Showing posts with label Insurance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insurance. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Officially In The 'Lupron Club'

Dear Diary,

Just got my first dose of Lupron yesterday, in the form of an injection in the butt. The area is a little tender but that should resolve shortly.
As mentioned previously, the goal here is to literally "starve" the cancer of testosterone in hopes that is will retard, or even stop the progression for a certain amount of time (the longer the better)!
The average effective range is 18 to 24 months, sometimes less and sometimes much more.
We will have to be content to wait and see.
There are a host of common yet unpleasant side effects associated with hormone therapy and I will be updating if and when they happen.
One of the more common ones is 'gynecomastia' or enlargement of the male breasts. I guess it's fortunate that I've always enjoyed wearing women's apparel! LOL!

I got another Doppler Echogram done on the old ticker today. We need that to keep track of the progress (or lack thereof) of the myxoma. I will know the results of that in about a week. I really hope it hasn't progressed much because I'm still not ready for surgery.

Things are looking much better with the lungs. I was prescribed sildenafil at my last visit to my pulmonologist but haven't been able to get it filled yet due to an unexpected pre-auth.
Apparently, the stuff is really expensive!
Sildenafil is a potent vasodilator and we hope it will be able to relax and open up my pulmonary arteries resulting in at least a modest reduction in pulmonary arterial pressures.

I think I'm gonna go lie down for a little while 'cause I'm getting fatigued

More dirt later!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Joining The 'ADT Club'

Dear Diary,

A brief update to my last post.
Saw the Uro today and am now officially in 'Club ADT'.
Took my first dose of Casodex 50mg and have a follow-up appointment in 30 days.
At that time, we will start Lupron as well. I hope this will 'reign in the horses' for at least a good while.

As far as the bone scan, he agreed that there was nothing there that was obvious at the present time.
We talked about the merits of additional scans and his opinion was that yes, we could do that, and we would have additional information, however, the
treatment would be the same regardless of the results. Opinions?

Lupron will be about $1500 per injection twice a year. Insurance shouldn't have a problem covering that...I hope.
If they do, we will have to resort to bilateral orchiectomy to hopefully achieve the same goals.

It's not confirmed yet but it's apparent that I have graduated to stage 4 and there is no stage 5 so you figure it out.

* sips bourbon*

All I can really hope for now is that something else takes me out before the cancer does.

It's been a trying week as I am also suffering from excruciating lower back pain unrelated to the cancer. Got some Tramadol from the Uro so maybe that will help. The pain is wearing me out!

*sips more bourbon (no Tramadol involved)*

On the good side, my weight is closing in on 260lbs which is wonderful. I look and feel so much better. Even the wife notices! LOL!

Nothing more to say until I get depressed again.



Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, June 09, 2017

Update On Bone Scan

Dear Diary,

A quick update.
Just got the full body bone scan today and the tech said there was no sign of metastatic disease.
Uro still has to see the results but hopefully, he will agree.

The next step, hopefully, is a PET scan to see where the activity is located and find out if treatment options
other than HT are available.

The really good news is that the bone scan fulfilled my entire annual out of pocket so for the rest of the
year, I'm covered at 100% Yay!

Won't know much more till we get the PET scan so I continue to be nervous.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Urologist Appointment Update



Dear Diary,

Just got done with the appointment with Dr.F. He spent a lot of time with us and was encouraging but he agreed it is time to act.

He wants to start with a full body bone scan which I will have on the 8th.

Based on those results, we will then look into more sophisticated imaging.

He is a little frustrated because, as always, he has to go "toe to toe" with the insurance to get this stuff authorized.

If the bone scan is positive, we will initiate ADT. Casodex followed by Lupron.

If it is negative, we will have to make the decision of whether to start ADT anyway or to watch the PSA a little longer.

I imagine this is where the MO (Medical Oncologist) comes in. I flat out forgot to ask him if he felt it was time to bring one in!

The options regarding more sophisticated types of scans/imaging are all on the table as far as he is concerned. It's just a matter of getting them paid for.

If there is no visible spread and the disease appears to be still localized, I am interested in taking this to the next level to try to locate and isolate the active area(s) and possibly looking into HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound) to try to clean up whatever is left.

I don't know if that will be an option for me in the future but right now I want to concentrate on proving what exactly is going on in there and treating it accordingly.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday News

Dear Diary,

Today, I start the new drug, spironolactone, for the pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). It will probably take a few days to a couple of weeks before it becomes clinically active.
The docs, especially Dr. O, seem to feel that I'm nor fully "dried out" yet so this is another diuretic to be taken daily in conjunction with Lasix™. We'll see what happens.

