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Monday, July 25, 2016

Quick Cancer Update

Dear Diary,

I had my appointment with Dr E, my primary today. Got the results of my latest PSA too.

Bad news!!

It has gone from 0.8 three months ago to 1.8 now. This means it has doubled in three months which means not only is the cancer back, but it is also very aggressive.
This came as a big disappointment, needless to say especially as we're flat out of booze with no money to buy any. Yes, I rely on booze to get to sleep at night...sue me!!

Turns out Papa is a whole lot sicker than even I thought.

We are now going to throw this into the (hopefully) capable hands of Dr Y, my RO (Radiation Oncologist) and see if he can figure out a way of buying me a few more years. It is not a question of 'if' now but 'when'.
So, it comes down to the reality that even if they fix my lungs and my heart, (and the odds of that are slim), the cancer will now definitely get me in the end. I never thought I was going to beat cancer, you don't do that. I was just hoping to stretch it out for ten years or so.

I intend to keep on updating this diary as long as I am physically able to, hopefully for a number of years. I will try my best to keep a sense of humor and educate whomever is interested in the process of dying from a personal perspective.

My next entry will most likely be after I see Dr Y.


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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Weekend Stuff

Dear Diary,

We managed to finally get that CT scan we were waiting for done yesterday so the pulmonologists can compare it with the previous one.
Managed to get it done in hospital as an outpatient which means they can roll the co-pays into our ever expanding payment plan.
Now, I just need to reschedule with Dr J on Monday. Hopefully I can get something fairly soon as I'm getting more and more concerned about this heart surgery thingy the longer I have to wait.

Got my lab work done on Thursday for my appointment with Dr E on Monday. This will include a standard PSA which, no doubt will bring bad news.The worst case scenario will be if it has doubled from 0.8 three months ago to 1.6 now. If it has, I may be in deep tapioca.
Regardless of what it is, I will be setting up an appointment with Dr Y, my RO as soon as possible.
I'm having a really hard time coordinating all this crap that's going on with me so I am very thankful for my wonderful wife who does practically everything for me.

For those of you who are placing bets on when I will die and what will be the immediate cause of death, I would put my money on this respiratory issue of unknown etiology. The immediate cause will probably be cerebral hypoxia due to or as a consequence of atypical pneumonia. Big words, deal with it!

Good thing I still have access to booze!


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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

'Hump Day' Ramblings

Dear Diary,

The wife and I went out yesterday to get my latest INR and a couple of other errands. I had to do this without the aid of O2 as my replacement regular had not been delivered yet.
Things went very well for a change and I didn't seriously desat at any point.

We stopped in at my new urologist's office in hopes of getting the usual 'new patient package'. We got that with no problem but came to find out that out of the six or seven doctors in that group, only one took my insurance and it was not the doctor I had in mind.
We scheduled a tentative appointment with him for late August. When we got home, I decided to 'run his records' as I normally do with new providers and, lo and behold, most of his reviews were terrible! Mostly complaints about his bedside manner, communication, general attitude and attention to detail. So I nixed that one and am now looking for somebody else who is both credible and takes my insurance. That is not an easy task here in Paradise!

I finally got some Tramadol® from Dr E. That seemed to work real well for my back. It's a pity I didn't have it when the spasm first occurred around a week ago. It's always better to treat pain (especially severe pain) as soon as it starts rather than waiting for it to become unbearable. When pain gets to that stage it becomes very difficult to control.

As far as health insurance goes, we are looking into Tri Care which covers military personnel as well as their immediate families. According to my son, depending on which definition of 'immediate family' Tri Care uses, it is possible I could be covered as a 'dependent parent. This would allow me to use Tri Care as a 'second payer' co-insurance at minimal out of pocket expense to me.
We are just now looking into this so right now, it's all pretty much 'up in the air'.
More on that later.

I'm becoming a little bit concerned about this continuing pain in my right calf. It's been going on for about two weeks now and I am at a total loss when  it comes to remembering what I did to it, if anything. My main concern is DVT (Deep Vein Thromboses). This is a distinct possibility as I have had it previously when I was in the hospital. That resulted in three PEs (Pulmonary Emboli) which were, at least in part responsible for the lung damage I currently have.
The diagnoses requires an ultrasound of the legs and, of course my cardiologist is currently out of town so if this gets abruptly worse, it could mean another trip to the emergency room.  *sighs*

We recently received our first official payable invoice from Honor Health. It seems that over the past 6 months, I have single handedly racked up about 75,000 in medical expenses, payable on receipt.
Unless my humble math skills have totally failed me, at a payback rate of $50/month, it would take 125 years to pay this off. Since both the wife and I probably have, at most another ten years to live (if we're lucky) the payback arrangement becomes awkward very quickly.

That's probably enough for tonight and it's almost dinner time.


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

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Even More Insurance Woes!

Dear Diary,

It was an interesting day. We went in to get the latest CT of my lungs today. I expected a copay of around $35 in the worst case or nothing in the best.
Surprise, surprise, surprise! They're gonna sock me with a $147 copay! WTF? This has never happened with any of the previous scans. They're telling us that the insurance company is now requiring them to collect the 20% coinsurance upfront. This new development is going to change the playing field DRASTICALLY.
Because we couldn't possibly pay that much, we were forced to cancel the appointment. I asked if they could bill the insurance company first or at least, bill us for the copay but they wouldn't do it.
If this is going to be the case with every provider them I'm in deep shit!
We have decided to go downtown to the insurers office and sit down with a rep face to face. We are tired of being put on hold for up to 30 minutes and then get different answers from every god damn rep they have. I'm really upset over this!

*Sips some cheap bourbon*

Some good news...I hope. I seem to be able to spend more and more time off O2. I have previously been able to go off it if I'm perfectly still as in riding in a car. Now, I can actually move around and do light work. I still desat. but not anywhere near as bad compared to a few weeks ago.
I'm beginning to feel a little more confident that I might be able to pass my 'six minute walk test'.
I also might be able to start driving again. I was never restricted in that regard. It was just way too much trouble to lug that O2 tank around. I'm lazy and everybody knows it. Lol!

I'll post again when we know what's going on with the CT scan and the insurance.


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

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

Dear Diary,

Happy 4th! The wife and I actually got out and did some socializing last night. We went up to Carefree and drank wine and watched fireworks with some old friends (literally) as they are both in their eighties. Afterwards, we all went back in the house, drank more wine and talked about "geezer stuff". ;) A good time was had by all, as usual.
The fireworks display was quite good, so good in fact that I recorded most of it on my cellphone.
You can watch it here.

No news, good or bad on the health front. I get my next CAT scan this week but I won't have much feedback from that until I see the pulmonologist in a couple of weeks.
Other than that, both the wife an I are trying to maintain a very low profile and stay out of trouble. ;)

On another front, we have decided to try and sell my work van. It in a 2002 GMC Safari with about 106,000 miles on it. It runs great and is good on gas. The exterior looks good with a minimum of minor scratches and dents. The main issue with it is that the interior is in pretty bad shape, wear and tear wise and needs major cleaning.
I'm selling it as is as a 'fixer-upper' and I hope to get $2000 out of it. That would help us out a lot between SS checks.

That's about it for updates. More as the drama unfolds. I sure wish I had some booze! :(


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