under UnitedHealth (on my own dime, natch, since she wasn’t covered by the insurance we had at that time), to let her know what was going on and what I was going to need to happen ASAP as soon as we got back from NerdBoat. She gave me all the referrals I needed, but of course, scheduling things had to wait until the new insurance kicked in.

So of course, as soon as we got back, I was able to take the new insurance cards and get everything scheduled. Hahahahahaha, yeah right. And monkeys flew out of my butt!

No, there were no cards when we got home. Hell, two weeks later and we STILL don’t have no stinkin’ cards! However. After many calls – calls to UnitedHealth, to the HR woman at my husband’s company, to the insurance broker the company used, the Oncologist’s office, and round and round and round again – FINALLY! I got my Group# and ID# down and straight so that everybody could actually FIND it in whatever byzantine system they used at their offices.

It took days. It felt like the days when we were trying to figure out if the Oncologist and Cancer Center I was using would take any of the new insurance options we were being offered. Before NerdBoat, I’d set up an appointment with the new Oncologist for after NerdBoat, thinking that surely I’d have the insurance cards by then. I ended up having to pay a cash deposit, which I’m ASSURED will be refunded when they finally put it through to the insurance.

Met the Oncologist, who insisted on going through every last detail of the information that the previous Oncologist had already given me. And then he refused to even discuss a chemo schedule with me. Purely out of his concern with my wallet! Afraid that I’d end up having to pay out of pocket and my insurance wouldn’t reimburse me. I was fuming when I left.

The next day I get a phone call from his Nursing Assistant, and set up an appointment for another round of Chemo Teaching. And called in a round of prescriptions for the same drugs I have sitting in my medicine cabinet.

And therein came the next round of phone calls. I called the Pharmacist to give the new insurance information. But the Group and ID #’s were insufficient. Pharmacist needed a whole NEW group of numbers, which can be found on your insurance card. Which I don’t have. So, I get to call HR, and broker, and Insurance company all over again.

I must give praise to Ashly, the woman in Member Services at the Insurance company, who called the Pharmacist FOR me, sat on hold for what felt like 20 minutes, checking back every so often, and finally got the Pharmacist straightened out for me. I sing Hosannas in her honor.

So then everybody lived happily ever after! Hahahaha! How gullible do you think I am? But it does seem like things are coming together. I will sit through ANOTHER  Chemo Teaching session tomorrow, wherein I’ll do my damnedest to hold my tongue. And Radiology called today, and we scheduled my port placement. But I was a little puzzled by the request to come in two hours early. And after we hung up, it hit me. I got the “iodine allergy” stricken from my records with my previous Oncologist. But not with the new one. They’re probably going to try and make me do a two-hour Benadryl drip beforehand.

Shit. Looks like another round of phone calls/emails tomorrow. I am freaking exhausted, and I haven’t even STARTED chemo yet.

Today, I found out that someone else in my husband’s company is also having to expedite their Insurance ID #’s. I hope that, having gone through this once, HR will have a better idea of what needs to happen. FSM have mercy on their souls.

Oh yeah, and for everyone at home keeping score? This is what it’s like with GOOD insurance.