Saturday, September 3, 2011

Scan date

Wishing you all the most lovely long weekend. We were planning to go camping and sailing on Orcas Island, but instead elected to stay home since we've been gone the last few weekends. We live at the beach, and what better place to spend the long weekend than the beach! My plans are simply to lounge about reading good books and daydream and perhaps swim in the refreshing water of Lake Washington. But of course I should do those boring things like chores and laundry as well. 

Yesterday brought some news of which I have mixed feelings: my scan has been moved up to this Wednesday (!) and my follow-up appointment with my endocrinologist to Friday. I've been blissfully enjoying these months between scans, with the September 19th scan date looming over me like a ferocious deadline. And now that scan will be much sooner than anticipated. While I stew in my worry and apprehension, part of me is relieved to know the results sooner. Also, my insurance will be changing as of October 1st and knowing what to expect in the next year as far as healthcare costs will help me to select the right plan for me. I assure you that cancer patients know every little nook and cranny of their insurance plans. It's dizzying to sort through it all. I spent some good time with a calculator this week figuring out what plan would be most beneficial. 

Last year when I had to choose which plan to be on I selected the high-deductible HSA because I only went to the doctor but once a year for my annual check-up. Why on Earth would I have considered spending a small fortune each month for a lower deductible plan? Little did I know that there were poisonous cells multiplying out of control in my neck. But it turns out that with all of my treatment this plan has actually worked in my favor - after reaching my out of pocket limit (which is still sky-high), my insurance covered everything at 100%. My $60,000 radioactive iodine treatment at an out-of-network hospital? Covered completely, no questions asked. Thank Buddha. If I had selected the lower deductible PPO plan, I would have had to pay high copays for every doctor visit, scan, and day in the hospital, even after reaching my out-of-pocket limit. It's sad when you care more about the out-of-pocket limit than the deductible when selecting your insurance plan.

That said, I am so very grateful to have health insurance, and a job that pays for it. Healthcare is staggeringly expensive, and even if you think you're the healthiest person on the planet, you never know what could happen to you tomorrow. As someone who works in healthcare, I see how little we are reimbursed for the services we provide, yet insurance keeps getting more and more expensive. What is the answer to affordable healthcare? I wish I knew the whole answer to that question, but I have an inkling that it begins with some huge lifestyle changes for a large percentage of the population. 

I think prevention will get our society a long, long way. I have a lot of faith in people, and I truly believe that with proper education people would be willing to make some changes. But I know how rare it is for a doctor to be honest and frank with their patients. It's rare for a doctor to say, "look, you need to lose weight, and this is how you're going to do it." 

I highly recommend the film Forks Over Knives. It is an eye-opening documentary about health and diet. You think a plant-based diet is extreme? Well, what do you think about doctors sawing open your chest to perform a bypass graft because your arteries are clogged from all the cholesterol in your diet? Is that not more extreme? 

Okay, I'll stop ranting now and get back to daydreaming in the sunshine! May you all have a perfect weekend full of adventures, relaxation, and learning. I'll keep you updated as soon as I know my scan results, which probably won't be until after my appointment with Dr. Failor on Friday afternoon.




  1. Love this Lisa. So true! Healthcare needs to be more about prevention and education. good luck with your scan!