Inventory Check!

March 20, 2020 Leave a comment

I just finished my 10th and last radiation treatment for the enlarged lymph node in my left pelvic area. I was hoping to get all the “burns” in before any positive Coronavirus results for my county were announced. But alas, there were 2 confirmed cases on Monday and that number has risen to 7 as of today.

Now that the radiation regimen is completed, I still have an Opdivo infusion coming up next Wednesday. After that, barring any major, unforeseen, personal medical events (like another freakin’ stroke), I can really hunker down to weather the impending Coronavirus maelstrom.

As you might have guessed, I fall into the high risk, immune-system-compromised, Coronavirus group. D’oh! If I DO get sick when the hospitals are overflowing, and the inevitable “triage” policy is instituted, the triage nurse is gonna walk right past me and I’ll smile and wave her/him by. At this point in my life, what more can happen to me? LOL!

On the bright side, I decided to take inventory on my beloved stress-and-anxiety-reducing cannabis product stash…

Between my stash and the frequent warm embraces of Katy Kahuna, I think I’m good to go for quite awhile, dontcha think?

Categories: Cancer

Rejected And Reversed

March 15, 2020 2 comments

I thought I had gotten away with transitioning between health insurers seamlessly. But alas, in this fucked up, maddeningly complicated, healthcare system, it was not meant to be.

This past Monday I started a 10 session radiation regimen for a growing cancerous lymph node in my left pelvic region. The previous week I had a standard “radiation teach”  learning session and a “coordinate scanning” CT scan so that the technicians could use the images to guide Burnadette’s radiation beam to its nasty target.

Early in the week I received this notice of rejection from my new insurance company:

So, I went to the Excellus BCBS web site to verify. Lo and behold:

After calling my radiologist and telling her about the rejection, she told me not to worry. She would call the insurance company and have a peer-to-peer discussion with the insurance company doctor that rejected my claims.

On Friday, I received this reversal of decision notice:

My radiologist came through for me with flying colors. Thanks Tracy. You rock!

So, I made it through 5, 15 minute, burn sessions last week. I hope I can make it through the last five this week before my state gets put on COVFEFE-45 “lockdown“. Oh, and I have an Opdivo infusion scheduled for the following week. This is sooooo much fun that I can’t wait to find out what the future holds.

Categories: Cancer

Katy Kahuna

March 5, 2020 3 comments

Meet sweet Katy Kahuna…

I’m 61 years old and I discovered dear Katy precisely when I needed her. She is the best personal item I’ve ever purchased.

Katy is a powerful yet gentle, robust, electro-mechanical marvel to behold. She weighs 220 lbs to my (current 😉 ) 211 lbs. Her physical structure is comprised of a set of sturdy, rolling, throbbing balls on an L track that straddles my spine. She also has a plethora of air compression bags and heating pads that can give me a bone crushing or smoothly relaxing massage.

Katy is soooo good that I want to die in her arms in mid-massage while the “Yoga-Stretch” program is running. When the program ends we can then be carted off to the crematory together and stuffed in an urn after we’re pulverized into ashes!

I think Katy allowed me to briefly glimpse, feel, taste, hear, and smell what’s waiting for us all on the other side. I experienced this out-of-body epiphany while simultaneously:

  • Laying snugly in Katy’s arms running the “Elite Lower Back” program,
  • High on a pot brownie, and
  • Listening to an Eckhart Tolle podcast.

It was an orgasmic, heavenly experience!

Categories: Cancer

Just Ten More Hits

By using the word “hits” in the title, I don’t mean “hits” from a blunt. I mean “hits” from my friend Burnadette Radner. She’s been waiting patiently in the background to come to my aid whenever I need her firepower in my battle against the EOAM. She’s already helped me with ten, burn-baby-burn, hits on each of two other cancerous lymph nodes a year ago.

My latest chest/abdomen/pelvis CT scan showed that a pesky lymph node in my left pelvic area has grown to a size (2.8 cm) such that my oncologist/radiologist dynamic duo decided it must be radiated ten times to kill the bastid. The lymph node in question has been growing slowly on and off for quite a while and now it’s time to blast the bejesus out of that EOAM soldier. I start the treatment regimen this upcoming Monday and I’m ready to rock. Let’s do it!

The good news in this post is that the CT scan also revealed that all the other numerous cancerous tissue spots are still shackled by the lifesaving power of my Opdivo (Nivolumab) infusions. Thanks Bristol-Myers Squibb!

