Catching Up

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16

The last couple of days have been something of a blur. The Dr visit on Wednesday went well. However, it brought up a concern.  The Dr explained that considering the size of the tumor and the aggressiveness of the cancer, I needed something in addition to the standard R-CHOP chemo regimen.

Subsequently, he wanted to put me on a chemo pill (Revlmid) in addition to the standard chemo infusion. The challenge is that Revlimid is considered an experimental drug and subsequently is outrageously expensive. In order to receive it, my insurance company would need to agree to the additional cost. They explained that the insurance company had a board of physicians that reviews such requests in relation to the patient’s diagnosis and presents a recommendation to the insurance company. They also explained that the experimental drugs are very expensive to the patient even after insurance. If we are unable to use the Revlimid treatment, I would need to go back to the hospitalized 96 hour Epoch infusions. This was a little discouraging because we understood we wouldn’t need to have the EPOCH treatment.

On the way home from the Dr’s office, the nurse called to tell us the insurance company approved the Revlimid treatment and someone from the insurance company would be calling to tell me what the cost would be. Again, she reminded me this would likely be a very expensive copay.

Thursday evening, the insurance company called to let me know about the copay amount and to receive guidance from the pharmacist regarding the risks associated with the drug. The good news is my copay was only $150. That seems really high until you consider that the ten pills cost over $10,000.

The Revlimid is scheduled to be delivered on Monday and I will begin taking it on Tuesday night after my chemo infusion and will take one pill each evening for 10 nights. This avoids the need for the hospitalized EPOCH treatment which is a huge blessing.

While I was visiting with the Dr, I discussed the sadness and occasional anxiety I have been experiencing. He immediately looked at me and said, “you’re going to be fine” (which was very relieving to hear!). Then we discussed some options to help with the emotional factors related to the situation.

They also put me in touch with a counselor who is working to find a counselor in the Ponca City area to refer me to. I asked for one who focuses on using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This will provide me with some “tools” to help me restructure the unhealthy thoughts that result in this anxiety and fear.

Just as an aside, of the various therapeutic techniques (modalities) that are out there, CBT is my favorite because it focuses on providing the patient with tools they can use to help themselves rather than relying upon a counselor continuously. It is interesting being on the receiving side of therapy rather than being the counselor though.   This whole experience, as well as my engagement with a counselor, certainly provides me with some great experience for when I eventually begin my counseling practice!

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