I have an appointment set up for a routine PSA blood draw on 5/15 and one on 5/16 to see my new optometrist. It's been forever since I last had my eyes checked and I can't see worth a shit so I guess it's about time.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call my health insurance company and see if they can tell me if my annual deductible has been met. I find it hard to believe that it has but certain providers have not been charging the usual $50 co-pay that applies to specialists. One even said that it had been met.
If it has been paid, this would be a financial windfall for us this early in the year. I have a lot of large medical expenses coming up and that would greatly offset the financial hit.

General overall health is not remarkable so far. No disasters. (knock on wood!)

I'm sort of dreading this coming month. Our '72 S-10 is due for emissions testing and this year, it has a leak somewhere in the system. If they pick that up on inspection, the truck won't pass and the repair costs will most likely tap our coffers big time! We are trying very hard to save a little bit here and there for just such emergencies but it's very difficult on an income of SS + 1 part time job.

Oh well, I guess that's what growing old in America is all about nowadays!


Cheers!



"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cardiologist Visit

Dear Diary,

Today's cardio visit was extremely unremarkable. We are still in 'hurry up and wait' mode.
Nobody is communicating with anyone else. Doc wants to know why the pulmonologist hasn't suggested treating the PH medically.
The heart surgeon is supposed to call me this Monday regarding his assessment of my TEE. He apparently tried to call me last week but I missed the call.

There is an outside chance that with all the medical bills I've racked up lately, I may have met at least part of my annual health insurance deductible. We're not sure but when I saw Dr. M this morning, the $50 copay was waived. I'll take that!

*sips bourbon*

I'm thinking of starting 'Dave's Online Death Pool' so my friends and enemas can place wagers on which is gonna kill me first, the cancer or the myxoma.

Fuck it! Enough for tonight.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Recent News

Dear Diary,

A few short updates.

First off, over the past couple of months, I've intentionally lost 18 pounds. (yes, Atkins works)
Losing even this little bit has significantly improved my ability to breathe. In other words, I'm now getting more 'bang for the buck' from every liter of o2.

I now have a portable o2 system consisting of 'M' tanks and a backpack for them. This arrangement now allows me to drive again. YAY!
The system uses an o2 conserver which delivers o2 in pulses, on demand rather than continuous flow.
Depending on my level of activity, it looks like I'll get about 1.5 hours @ 3 lpm on average. More than enough to do errands on.

I am also no longer taking valsartan for BP control as it was lowering my diastolic BP into the 40s and making it difficult to even move around. Also, so far, most of the back pain is gone. This is one of the side effects of valsartan.

Right now, I am probably the healthiest I've been in over a year! Let's hope the trend continues.

Seeing my cardiologist this Friday to get his take on all of this.



Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, March 30, 2017

O2 Concentrator vs Tanks

Dear Diary,

I got some interesting news from my oxygen supplier today. Turns out they don't even carry backpack size electrical concentrators any longer. Apparently, they were a nightmare as far as maintenance and upkeep.
My next option is smaller tanks which I could carry in a case over my shoulder.
There are a number of sizes available and this option would allow me to drive without worrying about battery life.
Turns out I can just add this equipment to my regular order without any prescription change or an increase of monthly cost.
Very small concentrators are available from a few other companies but that would require more hassles with the insurance which, quite frankly, neither the wife nor I are up to right now.

Tired with a lot of muscle aches and poor O2 efficiency today. Don't know what the hell is going on. diastolic BP still in the high 40s despite being off valsartan for two days.
Will communicate this to the cardio guy in the morning.

I AM TIRED OF BEING SICK!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Monday, March 27, 2017

Visit With Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Dear Diary,

We met with Dr. B, the new chest cracker this morning. Really nice guy and very informative.
We were lacking some data that he expected we would have but here's the general gist of the encounter.

He wants me to have another TEE (TransEsophageal Echocardiogram) to assess the current size and status of the myxoma. He feels that, unless the tumor is mobile enough to partially occlude the mitral valve, it couldn't be causing my respiratory symptoms.
He explained (quite graphically) that he is against going in and removing the tumor unless he knows that is what is causing the problem.
He feels that if he removes the tumor and doing so fails to resolve the problem, there is a very good chance I would be on a respirator, fed through a stomach tube for weeks or even months. There is also the very real possibility that I could have a stroke or even die, possibly on the OR table.
So, as long as I have this lung issue, I am an extremely high risk surgical candidate.
Until I have another TEE, not much is gonna happen...as usual.

