On the Mend

Some may not realize it, but I completed my 5th round of chemo last week.

Admission
I was admitted on 4/27.  It was the usual outpatient visit with Dr. Cripe and then upstairs to the 3rd floor for admission to the unit.  I was in A pod for the first time since December.  I like A pod.  My chemo started at 2pm that day and I received a dose every 12 hours, including Saturday at 2am.  At 5:30 am on Saturday I received 2 more quick doses of chemo and was ready to be discharged about 9a.  Besides there being a folding chair where a stool should have been, my room was in complete working order.  I guess there’s a first time for everything.
Discharge
As I said, I was discharged around 9am on Saturday.  Lindsey picked me up and we headed home.  The next few days consisted of mostly me either being in bed, or just up enough to eat and see the kids a bit.  I didn’t have bad headaches (thankfully) and the nausea was manageable with phenergan.  Overall the biggest side effect was fatigue, which I’ll take all day long over some of the others.  Tuesday was still a rough day, but on Wednesday I started feeling better.  I wasn’t up to doing much, but I could at least be out of bed all day and I actually wore clothes instead of pajamas.  On Thursday and Friday I was able to work from home and during the weekend we hosted my family.  Today I am doing quite well and have been out of the house a few times.  I’m not walking any long distances or anything, but at least I can keep one foot in front of the other.
I Don’t Feel Well
Late last week, Lindsey came to me and said she wasn’t feeling well.  It wasn’t the best timing since it was after chemo but it wasn’t bad timing because I was well enough to at least keep the kids fed and alive.  After a day or so of not feeling well, and not really sure why Lindsey said “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I was pregnant.” SAY WHAT!  Now that will get you out of your chemo fog in a heartbeat.  It’s funny because no matter how impossible it would be for her to be pregnant, in the back of your mind you’re still thinking “oh holy hell”.  It’s pretty much impossible because A) The chemo has most likely killed off all my swimmers to the bottom of the testicle pool and B) Lindsey has an IUD and C) Well, in all honesty, with 3 kids and monthly chemo there ain’t much of anything going on here.  Still, we took a test just to be sure.  I was quite relived that it was negative.  And even more relieved when the 2nd and 3rd test were negative as well.  You can never be  too sure 😉
Oh IU Health, I love Ya
In December I joked about being an IU Health Employee, being treated by IU Health physicians, at an IU Health facility, with IU Health insurance.  What could possibly go wrong!  The latest example of billing woes is with my Neulasta shots.  These are the shots I get once a month after discharge to help boost my blood counts.  I’ve had a shot in January, February, March, and April.  Just recently my Jan and Feb shots made it through insurance, er well, didn’t make it through insurance.
Here’s the funny thing.  It’s the exact same shot, with the exact same bill code, and the IU Health insurance treated the Jan shot differently than the Feb shot.  The Jan shot was denied because I wasn’t pre-certified and the Feb shot was denied because I wasn’t pre-authorized. Now those two things sound quite similar, but they are apparently quite different.  You see, the charge not pre-authorized did not qualify for the insurance’s negotiated rate, so they say I owe $9,160.75 for that little shot.  While the charge that wasn’t pre-certified does get a discount, so I “only” owe $5,518.44 for that shot.  It amazes me that the exact same shot is being treated 2 different ways.  Not to mention, when I contacted my IU Health Physician’s office about my IU Health insurance woes, the IU Health Physicians office clearly had a confirmation number from my insruance company that my shot was pre-authorized, certified, and everything else that was needed.
Unfortunately said insurance didn’t have a record of that, so we had to do a retroactive pre-authorization/certification (I think time travel was involved).  I’m well on my way to having this cleared up, but imagine it will take a few more phone calls.  As IU Health transforms, we are supposed to be saving costs or increasing our revenue by 25%.  I think we could save a lot if our IU Health insurance trusted the decision of our IU Health doctors.  After all,aren’t 80% of US News & World Reports top doctors in Indiana practicing at IU Health?
Steroids
My A cycle involved 4 days of steroids during the 2nd week of the cycle.  I’m taking those steroids right now and they are messing with me a bit.  Unfortunately I’m not pumping iron, so I don’t get any of the muscle building benefits.  Then there’s the important side effect of the winky dink shrink. I’m still doing ok there.  However the steroids are keeping me up something fierce.  I suppose it’s not too bad because I’m not tired during the day, but it’s just annoying not being able to go to sleep at night when you want to.  I’ve tried various combinations of the drugs at my disposal, but I think I’m just going to have to tough these four days out.  At least the winky dink won’t shrink.
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Father God, thank you for feeling good.  Thank you for a positive outlook so that even if I feel bad, I try to see the good in it.  And when all else fails, thank you for holding me in your arms and comforting me.  Be with those that need you tonight.  Even those that don’t know they need you.  Thank you for another day.  Amen.

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