Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scan Day is Over

Hi. Another day, another scan. Yesterday went well from a timing standpoint. I left the house at 5:45 AM and beat most of the downtown Houston traffic. I had my blood drawn at 6:45 AM, a chest x-ray at 6:55 AM, and CT scans of the chest and head & neck (H&N) at 8:00 AM. The scan ended at about 8:30 AM. I then checked in for my clinic visit with my oncologist. At 9:30 AM my vital signs were taken and at 11:00 AM I saw my doctor. The preliminary scan from my chest CT was negative for disease. By preliminary, this means my oncologist’s interpretation, but not the radiologist review and sign-off. My oncologist did not feel qualified to give me a preliminary interpretation on the H&N scan. With the scar tissue from all the surgeries, he wants to leave that review up to the professional, the radiologist. The physical exam was clean; he thought I looked great. Here’s my point. Although scan day is over, it will be a day or two or three until the scan results are in. I’m mildly apprehensive and will bide my time until the news from my scan results are communicated to me. When that happens, I’ll share them on this forum.

Regarding the insurance issue presented in my prior posting, my doctor readily agreed to write an email to my insurance company articulating why this drug regimen (Avastin), which my insurance company denied covering for future use, should be covered. He hopes to send me that email within the next few days. The more I research this issue, the more strongly I feel that what the insurance company did was a direct breach of contract. I plan on submitting my own research along with my doctor’s assessment to my insurance company next week. This is the last step in the appeals process before civil litigation can begin. Depending on my insurance company's response, I'm reluctantly prepared to head down that road. Barack Obama has mentioned a few times how he saw his mom fighting with her insurance company while she lay dying in bed of cancer. I now know how she felt. Fortunately, I’m in better health than she was when this dispute happened and therefore have the strength and resources to fight it. But, it does raise a lot of ethical questions about insurance companies, drug prices, and even how much in dollar terms one’s life is worth. Because, in the end, it is not really about right and wrong, it is all about the money. And, in these tough economic times, who isn’t looking at their bottom line.

That’s it for now. Thanks for checking in and take care of yourself.

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