Sunday, May 01, 2005

Just checking in

Happy May Day, everyone! I hope you were able to go out today and leave some presents on folks' doorsteps. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, there is a May Day ritual that involves leaving gifts (usually flowers, sometimes with other goodies) on friends' doorsteps. Usually the gifts are made anonymously. Someone tried to leave us some May Day flowers today, but with the view we have of the driveway from the living room, it's hard for anybody to sneak up on us from that direction.

We were out a a picnic for church youth this afternoon. I got to do a little horseback riding and played some catch. I was surprised how quickly I petered out, but then again, I imagine my blood counts haven't really normalized yet, plus I haven't been all that active over the last 3 months, so I don't know why I was so taken aback by my lack of any sort of stamina. Call it a mental block, I suppose.

Anyway, not much has been going on the past couple of weeks. There have been some shenanigans involving the mail order pharmacy that was sending my Neulasta shots - they sent a fifth (unnecessary) injection to the cancer folks, who accepted delivery, not knowing what it was. The pharmacy folks claim they talked to someone at the Dr.'s office ("Anna") who authorized the order, but there's nobody there who has that name. All I know is I'm not paying for a $3,000 injection that I didn't order. What makes this a little more complicated is the fact that the injection is perishable, and the pharmacy doesn't want to take back the shipment if there has been any possibility that the injection has been allowed to reach room temperature. My personal pit bull with the insurance company is on the case, since they don't plan to pay for an unnecessary expense either.

I also may be having a discussion with my oncologist regarding my follow-up treatment protocol. The oncologist basically wants me to live in the CT scanner for the next year, having scans every two months. IU's standard followup protocol for TC is chest X-rays only, since the cancer rarely recurs in the abdomen, especially after an RPLND. I'll try to get a customized followup from the IU folks after the surgery. Anything I can do to reduce my exposure to radiation is probably a good thing.

On the good news side, I spoke with the office of the FAA's Regional Air Surgeon in Kansas City about my case. Apparently I don't need to wait a year after surgery to apply to have my medical reinstated - I can apply after surgery, just need to submit all the medical records. So that's a good thing, even though the FAA's medical backlog is pretty substantial (several months at least). Maybe I'll be flying on my own again before the year is out.

I've been tracking my medical costs so far, and I got a detailed bill from the oncologist the other day. I thought it would be interesting to share.

As of March 31, I have incurred the following costs at the oncologist's office:

Blood tests: $2,894
Chemo drugs: $22,240
CT scans (1): $1,689
Doctor Fees: $2,653
Chemo Infusion (i.e., chemo nurses): $29,790
Other Meds (mainly antinausea, plus the first shot of Neulasta): $14,422
Total: $73,688

Now, these are the full freight prices. Insurance has contracted to pay only a fraction of the costs, and the discounts range from the 39% range (other meds) to almost 78% (infusion fees). What insurance has paid so far for my oncology costs has been more along the order of $30,000. Again, not a small number, but a lot smaller than it might have been otherwise.

Well, that's it for now. My life descends into hell this week as we go to work on our financial audit, so don't look for anything from me. Sarah may fill you in if anything happens. Next on the calendar is my next CT, which will be May 13.

1 comments:

MARY L MARRERA said...

HI FRANKIE....GLAD TO SEE YOU WERE THERE THIS MORNING , I CHECK ALL THE TIME TO SEE WHAT'S UP WITH YOU...WELL IT SURE SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE COMING ALONG JUST FINE AND THAT'S A GOOD THING....ANYWAY!!!
MY BILLS FOR MY SPINAL BONE FUSION WAS WAY OVER WHAT YOURS ARE , IF YOU COULD BELIEVE IT....AND YOU KNOW WHAT THE INSURANCE COVERED? WAS ABOUT 50 TO 60% OF THE ORIGINAL BILL.....WHY DO THEY INFLATE THESE BILLS IS BEYOND ME WHEN THEY KNOW THAT IF YOU GO TO A CONTRACTED MD, THEY HAVE SET FEES!! O WELLLLLLLLL..........
ABE, CARLA'S HUSBAND IS COMING ALONG OK FOR NOW..DIDNT HAVE TO HAVE A BAG HANGING FROM HIS BODY AND THAT TOO IS A GOOD THING...WHEN ARE YOU GOING FOR YOUR SURGERY, I FORGOT....
AND IF YOU HAVE TO GO FOR A COUPLE OF XRAYS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS OR SO, THATS OK , BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL HERE, RIGHT....AS FAR AS THE RADITATION, I REALLY DONT THINK ITS THAT MUCH OR THEY WOULDNT DO IT....WELL THATS IT FOR NOW...SAY HI TO SARAH.....BYE FOR NOW....