An interesting side topic is that I had to transition from one insurer (UnitedHealthcare) to another (Excellus BCBS) just two days ago on 3/1/20 because my COBRA coverage expired.

Excellus won’t be too happy with the effect of my first ten claims on their bottom line:

Aw shit! This new customer is a fuckin’ stage 4 cancer patient. We can’t wait until he croaks or until protection for pre-existing conditions is gutted via the supreme court striking down the whole ACA law on a technicality.

Categories: Cancer

Thumbs Up

February 21, 2020 Leave a comment

At some point last Sunday I noticed some pain in my right thumb. The pain was localized to a small area where the nail boundary interfaces with the skin. The pain worsened and expanded outward during the day but I didn’t think much of it since it wasn’t dominating my consciousness.

When I woke up on Monday the pain was still expanding and my hitchhiking thumb looked like this:

Even though there weren’t any obvious patches of pus in the area, I started mining for its oozy white presence by gently puncturing the skin in several places with a hydrogen peroxide dipped needle. It hurt so much that I postponed further testing until I could actually see pus pockets sometime in the future.

Even though the pain was getting worse and the coverage area was expanding, I thought the infection wasn’t that bad and it would self-heal without any external medical treatment. As you may know, BD00 isn’t a doctor but he thinks he is after observing and experiencing four years of various cancer treatments. 😂

So, the pain kept getting worse until it was a continuous throbbing menace that kept me up most of Monday night. I swear I could feel the thump-thump of my heartbeat in my thumb every time it throbbed with pain.

On Tuesday afternoon I heeded the advice from a friend’s doctor boyfriend and headed to a Wellcare urgent care center.

The doctor looked at it and gently pressed on it looking for any liquid discharge. She decided not to lance the injury and wrote scripts for 7 days worth of Keplex antibiotic capsules and an antibiotic ointment. I noticed the antibiotics working rather quickly. I slept through Tuesday night without too much pain and on Wednesday the pain was much less intense. It also didn’t feel like the infection was expanding any further.

On Thursday I had an appointment with my oncologist and I showed him my thumb. Even though I told him I was on the mend, he was concerned that the infection was perhaps too deep and it could start affecting the physical function of my thumb by eating through ligaments/cartilage. Thus, he setup an appointment with an orthopedic doctor for Friday morning.

Of course, I had noticed the functional deterioration in my thumb already because, among other extremely simple activities, I couldn’t wipe my ass at all with it because the pain was so intense that I had to use my opposite hand. Oops, TMI? (A nonfunctional thumb sounds like a good bit for a Larry David “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode.)

After a visit to the orthopedic doctor and an X-ray of the thumb, he sent me on my way with instructions to stay the course with the pills and ointment and a periodic dip in a cup of peroxide.

Here’s the latest pic showing the infection drying up and withering away.

 

Categories: Cancer

A Precious New Card

February 10, 2020 Leave a comment

Look what came in the mail….

It’s my official Cancer Card. It’s “official” because it’s been approved by the department of BD00!

Now I can whip it out whenever I need some excuse for bad behavior. Whoo hoo!

Note: The color on the wallet cancer crab card isn’t red because my printer’s color output is all fucked up.

Categories: Cancer

A Chronic Left Cerebellar Lacunar Infarct

February 3, 2020 Leave a comment

Before reading any further, please recite the title of this post really fast three times in a row.

I had my quarterly brain MRI last week followed by a meeting with my neurosurgeon and his nurse. Since the overall finding in the report was “no significant interval change“, meaning virtually no change from my October 15th MRI, the meeting was short and sweet. Phew! Another three month reprieve from the EOAM!

However, when I read the report in detail over the weekend I noticed a peculiar line in it……

Since I never saw anything like it on any previous MRI, I called my neurosurgeon’s office and left a message asking if the peculiar line in the report was a mistake, or just an area so minor that there is nothing to worry about. Should I do or take something different and/or be on the lookout for symptoms that indicate the “infarct” is getting worse?

The nurse called me back later and essentially said that it’s par for the course for my condition and age. And you know what? I think she’s absolutely right. Compared to the elephants in the room, you know, those three “enhancing hemorrhagic masses“, a “chronic left cerebellar lacunar infarct” is a pipsqueak. They both sound pretty scary though, dontcha think?

Categories: Cancer
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