Also, it appears that I may be over-medicated for my hypertension. My BP at the doctor's office was around 160/70, that was before I had taken any meds for the day. When we got home I took all my meds as usual and 3 or 4 hours later the BP is around 95/40 and I can barely drag myself around the house!
One of the new meds I'm on, valsartan, may be the culprit. I'm going to speak to my cardio guy tomorrow morning to see about modifying the dosage.

So, to say the least, both the wife and I are are a little depressed.

Ending on a good note, it looks like I may be approved for a portable O2 concentrator. That would allow me to drive again which would be nice, especially since I haven't been behind the wheel in over a year.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Nice Rainy Saturday

Dear Diary,

Quite rainy here in paradise this weekend. It's a nice change from the usual.

The wife is at work and I'm putzing around the house doing as much as I feel I can get away with.
My back and neck are giving me problems, as usual, and the rain isn't helping much either plus my weight in up to 298 as of this morning.
The furosemide I'm taking for water weight doesn't seem to be as effective as it used to be. Not sure why.

I've got an appointment with Dr. F, my urologist this Tuesday to possibly have a quick cystoscopy done to see what the current bladder status is and also to bring him up to speed on the prostate cancer/PSA issue. We hopefully will be putting together a plan of action for when it is needed.

I also have pulmonary testing including a 6-minute walk test and spirometry scheduled for early March. This is in preparation for seeing Dr. O, the pulmonologist on the 21st.
The 6-minute walk test is not a 'pass or fail' type thing. It is merely a practical measure of what I can currently do. I will be allowed to do it on oxygen, fortunately!
This is all being done to hopefully qualify me for heart surgery in the very near future.

The wife is just getting over a head cold which is something neither one of us needs. Hopefully, I won't get it! The seasonal flu is also going around, big time. Both of us have made sure we are properly vaccinated but the thought of getting even a light case is scary. At our age, the flu can be fatal and this year's vaccine is supposedly only 50% effective.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was now on Xarelto® as a blood thinner. My cardiologist managed to get it approved by my insurance but it turns out that my co-pay will be over $200 for a thirty day supply! We cannot possibly afford that so I may wind up back on good old warfarin.
I am currently researching discount plans and manufacturers programs to see if there is anything I can use. Unfortunately, most of the really good programs require that I be uninsured, which, of course, is not an option.
The good news is that Xarelto® appears to be the only one of all the drugs I have to take that it going to be unrealistically expensive...so far.

At my last cardiology appointment, both the wife and I were amazed at the results of the angiogram and other tests that I have undergone. Dr. M says that, other than the myxoma in the left atrium, I have the heart of an 18-year-old! Given my previous lifestyle, that's remarkable. I feel sorry for the 18-year old with my 64-year-old heart! ;)

Money's a little tight right and we were forced to replace the battery in the S-10 just last week. My little granddaughter, Arabella over in Italy had to go without a birthday gift from Papa and Karen again this year. We both really miss them. I'm beginning to think that I may not be around to walk her down the aisle when she decides to get married. She is such a beautiful little girl!
I don't blame the kids at all for thinking we're ignoring them but our lives are in limbo for the foreseeable future and there's not a lot we can do about it.
If I can ever regain even a major fraction of my health, it might be possible to fly over there for maybe a month. We would love to be able to do that. My granddaughter only knows me and her grandmother from Skype,

My kids!



Well, the old lady should be getting home any time now and I hope she is careful in the rain as our windshield wipers are somewhat compromised. Gotta get new ones soon!

I think it's gonna be a really good night for sleeping and dreaming of a better life for both of us.

Good night all!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, February 03, 2017

Odds & Ends Going In To Super Bowl Weekend

Dear Diary,

What a way to start the weekend! It might as well be 'Super Bowel Weekend. Been laid up all day with a bad case of the shits. Good thing that I don't tend to be graphic, huh? With any luck, I'll be feeling better by Sunday so I can watch the game.
Neither team is on my 'favorites' list but I'm gonna go for Atlanta over New England because I'm still pissed at the Patriots!

The wife had the day off and that was nice. It was good not to have to go anywhere or do anything.

