Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today is appointment day

Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for Tomorrow"

Today is appointment day. It’s big time appointment day. I’ll be driving all the way to Beantown with my grandparents, who just came home from winitering in FL. I will see big time Dr. Alyea as well as my psychiatrist, which is always a treat to have someone “impartial” to bounce my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors off of.
I certainly have plenty of problems that I don’t like to mull over other than in highly supervised hands.
That could be an equation for a nervous breakdow. Thankfully, I am in the very experience, avante-gaurde thinking, Dr. C., so she can help me process what I would prefer not to.
While she is helping me process these nasty little things called “feelings” she also, somehow, makes me feel like everything will be okay, that the world IS good.
She also helps me pick my battles.
For example, the big bully insurance company has an “agreement” with the drug maker of the anti-depressant celexa.
Silly me, I wasn’t aware of their financial agreement and was taking the very similar, albeit different, drug of the same anti-depressant class of SSRIs, Lexapro.
One day when I was sick and sleeping I was aroused from my sleep by a phone call from the insurance company asking questions and requesting I order medication after medication after medication through them.
This was not what I wanted to do with the down time I had mapped out for napping when I have gastro-enteritis.
In general, I don’t want to spend anytime on the phone talking to a stranger about ordering 10 different drugs for my personal pharmacy arsenal.
I would rather be chit-chatting with friends from college or who live far away, but since taking my medications isn’t optional (I’m pretty sure it saves my life), I was ordering away.
Then, at the end, she asks if the insurance company could switch me to the generic form of the anti-depressant I am currently taking, which is essentially the same.
“Fine, whatever. Whatever, just as long as it gets you off the phone with me so I can go back to napping and being miserable.” I thought.
“Sure, that’s fine.” Came out of my mouth.
I truly thought that I was giving the okay to switch from a name brand “lexapro” to whatever cheap generic version of the same drug existed.
I wasn’t. I had been tricked. Me, with all my education and background in knowing these medications, and how they respond, their difference, their chemical structures, etc. I had been duped.
The next week, when I called in for y lexapro prescription, I had been advised the insurance company had told the pharmacy I would be needing to change to celexa.
My co-pay was no longer $10. It had risen suddenly to $50.
Excuse me?!! Those bullies.
Does anybody really see this as an “option” to change my medication, if the change is being enforced by suddenly making the drug co-pay unaffordable?
This is not a decision. I can’t pay $50 when I think I will pay ten. I am on a budget, like the rest of America should be. I have EXPENSES.
To put this cost increase into perspective, I’m guessing minimum wage in America is about $7.00 and hour. The insurance company suddenly told me that the lexapro was worth7.142 man hours at minimum wage.
Wow, that’s a whole day of work.
I don’t really see where the “choice” to change came into play if I am being forced to suddenly make the “chose” to use that extra $0 I could save to eat and heat my house or take a pill..
I certainly felt bullied. I felt oppressed.
But Dr. C calmed me down, and told me the change between the two medications wasn’t worth fighting over, but it certainly wasn’t nice big pharm had bullied me.
You know, hell hath no fury like a woman who is denied her anti-depressants, especially, suddenly, over night.
Suddenly stopping SSRI anti-depressant causes WITHDRAWALS. This doesn’t sound like anything I would want to experience in addition to all the pain and agony I suffer from this crazy disease called “cancer.”
Thankfully, Dr. C talked some sense into me. She calmed me, and used her expertise to convince me the change will be fine, though it was not very nice that the company jacked up the price suddenly and put me into the position where I could possibly not access the prescription and withdrawal.
This, she told me, was not a battle I needed to fight.
This is an important distinction I have trouble making.
I have a lot of anger, and I need to have an outlet.
I’ve chosen my outlet to be health care reform.
It only seems appropriate given my current situation, and my education, and actually, my lifelong interest in healthcare reform.
Life works in mysterious ways, but I do need assistance with being told which fight should be fought to win the war.
Fighting every battle would be too exhausting.
I do not want to compromise my health with feelings like stress and anger (both are proven to compromise the immune system).
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a beautiful day taking a road trip with the grandparents. I am drinking my costa Rican coffee. A deer just nonchalantly walked through my back yard.
Life is good today.

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