Battle with the Silent Killer

Friday, December 2, 2005

So, you might think that, this early in December, there's nothing to write about. Ha!

I went to my first "I Thrive" exercise session on December 1. While my doctor indicated that the "I Thrive" program was complete with physical therapy and gym use, it turned out to not be entirely so. Yes, I was referred to physical theraphy at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute. But, hey, why wasn't that done at the beginning of November, when I finally qualified for insurance? And, it turns out, the gym is not open for general use, but only for the nine hours a month that are formal instruction and tracking. So, I spent 15 minutes on a recumant stationary bike (not too bad, but I know I'm very slow!), 5 minutes on a treadmill (wait, don't I have one of those at home?), 15 minutes doing strength/balance exercises (no weights, no weight lifting machines) and 15 minutes of stretching. They monitor your pulse and blood pressure.

The "I Thrive" program was advertized as including support groups. The exercise program at St. Luke's is merely supportive. Yes, there are some neat folks (mostly women) in the group and I plan to keep it up. But, the classes are at either 7:45 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. and "Not a morning person" doesn't begin to describe me! So, I need to dig deeper to find out about the other "I Thrive" services.

So, I called the number for the P.T. yesterday only to discover that they are booked solid and couldn't get me in until December 28! The insurance will cover only 48 15-minute units, 12 hours of P.T. per year. Which would be almost okay, if I could get some serious time in during December. Intense P.T. for the next month might mean I only need limited P.T. in 2006. But, if the evaluation can't even happen until the end of December, you can guess how screwed I was beginning to feel. Plus, she told me that therapy would begin with one full week of hour long sessions. While I wanted an intense beginning, I was also aware that would eat up almost half of the annual allowance for physio.

But then, the scheduler said that I would be working with either Pierette or Nancy. Pierette! She had been my therapist after I had had complications with my bone marrow donation. It was beginning to feel like fate was, once again, going to favor me. I left a message for Pierette to call me. And, of course, I just missed her call last night!

But, there was some good news. I asked to be called if there were any cancellations and they've already got my evaluation rescheduled to December 8. Then, Pierette called me this morning and (remembering me) said that she was very distressed to learn why I was trying to get in. I explained about the limited coverage for each calendar year, something she was aware of. She assured me that, somehow, she and Nancy would work it out, so that I will be able to receive as much therapy as they can throw at me for the rest of the month!

But wait, there's more!


Back in August, after my first hospital stay, my sister suggested that I try acupuncture with Mary Iverson. My dad was even willing to pay for it, anything to try and speed the recovery of those clots! But, before I could get in to see Mary, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and put in the hospital.

It turns out that both of my sisters, Judy and Jennifer, are seeing Mary for acupuncture. They talked to Mary about my case (since I had had to cancel my appointment with her when I went into hospital) and she volunteered to take me on as a practice case. She hasn't worked much with cancer cases, apparently. So, I have an appointment to become a pin cushion on December 6.

So, did you know that ovarian cancer costs upwards of $70,000 to attempt to remedy? My brother-in-law, Michael, had estimated that the initial hospital stay in September would be about $30,000. And, with all the pathology lab statements that slowly dribble in, he was just about right on the money. But then there is the post surgical follow-up. Chemotherapy is about $6,000 each day. Insurance won't cover the "I Thrive!" program, so I'm fortunate that Judy is covering it. But, wow, what would a person do without medical assistence?

Of course, I believe that part of the reason why health care has become so expensive is actually because of the insurance. People say, 'well, I don't have to pay for it; my insurance will'; then there's no pressure to keep the cost reasonable. I believe that health care and utilities should only be run by non-profit companies; there's something not right about high-paid executives and companies motivated by profit making money off of services that people must have, whether they can truly afford it.

Battle with the Silent Killer
More on Recovery
February (next)

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Darbie Marlin
West 524 Euclid Avenue
Spokane, Washington 99205, USA
Voice: 509. 325 .3996

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Last Updated - December, 2005