Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday, May 17th, 2007 - I could scream!!

Dear Bloggy,

Mark this day in your calendar... it has been the most frustrating day, to the point of making me teary and feeling down :/ All because of beaurocracy!! Have I mentioned anywhere in these entries how much I hate red tape, insurance companies and lack of compassion?? Well, today I hit all three!

Dr. Sharlene Gill and moi.

I had an appointment with Dr. Sharlene Gill, who I think the world of! There is something about her that just oozes compassion, yet is right on top of treatments and what is the best route to take... at the same time, coming across as a very human human being (if any of that makes sense). Needless to say, even though I haven't met the kajillion other oncologists associated with the BC Cancer Agency, and even though everyone who has had an oncologist fromt this agency has said their's is the best (gring)... I think Dr. Gill is the best :)

Anywho... she had applied for payment approval from the Cancer Agency (well, actually, it is the Government Agency who covers the payments for needed cancer drug treatments) for the oral (pill) form of a lighter dose of the 5FU chemo that I should be taking while going through the radiation treatments. Now that my stomach has settled down and does not seem to be affected by the radiation, it's time to start the oral chemo. But payment was not approved!! The reason being that the government agency says that I could have the lighter dose of 5FU given intravenously and I would have to wear the portable pump for 24/7 for 4 weeks!!! HELLO??? Do they have any idea how uncomfortable that would be, not to mention inconvenient and would limit my mobility and flexibility?? I am climbing the walls by Day 3 when I have to have it on during a regular 46 hour session and am watching out the window for Nurse Donna to come unhook me... so I can't imagine 30 days of wearing it 24/7.

But, we have a dilemma since the cost won't be covered by the Agency... and this is one very expensive drug! So, the next step would be that my Extended Health (Blue Cross) would cover 80% of the cost and I'd have to pay 20% (approx. $300)... keeping in mind I am now on a reduced income because I'm on Long Term Disability. I figure that the $300 would be worth it... rather than going crazy with the pump.

So, off I went to London Drugs to get the prescription filled (this is after the appt. with Dr. Gill, then a radiation session, then an appt. with Dr. Ma the radiation oncologist). I get to the pharmacy and lo and behold, it comes up on the computer that Blue Cross will not cover this drug. HELLO??? So the pharmacist calls Blue Cross to see if there's a glitch in the computer, but they come back with ... that drug is on the list that the Government Agency should pay, so we don't pay it. Well, come on people now... how can both say they won't pay?? So Blue Cross says that they will need a letter from the oncologist, explaining why I need this drug and why the government agency won't pay for it and THEN they will review and determine if they will pay for it or not. What a bunch of red tape! Meanwhile, I don't have the drug to start taking tonight!

So, I go home, call Dr. Gill's office and leave a message on the voice mail for Vicki, Dr. Gill's secretary. She rang me back a short while ago and said that Dr. Gill will write to Blue Cross and meanwhile, Vicki will get back to me as to what we will do in the meantime. I'm not about to fork over $1200 for the meds, only to find out Blue Cross still refuses to pay and then I'm -$1200! Yikes!!

Well, fast forward to 3:30pm.... Vicki just called to get my Extended Health info and she is faxing the letter to Blue Cross as we speak. Let's hope Blue Cross is as quick in responding with approval.

Meanwhile... Nurse Donna, from Home Care Nursing called. Remember, Nurse Donna is the one who comes to the apartment to unhook me from the portable pump when I'm getting the 46 hour chemo. Since we are not doing that during the radiation, I didn't think I'd actually be seeing Donna until sometime in June when we start the IV chemo again. But, bless her, she was calling just to see how I'm doing with the radiation and if I need anything in the way of home care help. She also reminded me, that if I am not using my portacath for IV meds/hydration, then the port has to be flushed with saline solution every 4-5 weeks, so she has put me in her book for May 30th and she will drop by to do a quick flush of the port. I knew this had to be done, but due to chemo brain, had completely forgotten! So thank goodness I have this team of gals who are on top of everything for me :)

Other than that... not too much new happening. Yesterday (Wednesday), was our "Energy Awareness" day here in BC. There was a campaign for everyone, business or residence, to turn off any unneccessary lights or appliances to save energy (really, just to be aware how much we leave turned on that we don't need). So Mimi and I were on top of this yesterday. We had all lights and extra appliances turned off. In the late afternoon, we went out to the roofdeck to hang out... and played a board game.

Here's a picture taken up on our roofdeck... the place where we hangout in the summer when our apartments are too warm (grin). Mimi, Nathan, Scott, Tomas and myself can regularly be found up here on a summer evening, playing board games. So Mimi and I did that yesterday for the first time this season.

This is the view from the table we were set up with the dominoes game - Domination! It was a lovely evening, although, as the sun went down a breeze off the water came up and then it started to get downright chilly!

I think it was about 8:45pm here and the sun was going down and the breeze was coming up. So we decided to pack it in and go to our own apartments. Later on... around 10pm, the breeze had gone away and it was downright warm again. We could have gone back outside... but we didn't (grin).

Well, this weekend is the long weekend coming up. I have a radiation session tomorrow and that will complete the first of five weeks of radiation. So far, the only affects are being tired. Even when I don't think I am tired, I lie down and am in a deep sleep for 3 hours, so I guess I am tired (grin). Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the weekend is RAIN.. clearing up late Monday (grin). Isn't that always the way for those who look forward to those long weekends? Then the weather doesn't co-operate!

We shall see. I'm going to take Bridget out for her afternoon walkie ... the sun is out and it doesn't look breezy at all!




Chet said...

I am sorry you are running into bureaucratic log jams, but really amazed it has nor happened before this. When you get frustrated just go up to your beautiful roof top garden, take 3 (Not 2) deep breaths and enjoy the view.

Big hugs and scritches for you and her.

Anonymous said...

Well it certainly was one of those days, my dear. Congrats on finishing your first week; the sleep sounds good, too. - Steve S