cancer

“You have cancer” (a Thanksgiving-ish story)

A few people I’ve talked to recently who have (or had) cancer told me they can clearly remember the moment when their doctor told them that they had cancer.

In my case I do remember the conversation with the doctor, but that was more of a formality. When I picked up the phone to talk to her, I already had a pad of paper and a pencil in hand, and I was ready to write down the details she was going to tell me. Because in my case I was pretty certain that I had cancer when I saw the ultrasound results a few days earlier.

132 rounds of chemo

I have gone through some health issues, for sure, but I always feel much worse when I see little children in the hospital fighting some illness or disease. Seeing that breaks my heart, and I have nothing but love and respect for those kids and all of the medical professionals that help them.

And as I was writing that, I received an email about Marybeth Hoffman, who has gone through 132 rounds of chemo to fight pancreatic cancer. Anything I have gone through pales in comparison to what many other people have to deal with.

Live full, die empty

“We don’t take any days for granted,” said Pagano, 58, whom the Bears hired in January. “Every day that we get, we try to kick its ass, take full advantage of it. If you get another one, we’re going to do the same thing the next day.”

“‘Live full, die empty’ is the motto now.”

~ from this story on Chuck Pagano

Getting Thyrogen is hard (if not impossible)

As I’ve learned over the last several months, getting Thyrogen for thyroid cancer treatment can be extremely hard, if not impossible or incredibly expensive. These nine pages of notes to my doctor, my insurance company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield), specialty pharmacies like AllianceRx (Walgreens), Accredo, CVS specialty pharmacy, and the Thyrogen manufacturer, over a period of five weeks demonstrates how hard it is to get Thyrogen when you need it.

After going through all of this, my best suggestion is that if you’re having a hard time getting Thyrogen for your thyroid cancer treatment, call the people at thyrogen.com (ThyrogenOne). Because a lot of patients have a hard time getting Thyrogen, they seem to understand the process better than anyone, including my doctor’s office and my insurance company.

The cancer shirt

You can tell sometimes when doctors have something they don’t want to tell you. One of my doctors is an older “manly man” kind of guy, and while we’ve had some interesting conversations, they’ve never been about clothes. But the last time I saw him he walked in and said, “That’s an interesting shirt. What does it say on it? Where did you get it?” The conversation felt weird, and then I realized he was stalling. Finally he said, “Well, the biopsy shows that you have cancer.”

So now, ever time I put that shirt on, like today, I think of that conversation.

The biopsy of the tissue from your surgery shows that you have cancer, but ...

I’m still in that time period where the doctor said, “The biopsy of the tissue from your surgery shows that you have cancer, but I don’t think they’re right,” so we’re waiting on the results of a DNA test.

*waiting*

*taps fingers on desk*

La la la la ...