On Monday, November 21, we were finally able to meet with my oncologist. That day just so happens to be our anniversary as well…Happy Anniversary, Danny! I never imagined that I would be diagnosed with cancer, much less, on our anniversary.
Once we got to the doctor, we met with the financial counselor to sign papers, verify insurance, etc. BAM! Good ol’ insurance. While we’re signing papers, the lady in charge or insurance verification came in, set our insurance card down in front of Danny and very matter-of-factly said, “We don’t take your insurance.” I think she left her empathy sitting at her desk. I’m sorry, what?
After my jaw hit the floor and tears filled my eyes, we began asking questions. How could they not take our insurance? Just several days before, we saw a different doctor at the same practice but different location. Different doctor, different location, same practice. This didn’t make sense. I couldn’t quite get my thoughts out…all I could think about was how we were going to put everything on hold once again and search for another doctor. I JUST WANT A DIAGNOSIS.
We asked for her to please call again and figure out the discrepancy. We decided that meeting with Dr. Stone today was important, so we would just end up paying cash for the visit since insurance wasn’t an option.
We went ahead and met with Dr. Stone. The nurse took my blood pressure and for some reason, it was a bit high…I can’t imagine why.
While we were discussing the diagnosis, we were interrupted by a knock on the door. “Ma’am, I just want you to know that we got it figured out, and we do, in fact, take your insurance.” Praise God.
Dr. Stone shared that I have Diffuse Large D-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He believed that it came on very quickly, but also said that this means that it should respond rather quickly to treatment. I’ll take it.
He wanted me to get started as soon as possible. Normally, this would be the point where he would order to have the port put in…but, we already had that done. This meant that we were able to get started with treatment sooner. I was scheduled to start the following Monday, November 28. I would be able to be home for Thanksgiving with my babies before starting treatment.
As of now, I would receive chemo one day every three weeks, for 4-6 rounds.
I had been in quite a bit of pain the days leading up to my appointment, so he put me on a pretty big dose of steroids to alleviate the pain but also to prepare my body for treatment.
He explained the treatment plan, the specific drugs and the possible side effects. Man, the list of side effects made me wonder if I would be better off just ignoring the mass and hoping it went away. The side effects are less than desirable, yuck. Knowing that we wanted to continue with treatment regardless of the side effects just reminds me how awful this disease is. Cancer…you suck.
Dr. Stone also ordered a PET scan…we just had to wait for insurance to approve it. I was really nervous about getting a PET scan because I was afraid of what it would show.
And then, the inevitable came up…I asked about returning to work. He said normally, I
would should be fine to go back after Christmas break. Then he asked what I did…”I’m a teacher.”…”Oh, no. What age?”…”First grade.”…”Yah, that’s less than ideal. There are 20 little ones waiting to share their germs with you. And while you’re receiving treatment, you have to avoid getting sick at all costs.” So, essentially, if I wasn’t working with kids, I could potentially return to work a lot sooner.
For now, I’m going to work on completing treatment and then focus on getting back to work. As much as I want to be back at work, I know how many things are floating around school at this point in the year. Kids are sick with everything. If it’s going around, they will get it. So for now, I’m home.
Treatment starts Monday…ready or not.
P.S. As we were discussing everything with Dr. Stone, my principal sent me the picture below. Everyone in the picture met after school to pray for me. I am a lucky gal, y’all. I have the best people.