Monday, April 30, 2007

One More To Go!!

So, it is official, tomorrow is my last day of radiation. After almost 6 weeks, I will get to stop making my daily journey to UCLA to get my foot fried. They say that I will continue to have increasing side effects for the next week or so and then the healing will progress. So, I get to keep the crutches for awhile longer, but the light at the end of the tunnel of this journey that was once so faint is now burning brightly- I may have to crutch towards it, but I don't see anymore detours on my path. So, tomorrow I will internally skip (while my body crutches away) out of the radiation suite and herald the entry into phase 4 with a big smile and joy in my heart for everyone who has helped me in this journey.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Roar of the Greasepaint,
Smell of the Crowd

A little over a month ago, I saw the above play with some friends done by a community theatre. It was a fun afternoon that occurred back when I wasn't getting around too well so it was a welcome change of pace, but I can't say it was the best play I ever saw. As we were leaving the theatre, the producer was telling us how we'd be thinking about the play tomorrow. Well, I'm now thinking about the play and I think it is a good analogy for how I feel right now.

So, here is a brief synopsis- The play is a social commentary set in the post industrial revolution England demonstrating how the working class can't get ahead because of the rules set and constantly changed by the ruling classes. In the play Sir (representing the ruling class) plays the game of life with Cocky (representing the working class). Sir makes Cocky march around through the squares of the game board at his direction- so many steps forward so many steps backwards so that Cocky never really gets anywhere and has no real control over his life or circumstances. Whenever it looks like Cocky will make advanceemnts Sir changes the rules to knock him backward again. Not exactly the scintillating material one would expect from a musical, but this week I feel a little like Cocky to cancer's Sir. Here's why-

I had my first surgery six months ago and then spent the subsequent 6-8 weeks on crutches using a cane etc. During that time I also learned that I had cancer- take 10 steps back. Just when I started walking again and somewhat able to do things (5 steps forward) Sir (ie. surgery #2, a week in the hospital and lots of pain) kicked me back to the starting point. However, within a week I was taking laps (albeit slow) around the hospital ward on crutches, 2 steps forward. Then Sir, laughing sedistically sent me packing backwards again with surgery #3, a week of bedrest, more pain, and a month in the wheelchair etc, 15 steps back. Two and a half months later, I finally started walking unassisted again (10 steps forward) just before Sir's next obstacle in the form of radiation which has been slowly pushing me back squares as my foot has become increasingly burned and tender from radiation's side effects. Then on Monday, Sir (in the form of my radiation doc, subsequently confirmed by my surgeon) came around a knocked me back a few steps short of the starting point again by declaring that I need to be as close to non-weightbearing as I can tolerate once again in order to reduce the inflammation running rampant in poor lefty. So, my crutches have come back out of the closet. The sight of them induced tearful sobs of protest from me, but I can't deny that I am really in too much pain to keep walking. So, here I am knocked back to crutches again. Crutches which were once a victory over wheelchair, now feel like a painful sentence. However, unlike Cocky I will get through this and once again my determination and inner strength will get me to the finish line, this is just a major bump in the road, a detour, a little side trip, but I still have my eyes on the prize and I will get there. I promise- even if i have to keep repeating that promise to myself over and over again like a mantra of strength.

Monday, April 23, 2007

In other News

The best part of my last week was held back until it was officially announced in the blogger world by the House of Prince . My dear friend Kim asked me to be with her when she gave birth to her second son as I was for her first sons entrance into the world. I would say that it is a rare friend who wants you there for the actual brith, but that is what Kim wanted and fortunately both of her children have complied to allow me to make it, even if Brady just barely waited for me to finish my daily foot fry and battle LA's traffic to get there. I would love these kids whatever the cricumstance as they are my friends offspring and Kyle is my godson, but having known them from moment one is special. So, welcome Brady- you'd better grow up to be a good quarterback.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sometimes You Have To Remember where you Started

