Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 16

I resumed my high-dose interferon infusions today, which is a huge relief. I want to get this nasty regimen behind me. The white blood cells are back to doing their thing, and the liver enzymes are not sufficiently elevated to knock me out of the box. So barring an unexpected setback, I’ll finish this stage of treatment on Friday. That’s when I can also have my central venous catheter removed. That dingle-dangle is a tool of the devil. I want it banished.

No serious side-effects—yet, at least—from today’s jolt. It helps that it’s a warm, humid evening. The light breeze blowing through my office windows is restorative. It’s a misnomer to call my infusions this week “high dose” since I’ve been knocked back to a third of the original amount. When I start the interferon injections (by syringe instead of infusion pump) next week I’m supposed to be bumped back up from 13 to 20 million units. It won’t come as a shock if I can’t handle that dose, given my track record. The injections are thrice weekly, compared to every weekday now. So while I hope to find the treatments more manageable, the general malaise it causes isn’t likely to end.

A new obstacle to my goal of resuming a more normal life came up unexpectedly today. I was told by the people at the clinic that my insurance company will cover the cost of the injectable interferon, but only if it’s done by nurses in the chemo lab, where I’ve been having my infusions. If I choose to inject the drug myself, I’m on the hook for 50% of the cost—a mere $400 per day. That’s bullshit. There is nothing technical about the injection; I could easily do it myself. The net effect of this policy, if I can’t work around it, is to tether me to the clinic for another 48 (!) weeks. That simply isn’t going to happen. More on this later. This may be what prompts me to finally say “Enough!” to interferon.

It appears I will be starting radiation treatments next week. I pay another visit to the cancer center later this week.


LynnZ said...

I've been following your blog daily and decided to give this blogosphere thang a try. Peter, I can't imagine the roller coaster ride you've been on, but I can see that you have put your trust in God's hands to help ease the burden. I'm glad to see your sense of humor and way-with-words come shining through. (OK, now I'm sounding like Paula Abdul. Ick.)
Sending love your way...

Anonymous said...

May you be encouraged as you realize how many are upholidng you in prayer, brother. You have encouraged me greatly by sharing your life so publicly.

dave said...

Dear Peter,

I am still keeping up and continue prayers.

As to you health plan, be vocal. Their policy is rediculous.

I did Bay to Breakers on Sunday and thought of you.

Talk to you soon.

Anonymous said...

Peter, Ellen: Thanks for the words of wisdom yesterday. Kerry is supposed to be scheduled for surgery today. They can't find eye damage just fractured bones

About the insurance; Oregon does have an insurance arbitration organization.