We've decided to change pharmacies due to our last one, OSCO, discontinuing their prescription discount program that we've been utilizing for years. Looks like the only one that comes close to what we had is Wal-Mart. Most of my stuff is tier 1 which should only cost us $10 or less for a 90 day supply. I only have 2 or 3 tier 3 drugs which will have to go through my insurance.

Just had my blood draw for my latest PSA a couple of days ago. No results available yet. I really hope it hasn't doubled again. Probably going to make an appointment with Dr. F, the urologist, and get him on board. I like him. It will be good to have him back, at least for this year.

Well, I'm gonna go get dinner started, it's chicken tonight!

Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Monday, January 30, 2017

Update On Cardiac Cath Procedure

Dear Diary,

Here's the update on the coronary angiogram I had done this morning. The procedure itself was less traumatic than having a tooth filled. It took about 45 minutes during which, I was contentedly enjoying the rapport of the cath lab team from a soft, mildly sedated level of consciousness courtesy of Versed and Fentanyl.
They did both a left and right heart study and got direct readings of my pulmonary pressures. They used only my right arm instead of the groin to access the radial artery and vein. Other than two IVs, there are only two tiny punctures. We  were out of the hospital by 2:30pm and home by 3:30pm.
We were there about seven hours...a long day since we had to get at 5:00am.

Good news and bad news. First the bad news. I do have significant pulmonary hypertension, the cause of which we still aren't sure about. The Myxoma may be contributing to it oor not. For now, We will probably try to control it medically.

The good news is that I don't appear to have any significant plaque deposits or any occluded coronary vessels. Yipee! :) This was somewhat of a surprise to me considering the lifestyle I've led!

The next step is to meet with Dr. B, the heart surgeon. At that meeting, we will discuss our options and when the surgery will be scheduled.
I am a bit apprehensive yet at the same time, relieved that we are finally going to get this mess taken care of.

Now it's time for supper!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Talking To Myself ;)

Dear Diary,

I'm bored today. The wife is at work and I'm here just putzing around on the Internet. The cat is asleep as usual so I'm all by myself.

I got a real nice, encouraging e-mail from one of my long time followers. I was beginning to think that nobody reads this diary anymore. I do admit it's gotten a bit repetitive of late. That's what happens when you get old and start losing it! Lol!

The rain has stopped for a while and it's real nice outside. I want to get out and walk around the neighborhood but I'm worried that I might get mugged, what with being on the oxygen and all.
The 'hood' has been going downhill crime wise for at least 2 or 3 years now.
The wife and I had a bit of a scare recently. We were out walking around the block shortly after dark when a car with a 'Papa John's logo pulled up right beside us. The driver got out and came over and started talking to us. Had me worried that he might want to take advantage of an elderly couple, especially with the man disabled.
Turns out he wanted to pray with us! Christian fanatics...gotta love 'em! I should have tried to extort him by saying that I'd report his behavior to his boss if he didn't give us free pizza!

The wife gets home around 7:00 pm and she's picking up a nice Merlot that we can enjoy this evening. I decided to knock off the bourbon for a while till the time comes when I really need it.
My Doc frowns on my constant requests for Fentanyl /IVpush. I have no idea why!   ;)

I've started using the new scented O2 based on aromatherapy. I find I'm pretty much hooked on 'Pumpkin Spice'!

On another note, I'm hoping that my health will have improved enough by September that I might be able to actually get out and go dove hunting. This is assuming I can even afford a license, what with the ongoing medical expenses we have to deal with.
I really miss being able to get out there in the desert, in the quiet, away from the city. The wife and I used to spend hours out there enjoying nature and then come home with a limit of delicious doves.
Hell, I'd love to be out there even if I wasn't hunting!

*gets up and turns on 'Lava Lamp'™*

Well, it's almost 8:00 now and the wife is still at the store. I put out a steak for dinner and it's calling to me. As I type this, she just sent me a text saying she's on the way home so it will be about ten minutes. Now I'm happy!

Our cat is now on my desk enthusiastically licking my file folders. He is the equivalent of  95+ in human years. I hope I don't start doing that when I'm that old! I'll stick to licking the windows on the 'short bus'.   ;)

I don't usually talk politics on here but I sure am concerned about what's going on with the new administration, especially health care/insurance. I'm eligible For Medicare benefits and the way things seem to be going, I'm not even sure it's going to be there for me!
I just hope the Republicans can get their act together, at least enough to replace the ACA with an equivalent or better plan. People like me are counting on it.
Personally, I think the new administration is moving way too fast on addressing critical issues, but, time will tell.

