Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taking a step back

On Friday I had my first mammogram. I called my mom that morning and she asked if I was nervous.

"No. I'm not. Maybe this afternoon as the time gets closer I will be. But not right now. Are you?"

ABC replied with, "I'm always nervous about these kinds of things."

I would imagine that's normal for a breast cancer survivor.

I remember, vividly, after my mother's diagnosis, she said one of the hardest things is learning to trust your body again. She mentioned it being very difficult to do that in the face of betrayal, in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis. And I've witnessed this many times before scans and doctor appointments and other times when she just wasn't feeling well. I have seen the wheels turning, and not in a good way, whenever she experiences a random pain here or there.

Her mind wanders.
And makes assumptions.
And goes to a dark place.

All because her body has already betrayed her once before.

So it makes sense that she'd be nervous for me.

But even when I walked into the imaging center in Beverly Hills, I was okay. There was lots of paper work to distract me and before long, Steve walked into the lobby and immediately put me at ease. It's been great to have his company at these appointments and I'm grateful that I have him there with me and that I'm able to schedule them for a time that works for both our schedules.

Before long, I was called back for my appointment and walked into a room just like this:

Steve came with me, but he didn't get too far before Donna, the woman administering the mammogram told him he couldn't stay. I'm sure I could have let her know I wanted him there, but it didn't matter much to me. So I passed off my phone, keys, wallet and book and watched Steve go back to the lobby. I changed into the weird top I was asked to wear while getting the mammogram and went into the exam room.

I continued to be pulled and positioned and re-positioned and was asked to hold my breath multiple times while they captured multiple images. Despite the awkwardness of a total stranger pulling at my breasts and smooshing them this way and that way and being completely exposed from the waist up, it was honestly a relatively easy, and most importantly, quick, process.

I go to see the breast oncologist next Monday and I'm assuming I'll hear from him at that point if there's anything we need to be concerned about.

On Saturday, I was supposed to have my MRI.

I ended up canceling this once I found out that I'd have to pay upwards of $1,000 for it. I don't have that kind of money lying around. Certainly wish I did. And certainly wish I didn't have to spend it on an f'n breast MRI at 32 years of age if I did have that kind of money to spend.

I called my insurance company to find out how much I'd be responsible for paying and was really saddened to learn that I'd have to pay for the entire thing because of my $2,000 deductible. And that I wouldn't have the chance to change the deductible until next f'n June.

Pre-BRCA2 positive Molly didn't go to the doctor regularly. Not even for annual pap smears (bad, I know) or physicals. So when it was time to pick a new insurance plan a few months ago, I went cheap and easy thinking I wouldn't be in a position for a while in which I'd need to even consider things like deductibles.

I'm covered by Steve's insurance. But that's an HMO. And our medical group is UCLA. And I'm not the best of friends with them at the moment and really would prefer to not go there.

I love my breast oncologist. Really love him, even after only one visit, and don't want to have to give him up. But I need to seriously weight the benefits and costs of this whole surveillance bullshit and figure out how to move forward. In an ideal world, I can get my MRIs done (100% covered) through Steve's insurance and go to see Dr. Waisman with my insurance.

I'm pretty sure I can't pick and choose insurance coverage like that.

After calling my mom in tears and ending my Friday PM like this:

I decided to call it quits on the day and made the decision to put off my MRI. I feel like if something comes up in the mammogram, I can get an MRI done next month. But I'm hoping I can buy myself some time to try and figure all of this out. Ideally with the help of the breast oncologist, or someone far more knowledgeable than myself on all things insurance.

It's so fucking frustrating dealing with insurance companies and doctor's offices and receptionists and schedulers. Not everyone knows what they're talking about. Some people just give you totally incorrect information. You can't make any assumptions or think anyone's out to make anything easy for you. In fact, it seems like anything involving insurance is a total fucking hassle. The bad and frustrating experiences have far out weighed the good ones so far. But I hope my luck will start to change with that.

For now, I am taking a step back from this.

In typical Molly style, I've jumped right in with both feet and have been very very proactive in getting appointments set-up and meeting with doctors and trying to align myself with the right medical team.

But I've learned that it's too much too soon for me. I don't have it in me at this point to be spending so much time on the phone waiting and holding and talking and trying to figure all of this out. I've had a couple of amazing friends who have offered to wait on hold and make annoying insurance phone calls for me. And while I love them both dearly for even being willing to do that, I just can't put that task on anyone else by myself.

So until I'm in a better place to deal with it, I'm just not going to.

I'm not saying I'm sweeping all of this BRCA2 stuff under the carpet. Cause I'm not.

And I can't.

But I'm taking it easy for a little while until I can deal with it better.

My spin instructor is a pretty rad guy. This little spit fire of energy and enthusiasm with a really good heart. He said something a few weeks ago that has stuck with me, and has especially guided me through this frustrating blip- "We don't ask for easier lives, we ask to be stronger."

So until I'm stronger, I'm taking a step back.


Bridget September 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM  

I'm praying that Monday goes well AND if you ever want to talk insurance, let me know. I know a lot about insurance! XO

Carol,  October 6, 2011 at 4:52 PM  

Wondering how you are and what you are doing. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. <3

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