Hello there everyone. My cancer update for April is boring. Just continuing on with the current treatment. My bloodwork tumor markers dropped a little which is very good. Otherwise, we just stay the course until I have scans again in June or July. The scans are how they determine if the cancer is progressing. Of course if I feel like my health is taking a turn for the worse, we would move those up. I’m still on my second line of treatment (since June 2022):
- Fulvestrant shots (monthly)
- Lupron shot (monthly)
- Ibrance capsule (daily)
- Zometa IV infusions (quarterly)
Health/life-related update: The last month has been rough. I share this not in the spirit of complaining – I want to shine a light on the challenges of the way the for-profit American health care system is set up. As I advocate for myself it requires many phone calls, appointments, treatments and medications – all under the authority of the insurance company. The system puts absolutely all the responsibility for care on the patient, which works ok if you are not very ill. There is no central coordination. Every decision I make has to be considered with regard to insurance. The insurance company is dictating my care. Frankly we need a single-payer system which is not perfect but would address the vast majority of the challenges encountered. We are the ONLY country in the world with this kind of system. It is not the best, it’s not even passable any longer.
I know friends and family that are going to through similar challenges. I’m trying to figure out how to affect some change in the system.
I am grateful (and slightly annoyed) that my medical team finally connected me with a “stealth” nurse navigator (their word, not mine). During my appointment last Wednesday it was apparent that my mental health was in the toilet and I could not manage “all the things”.
Historically, I’ve had zero luck with nurse navigators. “Stacy,” however, is a nurse navigator they send patients to when everything has really fallen apart. Grateful because she was amazing, dealing with and resolving almost all the challenges within 24 hours. Annoyed because the best and most efficient staff should not be some secret that they don’t share with patients until their situation has become completely untenable.
The list of challenges I’ve been facing is too long to share. (No one other than your mother wants to hear all the detail – right mom?)
I’m trying to keep my sanity in check and one of the things I managed to make happen was to have Glen and the girls fly out to join me in Pasadena. I was on a work trip and it was spring break week for both girls.
I’m grateful for the few days we got to explore together. I also managed to squeeze in dinner with my bestie – which was too short but better than nothing at all.
In spite of the shit-show of cancer and all the related struggles, life is a gift. Make the most of it however you can.
Right daughter. We’re with you on this journey. Sending love and lots of hugs.