*pours another glass of wine*

The next update will be when I get home from the hospital on Monday...(and the crowd goes "ahhhhhhh". Yeah...I'm nuts, I know.

I guess I've rambled on enough for one evening so I'll sign off here.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, January 06, 2017

Big News (we hope)

Dear Diary,

So, today is Friday the 5th. Yesterday, we went for my appointment with my new
pulmonologist at St Joe's.

After meeting with his nurse practitioner for about half an hour to coordinate my medical history we got to meet Dr. O. Dr.O is the Associate Medical Director of the Lung Transplant Program at Norton Thoracic Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.
After reviewing all my history and tests over the past year, he feels extremely confident that my symptoms are not due to a lung disease at all. It is my heart.

Apparently, the left atrial myxoma is causing a back pressure phenomenon which is causing pulmonary edema and pulmonary hypertension resulting in exertional hypoxia. He believes as soon as we get the myxoma removed my symptoms should resolve.

He is going to present my case to one of their top thoracic surgeons and to my cardiologist, Dr.M, to develop a plan for surgery. He feels there has been too little communication between the active players over the past year.

I will see him again in a month to go over the plan and any risks involved.
We are also going to meet the surgeon who will do the procedure. It is possible that this can be done endoscopically without having to split the sternum. Less likely, but still possible is their ability to accomplish this without stopping my heart.
Complications are expected however the main concern is if, and how long I will remain intubated post-surgery.

Around that time, I will have another LFT (lung function test), this one at St. Joe's, which will help them decide whether I am a viable candidate for surgery.

Before yesterday, both my cardiologist and I were starting to think that I would have to live out the rest of my life with the myxoma.
Let's hope these people know what they're doing!

Additional good news. With my new health insurance, I can now re-establish my relationship with my last urologist, Dr. F. This could not happen at a more opportune time.
He can now re-address the bladder issue as needed but also take over most of my cancer care.

Life is good! :)    
                       
Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

General Update



Dear Diary,

Blood pressure has been real high, (180s) systolic for a couple of weeks now. Talked to the cardiologist about it and we decided to stop the Metoprolol in favor of Carvedilol which is a non-selective beta blocker. We also added Valsartan. Valsartin is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist (commonly called an ARB, or angiotensin receptor blocker), that is selective for the type I (AT1) angiotensin receptor.
Hopefully, these new drugs will get this under control before I have a stroke.

*sips wine*

In other news, I have decided to drop the pulmonary guys that I've been working with for the past year.
I am switching to another pulmonologist at Norton Thoracic Institute which is a part of St. Joseph's Medical Center which is where I had my lung biopsy done.
I have an appointment for the middle of next week for another echo and a vent perfusion scan before I see him the next day.
The last time I had a V/Q lung scan was a year ago when this nonsense first began. At the time, the results were unremarkable. It should be interesting to see what we get this time.
When I get the latest echo, I will ask them to check the status of the myxoma at the same time.

*sips more wine*

All these new goodies mean that the wife and I are going to take a huge financial hit on top of what we already owe. We have coasted for the past couple of months due to my deductibles all being met for 2016 and the insurance picking up 100%.
With my new insurance, I have a much higher annual out of pocket ($7,000) than I did last year so it looks like we're in for a bit of a struggle.

At least I didn't spend this Christmas in the hospital like I did last year. Thank goodness for small favors! Lol!





Cheers!

"Every day above ground is a good day". -- Scarface

Sunday, December 04, 2016

New Insurance!

Dear Diary,

It looks like we have finally found new health coverage for 2017. We went with a silver plan through HealthNet which seems to be about the same as my current plan except that the total out of pocket is significantly higher, $7000 vs $4900 on my current plan.
All my providers are on it and I may be able to get my last urologist back again.
It's going to be very interesting to see what will happen over the next few months when Trump takes the reigns.

In other news, my weight has now increased to 288 lbs and is significantly affecting my ability to breathe. I am now using 4 liters of O2 as opposed to 3. The perceived need for this increase coincided with my weight increase. Not good, not good at all!  :(

Some good news for a change. It appears that we will be able to get a lot more financial assistance than we originally thought. So far, our medical/surgical debt load has been decreased from nearly $80,000 to around $13,000, a much more realistic target. We are extremely grateful!

The surgical wounds are healing well and the pain level has dropped off a lot. I am off the oxycodone now and not taking anything for pain relief. I guess I've been given a good example of what to expect when I have the heart surgery.

