Sunday, February 19, 2017

More Chemo

The results of my blood test were encouraging. The number for my cancer markers was down while my blood stayed in the good range for white cells and such. 

That means more chemo till we think it's not doing any good. The marker number is still high but down by half from where we started. 

I'm continuing on my homeopathic regimen as well. I remain hopeful that we can kill this cancer.

I had waffles with syrup and butter, bacon and a fried egg for brunch today, thanks to Vicki, so I am feeling pretty good. Food can be a real issue during chemo. So it makes me feel very happy indeed when I get a full meal down.

The rain has been nice today. 

Hang in there,

RT 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hump Day Notes

The middle of the week is not my usual blogging time, but here goes anyway. I actually had the energy to shower and shave today. Good thing too, because I go for blood work this afternoon in advance of chemo again on Friday.

Things have been a little rough this past week, between the side effects and my acting like a jerk to Vicki, I have not been on my best behavior. I spent a miserable day on Saturday trying to help Vicki with our taxes and her application for Social Security.

We were able to get the application for Social Security done and as far as we could go on our taxes till I get another form from my short term insurance company.

The problem was that I was a total grouch the entire day. I couldn't take my homeopathic regimen till we finished and I could go out to get her Valentine's Day card. Needless to say I was a Jackass and she let me know it.

The next day I apologized profusely and promised to quit criticizing her. I even managed to say it in a funny way. (Which will not be memorialized here) I meant it never the less and am dedicated to mending my ways.

We'll see how I do.

Hang in there,

RT

Saturday, February 4, 2017

More Chemo

Yesterday turned out to be just another chemo day for the most part. The doctor reduced my dose by about 10% and increased my nausea meds as well as giving me a patch to wear the first week after chemo. This should combat the vomiting issue I had with the last treatment. I was able to sleep this time as well. I am not sure whether it's due to the reduced chemo or the homeopathic regimen I am taking again. 

Either way it's great news for me. I got up at 6:00 AM this morning and am contemplating loading this years turbo tax. Maybe, maybe not.

Vicki is doing better. She's still sleeping and I'm going to let her sleep as long as she needs. I'll just peek in and make sure she's OK from time to time.

I have been entertaining myself by watching videos about RVing. If and when I get out of treatment we would like to get a small or smallish motor home and travel in the summers.
At this point it's just a pleasant fantasy. We'll see how it really works out.

OK, that's it for me. Hope your weekend goes well and your pick for the Superbowl wins.

Hang in there,

RT













Saturday, January 21, 2017

Scan Results and Decisions

My Cat Scan came back unchanged/stable I guess. Because of this I was given the option to stop chemo for a while, hoping that it would not metastasize in the interim as it did before. This option did not appeal to me. Another option was to take a biologic maintenance drug but no Chemo. There was another option I don't remember exactly what it did though because I already knew I wanted to continue the strong chemo as long as I could hack it. So that's what we did.

Which meant that I had Chemo yesterday. Somewhere around 4 or 4:30 AM I regretted that decision. I have had insomnia the day of chemo for the last 2 or 3 treatments, so that was not a surprise. This week as in the others I focused on managing the side effects, especially nausea. It just got out of hand for a little bit this morning. I ended up going to bed at 7:30 AM and not getting back up till 2 this afternoon. So far so good.

I am also back on the homeopathic regimen as well. It seems to be helping with the side effects.

Looking forward to 2 good games tomorrow.

Hang in,

RT
 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Scans, and more Scans

Yesterday I had a CAT Scan to determine the state of the 5 small masses that are the metastasized colon cancer inhabiting my body. The goal of the current chemo treatment is to suppress and if possible kill these little bastards.

I was also on a homeopathic regimen to fight the side effects and possibly kill the cancer, but the supply ran out and I now must find another way to acquire it. I really am disappointed about this. It will require that I start all over. More time and possibly more money will need to go into that effort.

In the meantime I had a much long overdue appointment with my cardiologist. I was having some pains that made me think the old ticker was acting up. It turns out my EKG was normal, that's good. Unfortunately it also turns out that the chemo drug I am taking is noted for weakening the heart muscles. To add to the concern I am due for a 4 year stress test to check on the how my heart is doing after my bypass. That will entail two more highly specialized scans to be done at the heart doctor's location. By the middle of February I may be able to glow in the dark. 