I'm officially over half way done with radiation and as I told my physical therapist today, my foot is cooked. Literally it is beyond done and is getting very red and painful. I sent pictures of it to my surgeon on Monday who was actually quite happy with its appearance considering how far into radiation I am. She has a way of always making me feel better, I just wish she wasn't 3000 miles away. However, I will be flying out to NYC again in May for my post radiation visit. Anyways, back to my now panfried ( as opposed to cryovacced like it was earlier) ankle. For the last few days I have been complainaing about how badly lefty's heel hurts when I walk or touch it or anything of the sort. I now have a contraption to keep the bedsheets off of it. I am down to one pair of shoes from two and actually had one of the radiation people think that i might wind up back on crutches by the end of treatment- um, hell no -is my response to that. Fortunately, for me my doctor thought that was crazy too, but it doesn't remove the issue that really lefty's heel hurts. Then the other day I was reading through my old blog and I came to the post where I describe feeling my heel for the first time. I so clearly remember that day and how happy I was to feel my foot and realize that even though lefty is now scarred for life, it is still a part of me, still works and I can still direct it to do mostly what I want. Therefore, I have decided to transmute this current pain into celebrating the above facts and see where that gets me. Meanwhile i will continue copious use of aloe to hopefully help the whole thing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On insurance

I haven't worked full time in over 5 months, and yesterday thank goodness I got my first check for being on long term disability. Many of you have heard about my issues with this whole thing over the last few months, but really hello why did it take 5 months. My friend V-L is convinced that disability insurance tries to wait until you are healthy again before they agree to actually send any checks your way. I don't think she is far off from the truth, but today I am so thankful that I took out a private disability policy. I am going straight to the bank and then I will find some way to celebrate.

In other insurance news, I have previously bogged about how the hospital was trying to bill a very old insurance policy that I can't figure out how they got and had identity theft recommended as a solution (Thanks Harvey). Well, I am not that desparate yet, but I did try my best to inform the hospital of their mistake, make sure they had my proper insurance info, etc. thinking somehow they made a simple mistake. Despite all of my efforts and hours of frustration they still are billing the same old insurance carrier first, and I am starting to feel that there is something more sinister ie. intentional in this effort. It seems that that insurance pays better and the hospital hopes that payments will slide through. The odd thing is I'd have no diea if I didn't a- like my parents and talk to them all the time, b - if my parents didn't live in the same house they've lived in for over 30 years and c- if they didn't tell me about it. Why- because all of the rejections letter from said iinsurance company are being mailed to my dad.... There is not one single indication on any of the numerous bills that i receive from the hospital that this is going on, but yet here we are. Fortunately, after said ancient insurance rejects them they pull it together and send the bills to my proper insurance company who pays them. That is why I am now questioning intent because they have all the right info and eventually use it, but seem to want to try to see if they can get the other to slide first. HMMM

Oh yeah, and btw I am almost half way done with radiation.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

I just wanted to quickly wich everyone a very happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I'm not bored

I remeber back when I took two months off after finishing fellowship and then realized that that would mean two months without a paycheck so I agreed to work several nights at the hospital in Chicago to supplement my income. I felt like I wasn't really working and I had all of this free time, but when I actually filled out the stuff to get paid I realized I had averaged around 50 hours a week. It hit me in that moment how crazy my life and job were. I mean really who works 50 hours a week and thinks that they aren't "really working"; however, the truth of the matter was that was less than half as much as I had been averaging for the past 6 years so really the new found free time was huge. Unfortunately, that was a brief sojourn into working what most people would call normal number of hours for a full time job, I have sense returned to working on average 60-100 hours a week, better than I was in training, but still a lot.

Therefore, I guess it should come as no surprise to me that everyone keeps asking me if I am bored since I haven't been working full time for over 5 months. My standard answer is that managing complex healthcare issues really is a full time job and really that is true. I spend about three hours everyday getting to and from radiation (7 down, 21 to go- for those keeping track), then another 1-2 hours doing my physical therapy exercises or going to physical therapy. Then there is the obligate resting period that the above activities require of me and dealing with insurance which is really a whole other post in and of itself. I am left with some time to do things I enjoy and really no time to get bored. However, I have lately been wandering how I will prepare myself to go back to working the type of hours that my job requires. It currently is a mystery, but maybe as I get better I will find myself wanting to go back. Still my current inability to stand for more than 3-5 minutes rules out my being able to work right now even if I was bored, so I have time to figure it out.