I certainly never expected the so-called 'Golden Years' to be like this.


  Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Update From Last Thursday

Dear Diary,



We saw the new pulmonologist, Dr K last Thursday. Nice guy. He believes that, now that we have the biopsy results, we can actually develop a plan of action for this never ending saga.

He wants to begin by getting me off warfarin and on to Xarelto® (Rivaroxaban). I was supposed to be on this from the beginning however that proved impossible due to the OTC price coupled with the fact that my insurance wouldn't cover it.
Interestingly, Dr K was somehow able to get coverage for me which will last until I change insurance at the beginning of the year.
He is also going to directly treat the pulmonary hypertension issue with another drug that we need to get a pre-auth for.
Right now, we're waiting for records to be transferred to Dr K from St Joe's.

I'm still having significant pain from the procedure. It gets a bit wearing toward the end of the day.
I'm trying to stay as active as my lung capacity will allow which isn't that much but I guess anything is better than nothing.

I have an appointment with my PCP, Dr E on Monday. We will be discussing my latest labs as well as my current PSA. 


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Day 7, Election Day

Dear Diary,

Well, I pretty much caved in today and used my oxycodone. The pain level has been greater than 7 out of 10 for the past few days so I'm trying that to see if relieving the pain helps my ability to breathe.

We got the preliminary surgical biopsy report back yesterday. It was unremarkable. The specimens will now be sent to at least a couple of other labs for verification and there are several other tests for molds, fungus and other environmental agents currently pending.

As far as the election goes, the mood at Casa del Robbins is less than joyful. We do not have the luxury as some do of leaving the country in the event of a Trump win.
The left has had ample opportunity to act against the right wing insanity but has failed to do so.
Each successive generation seems to be dumber and weaker than it's predecessor. There is more to life than extreme sports, video games and Facebook. Wake up people!
We are losing the first president in decades with enough courage and intelligence to clearly understand and act against the problems our country faces.

Now a Catholic Church in California has declared that anyone who doesn't vote for Trump will be damned to Hell.

I rest my case!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Insurance & Treatment Issues

Dear Diary,

Feeling really depressed today. I spent part of the morning researching my upcoming insurance options for 2016. It appears there aren't any!
My current plan is no longer being offered and my government subsidy that we have been relying on is going to be reduced significantly, partly due to my wife's new part time employment.
I looks like average monthly premiums with either private insurance or Federal programs are going to be around $2,000/month. We are currently paying around $300.
Since premiums that high effectively negate our monthly income, it appears that I will have to go without health insurance. With my current health the way it is, that is scary!
If my PSA continues to rise as it has over the past few months, it is expected that I will begin hormone therapy in the form of Lupron/Casodex, probably every 3 to 6 months'
Lupron is running about $2,000/dose. Not sure about Casodex but is most likely very similar.
Even with insurance, these drugs are far above our budget.
Unless something can be done to regulate these insane prices, tens of thousands of people are going to suffer and die, well before their time, myself included.
The key, I guess, is to try and hang on for another two years so I can get Medicare. Even if Hillary does get in, I doubt that she'll be able to pull off  an early 'buy in'.

I guess my next entry will be next week, after my lung biopsy. Not sure how long I'll be in the hospital this time. After that, we will need to address the heart surgery if it appears that I'm strong enough.
If anyone out there has a little extra cash, any donation to https://www.medgift.com/open-heart-surgery-for-dave helps. We will never be able to pay off my medical bills in our lifetime but we will keep trying!
Thanks so much to those who might consider helping us out as well as those who already have.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finally, The Lung Surgery Is Scheduled

Dear Diary,

The last time I posted, we were on track to see the new surgeon, Dr H, at St Joe's. The appointment went well and the wife and I were duly impressed with the surgeon as well as her staff.

We now have a date of November 1st at 7:00 am to do the biopsy. I will go in the day before for the pre-op testing. Dr H will try to do the procedure as minimally invasively as possible. This would involve video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). If this proves impractical, she will then do a full thoracotomy. Depending on the procedure and any associated complications, my stay at the hospital should be anywhere from 2 days to a week. The procedure itself is estimated to take around 45 minutes to an hour, barring complications.

During the initial meeting, we were warned that there was a possibility that the biopsy might not be diagnostic. We are keeping all our fingers crossed that that is not the case!

As I mentioned previously, we are holding off on the heart surgery until we get a good handle on this lung issue. Holding off is a bit of a risk but it is one we have to take.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface