After all of that drama last night, guess what.I am NOT having chemo tomorrow.
Somebody didn’t send a form, so my treatment was denied. My nurse navigator, let’s call her J, called this afternoon to tell me the bad news. I called my insurance company. They denied the procedure because nobody asked them for it. My doctor never sent the pre-authorization form.
It seems ridiculous that it would be denied. Nobody WANTS chemo. It’s only administered because a doctor decided it was the best route. But medicine requires checks and balances, forms, pre-authorizations, authorizations, forms and more forms and more forms. The form wasn’t sent, so my procedure was denied.
A wonderful woman at my insurance company, let’s call her L, initiated a conference call with my doctor’s office. I asked why the pre-authorization request wasn’t sent. The doctor’s office said the cancer center should have sent it. I’m the patient, I said. I don’t know who is supposed to send what. All I know (I didn’t say all of this – but I thought it, and am thinking it) is that I’m supposed to get chemotherapy, my oncologist has said that chemotherapy is necessary, and now it’s delayed because somebody didn’t send a form. I already had to call yesterday to inquire about the medications J, my nurse navigator at the cancer center, said I would need, medications that would be prescribed by my doctor. Anti-nausea, plus a cream to numb the nerves around the medi-port where they’ll inject the chemo. Nobody called them in. Nobody called me. I had to call and ask.
Is this what it’s like? Does the patient have to constantly be proactive? I’m new to this.
I sound angry. I am angry. To prep, to be ready, to go through the psychological wear and tear and then to be told Nope. Not happening. Because somebody didn’t send a form. It angers me.
But I’m also relieved. I wasn’t ready yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready, but now I have more time. It’s all happened so quickly. Now I have a few more days to cook, to write, to clean, to relax, to breathe. I won’t need another COVID test. My test from Monday came back negative and J trusts us to continue to self-quarantine. Jim and I have talked to her, a lot, about how we navigate, especially with my parents coming to help. (They’re getting tested tomorrow. One big happy COVID-free family.) We’re ahead of the curve, she said. We’ve got a plan. Everything will be disinfected before I go. Anything that comes into our home will be wiped down. We’ll change clothes in the laundry room, which is between the garage and the rest of the house. We’ve got enough soap to wash our hands fifty times a day. We have masks and liners and gloves. We know I’m not going anywhere, except for an occasional drive.
I called J to tell her that I should know tomorrow whether my chemo’s been approved. She’s holding Monday at 12:30pm for me.
L called me five minutes before she was due to leave work to let me know she hadn’t received anything from the doctor’s office yet, but she would call me in the morning. She set my expectations by saying it probably wouldn’t be before 10am, more likely closer to noon.
J said, even with chemo on Monday, I should still be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. That would be nice, but if I can’t, I know we can push it back a day or two. I have to push back our head shaving until Friday. I don’t want to take the chance that I won’t be up for it on Wednesday.
I’m OK, relieved, that chemo is delayed until Monday. I’m not ready yet. I know I’ll never be ready for something like this, but I needed more time. I have so much to do! I want to get it over with. I don’t want it to start.
I’ve got four days. Four bonus days. Four extra, glorious days. I’m excited for those days. I’m not excited for the reason I have them, but I have them, and that’s the important part.
That’s a big life lesson, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s best to forget about the reason for something and be grateful for the result.