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Nine complete

I just got unhooked from chemo Round Nine, another light round with no oxaliplatin. Thus, no cold sensitivity – hooray! The lighter dose means slightly better food tolerance (I had real food for lunch yesterday!), and less tiredness.  This time around my platelets are back into the normal-people range, but both red and white blood cells are a bit low, and I’m slightly anemic (let’s not talk about what low platelets and chemo do to menstrual periods, except I’ll talk about that if anyone wants or needs my experiences. Silence sucks.). Nothing too bad. 

I have an appointment with a radiation oncologist next week to plan out the next steps. My understanding so far is that I’m done with infusions for a while, but will be probably be doing radiation five days a week, and oral 5-FU (Xeloda) seven days a week, though at a lighter dose than I get via infusion. I had the option to have a seven-day pump instead, but oral sounds a whole lot more convenient. The velocikittenraptors would be VERY upset if I couldn’t ever play with them because of dangling tubing, and it’s all about the cats, right? Also, all about the showering without worrying about bandages that must stay dry.

So, oral chemo. This is not something you can get at just any old pharmacy, of course. The specialty pharmacy called Wednesday to tell me that the copay would be $900 for 28 days of pills. <em>EEEEP.</em> They have a person whose job it is to help patients figure out strategies for paying really high copays. Most of the options are for Medicare patients, or those with low incomes, and I’m neither, but I talked to him anyway just in case.

I think it’s great that the specialty pharmacy has such a person, but appalling that such a job needs to exist.

After some further discussion with my insurance company, entirely done by the pharmacy folks, they figured out that if they send the prescription to a <em>different</em> pharmacy, the copay will only be $100. I’m very impressed that this pharmacy (CareSite, a Geisinger subsidiary) would both do the legwork and then give away the prescription. Thanks, folks.

While there are plenty of horror stories out there, so far I’ve had very good experiences with both my insurance company (Federal Blue Cross), and with both my medical care and all the infrastructure surrounding it. I’ve already hit my maximum annual out-of-pocket cap, so many things should be completely covered from here on out. I can’t imagine having to deal with insurance nightmares on top of having cancer. I feel very lucky, which in itself is kind of appalling. Why should luck have anything to do with getting good medical care?


  1. Mari says:

    I can just imagine the kittens being endlessly amused by a bit of plastic that was attached to you.

  2. valerio says:

    It does seem counter intuitive to say, “cool, a 100 dollar co-pay”, but I guess, cool.

    Hope your med transition goes well, and remember the offer if you guys need a driver for a trip somewhere.


  3. Vince says:

    I am amazed that you can objectively relate your experiences with the optimism and yet the reality as a person of science as to the nature of the beast.
    You have the resources and the gifts to continue to the cure stage of this ordeal.
    I remember the love you have for the outdoors and your gardens. They will keep you grounded, yet, not as much as the study of salt marsh called Barn Island.
    It seems like yesterday, your time at Conn. College and Prof. R.S. Warren.
    He wishes you continued recovery. ‘If he can do it, so can you’.

  4. $900 copay? Holy f’ing shit.

    I’m so glad they found a way to drop that to $100.

    But not as glad as I am that things have been going so well for you.