Tomorrow I go in for more blood work ahead of Friday's possible Chemo. It all depends on the results of the scan and the bloodwork. I will have to wait and see.

Other than all the medical crap, I had one other appointment this last week. I took our car in to find out what was going on with the charging system. We thought we might have a bad battery or alternator, the latter costing around $900 installed. Luckily it was none of the above. 

The Dealership, Tempe Chrysler, did a diagnostic, changed the batteries in both our remotes and charged me a grand total to $8.86. I kid you not. Many thanks to my service advisor Torri and Temper Chrysler. They did me a big favor and I appreciate it very much. I was very concerned that now that we were out of warranty it would have been much more.

So if you are thinking that the high point of my week was NOT getting ripped off by my car dealer, well, you're right.


I am a simple man and small things like this please me greatly.

I hope you can find some joy in small things as well.

Hang in,

RT

 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chemo Crazy

My Chemo treatment almost didn't happen on Friday , ergo the title of today's post.
At the start of each year we have to pay our deductible and one time family copay before my treatments are 100%  covered. This is usually eaten up in the first month of the year because  of other hospital or doctor's bills.

 The issue we have had for 3 years running with my provider is their credit department wants all that money up  front regardless of whether they should be getting the full amount or bills were already in the pipeline from other providers.

The first year we paid a couple of thousand dollars to my cancer treatment  provider and then had to fight for months to get back the money we overpaid.

So the second  year Vicki told them she would not pay upfront and they should put it through the Insurance first. This way we could pay just what was left for the deductible and the family one time copay of $1000. Vicki and the credit dept fought over this and they did eventually submit to our Insurance first and then billed the exact amount left after other providers ahead of them were paid. In this instance we ended up owing only a hundred bucks and some change after the other providers ahead of them billed us and were paid.

Now again this year the same fight ensued between Vicki and the credit dept. They refused to  budge and sent me an e-mail stating they would cancel my treatments if we did not pay $2750 up front prior to my chemo. Vicki called and the credit person said she had consulted upper management and if we didn't pay up front there would be no treatment. Vicki replied we would change providers and I immediately  started researching other Cancer Treatment Centers. I settled on U of A Cancer Center at St. Joes in Phx, however I wanted to talk my current  Oncologist about this situation before changing after 3 years of chemo, surgery, and radiation with the same place. 

So we showed at 9:00 AM that morning per my  scheduled appointment and were told my appointment and treatment had been cancelled by the credit dept. I explained to the scheduling lady that I wanted to keep my appointment with my Oncologist and after speaking with him we would decide about further treatments. She put me back on the schedule for the appointment.

I should mention my Oncologist is awesome. He is not only a Doctor, but a researcher as well. He is also a great guy. We went over the results of my bloodwork and then I  asked his assistant and Vicki to let the Doctor and I have a private talk. After explaining the issue, I told him that I was concerned about them holding my treatments as hostage instead of following the program and submitting the invoice to our Insurance first. I  also stated we would be changing providers if the credit dept wouldn't follow the program.Then I asked him who was running the place, the Doctors or the Bean Counters. He stated that the Doctors still controlled treatment and I was not the only one with this problem. He then said if the credit gal wouldn't leave me alone he would meet with the managing partner and go from there. 

Luckily he fixed the problem and I got treatment on Friday. We paid the $99  for the office visit because we were pretty sure there was at least that much we hadn't yet paid. The rest of the deductible will be billed through Insurance first so we only pay what is owed.

This incident created a great deal of stress for both Vicki and I. During my conversation with the Oncologist I told him this and my  concern for the transition from private Insurance to Medicare when we retire in April. The last thing we need is more stress.

To add to this I let Vicki know that my condition is considered  chronic. When the doctor and I talked I asked him how long he estimated the treatments would continue. He replied that there was as yet no cure for metastasized colon cancer and I would most likely be in some sort treatment for the rest my life. This brought tears and more stress. It didn't do much for me either.

I will go for a scan before my next appointment and possible treatment on the20th.
My plan is to stay with traditional treatment, stay on my homeopathic regimen and research clinical trials.

As always,

Hang in.

RT  

PS: It's 20 minutes after 5 and I have not yet slept. So please excuse any grammar, formatting, or spelling errors. I have proofed this several times but each time I find something to change.