The last 24hrs have been a whirlwind of information, decisions, and action. I will start with yesterday.
Yesterday I had my appointment with my radiation doctor. This is a private practice doctor meaning that he is not directly associated with the cancer center and thus we are footing the bill for his services. At the appointment he inquires about when I am scheduled to start chemotherapy. I inform him that I do not know yet and that I do not even have an appointment with the surgeon to get my chemo port. He looks a little concerned about this since he will be ready to do radiation in a couple of days but I must first have my chemo. He then mentions that yeah, because you don’t have insurance things run slower for me over there (at the cancer center).
This took me by shock.
In so many words he was saying that because I did not have insurance that my treatment was being delayed. I then inquire about him whether I should be concerned about the delay because my cancer had not spread – yet – but could it spread because of the delay? He said that a week should not make a difference but that yes, a month would not be good. It had been a week and a half. The doctor goes on to say that if I had insurance he could send me right up to his oncologist and get me taken care of. This got to both my wife and I.
In addition to the revelation that our lack of insurance was delaying my treatment the doctor let me know the details about the radiation treatment. The treatment was going to be 26 doses over the next 6 weeks, 5 days a week. This was much different then what my oncologist told me. He had said every 3 weeks for 4-5 months. The radiation doctors also let me know that it would be a good idea to take 3-4 weeks off from work because by the 3rd week of radiation I was going to be out of commission. I would need to take the last 3 weeks off and have a week for recovery.
This blew me away.
At work they had been working with me to try to accommodate my schedule and had been really great about it. But that was at the every three weeks for 4-5 months level. This recommendation from the doctor changed everything. In looking at my schedule for the next 2 months I would be missing 2-3 days a week for the next 2-3 weeks and then be gone for 4 weeks. It is hard to be a productive part of the team when you aren’t there.
In light of this new information and still not knowing what the side effects of chemo were going to be we started to look at our options. The two issues that we were facing were:
- I was being delayed treatment for lack of insurance.
- I was not going to be able to work nearly as much as I thought I was going to be able.
Therefore this morning I set out to work while my wife set out to see what it would take in order for my to get on Medicaid or some other form of government sponsored insurance.
While at work I met with my boss and explained to him the turn of events. He was very understanding and in light of the delay in treatment wanted to make sure that I did what I needed to in order to ensure that I got the treatment I needed in a timely manner. I explained to him that it may look like I may need to be completely unemployed in order to qualify for one of these insurance programs. He understood and asked that I keep him informed.
I left for the day because I was fried and had some cancer related items to do.
While out my wife called me and said yes, indeed, the best thing for me was to quit my job today as it looks like we will be able to get some sort of insurance from one of the 3 programs that she had applied to. The thing was that I needed for today to be my last day. I asked her if she was sure and she said yes.
I went back to work.
Once there I met with my boss and his boss as well. Everyone was really understanding and supportive and even congratulated me on being able to get the ball rolling in the insurance area. I said my goodbyes, packed my stuff, and left.
I have to say that this insurance issue up until this point has been more of issue then the cancer itself. It is mind blowing that there are so many cracks out there and I seemed to slip through each and every one of them. It is crazy.
The plan from here is to work on getting the insurance in place. While that is going on we are putting our rental property up for sale and hopefully that will sell in the next few months. We have enough money from several different sources to “lightly” float for the next few months until the house sells.
I never imagined that I would be in a situation like this. Hopefully these moves that we have had to make in the last few days will calm the financial side of this battle so I can stat concentrating on getting well.