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Member since: Mon Dec 5, 2016, 04:05 PM
Number of posts: 2,524

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Insurance company denied the PET scan

so now my doctor is seeking authorization for CAT and bone scans. She wanted the PET because it would tell us everything in one scan; there may be other scans besides CAT and bone I'm going to have to have to get the same information.

So another frustrating wait. And I repeat: BUT I HAVE THE GOLD PLAN!!!

This was especially frustrating because my surgeon's practice has a patient portal online where I can get messages and see test results, etc., and I had a message that the PET had been OK'd and here was my authorization number. But when I called to make the appointment, the scheduler said there was something wrong with the number--wrong prefix or something--and she needed to call my doctor, which she did. The nurse called me with the bad news, and then I called the insurance company to find out why.

Unfortunately, their explanation made sense. They said they would authorize a PET scan after my surgery, if the lymph nodes showed spread. Well, OK. It's just that I've had cancer in my kidney, too, and was told that that was a type of cancer that was likely to pop up elsewhere. I get kidney scans every years, and chest x-rays (the lungs are the favorite spot for the kidney cancer to recur in), so I guess I'm covered.

It just would have been nice to get it all checked at the same time. So I could know.

Well, it's stage three

breast cancer this time, and I'm going nuts again with the waiting. I finally got the biopsy, no surprises there, the radiologist pretty much told me it was bad, and now I need to have a PET scan to see if there's cancer elsewhere in my body before we can schedule surgery and plan any further treatment.

But to get a PET scan you have to have prior authorization from your insurance company, and that's taking forever. "But I have the Gold Medicare plan!" I yelled at my surgeon. Apparently not a factor.

I'm going to have a mastectomy (lumpectomy last time) without reconstruction. I am an old lady with floppy old lady breasts, and I just can't feature one floppy old lady breast and one pert teenage breast, so reconstruction is out. Plus I don't like the idea of implanted anything.

That's the only decision I've been able to make though, until I get this scan. I didn't know that I would not be able to have radiation (of the breast; if it's elsewhere, that's another story) a second time, and there's apparently a limit on how much more chemo I can have, too. Last time I had four doses; this time I may be able to have more, but that will depend on the oncologist, who of course I don't see until I have the fucking scan.

I think the thing that's scary to me is the fact that I had a clear mammogram in February, and this rather large mass showed up in early September. I feel a little invaded.

Spam callers are spoofing actual numbers

Editing to clarify: the familiar prefixes were just what made me suspicious. The real problem is that they are calling me using actual phone numbers of people I know and talk to. The caller ID shows a friend's number, but when I answer, there is a recorded spam call or sustained silence. If I block the call without checking the caller ID, I then can't get calls from people I want to hear from. And I don't always check the ID before I answer. Furthermore, how is the blocker doing any good if I can't block spam calls that are using a spoofed ID?

Others besides me have noted that spam phone callers have been using numbers that show up in caller ID as being similar to local dialing codes. My phone number, for example, begins with 893 (not really), and I get very few if any legitimate calls with an 893 prefix. My spam phone calls had reached maybe ten/day, so I bought one of the stand-alone call blockers from Amazon. It came preprogrammed with known spam caller numbers and had room for 5000 more numbers.

Last week I answered a call from an old friend, who said he'd been trying to get hold of me but kept getting a strange message that we were too busy to talk to him and to stop calling us. I was dumbfounded and couldn't figure out what could have happened. Then I remembered that I hadn't received an important call I was expecting, and when I checked back was told that they'd tried to reach me several times.

I checked the log of numbers on my blocker, and there both those numbers were. I went through the 75 numbers I have blocked and found a couple more that were legitimate numbers. I deleted those.

Here is how my blocker works: when the phone rings, I answer and if I hear either a recorded message about my credit card or sustained silence, I push a button on my blocker--while I'm on the phone; it doesn't work unless you're actually on the line--and the calling number is blocked. So these spam callers are now using *real* phone numbers which they are somehow harvesting from my legitimate phone calls--ingoing or outgoing--and spoofing those numbers to get me to answer the phone.

I'm posting this for two reasons: One, to warn others that this might be happening, and two, to find out if anyone has any idea of what the hell is going on.

I'm taking stupid pleasure

in the fact that the week my favorite aunt, Florence, died, she got a hurricane named after her. Dreadful as this storm is, it still reminds me of my Aunt Florence, who wasn't dreadful at all. Ninety-six years old and a class act to the end.

Our president* wants more immigrants from Poland.

Of course he does. Poland is among the oldest and most reliable sources of anti-Semites in the world, and the only (afaik) institutional denier of any involvement in the Holocaust.

She's not an *alleged* accuser

She is an accuser. Jesus.

An earworm

I have inflicted on myself this morning, which I share in the hope of ridding myself of it:

They named the baby Voldemort.

You're welcome.
Posted by cyclonefence | Sat Sep 8, 2018, 07:58 AM (2 replies)

I probably have breast cancer (again)

About a week ago, I noticed a bloody discharge from my nipple on the breast where I'd had cancer in 2012. Ironically, I was just "aged out" of my annual oncologist's office visit. My pcp sent me for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, and for the first time ever in my experience, the radiologist came out immediately and wanted to make sure I had an appointment to see a breast surgeon. My last mammogram was last February and was clear, and now I apparently have a largish mass. I've had a hell of a time scheduling first the ultrasound--ended up going to another facility--and now getting an appointment with the breast surgeon. The wonderful surgeon who gave me my lumpectomy last time has moved out of state, so I'm starting over.

I am not worried about the cancer. If I'm reading the NIH statistics correctly, there's a 93% survival after five years rate, and I weathered surgery, chemo and radiation just fine last time. My concern now is antsiness, waiting for the process to start. I tried to call for an appointment on Friday, but the lines were so busy I had to leave my number, to be called back "on the next business day," which it has recently occurred to me is Tuesday, not Monday. I'm going nuts with the uncertainty and waiting. I want to sleep until Tuesday.

My other concern, a much more important one, is for my husband. He is so worried about me. He carries the real burden of my treatment, when it comes, and I don't know what to do to help him feel better. My job is easy, once the process starts: I do what they tell me to. It's out of my hands, and I'm not afraid. But no one tells him what to do, and I know he is afraid. We have been married 49 years, and this will be my third cancer (the second was kidney), so the poor man has had to go through this twice before. For various reasons (mostly unwanted advice from nutcase cousins) we agree not to tell anyone in the family until we have to--i.e. if I lose my hair--but I'm going to tell him I want him to talk to his friends about it, if he wants to. I don't care about people knowing I have cancer; it's just that I don't want to be put into the position again of having to be kind to crazy people while I feel weak.

If anyone has suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Otherwise, I just need a place to vent.

Update on my Navage experience

Some weeks ago, I posted about my newly-acquired Navage device, which had been suggested by my ENT as a last resort before more sinus surgery. I was having trouble making it work properly, getting gallons of salt water into my mouth. Several kind folks responded with suggestions, all of them encouraging me to keep at it. I really was on the verge of returning it for a refund.

Well, I did stick with it, and eventually it worked! It washed a gratifying amount of gunk from my sinuses into the reservoir. But the next time, I had the same problem with water going into my mouth. But then it worked again! I finally noticed that it made a difference--although it shouldn't--which side of the nose piece went into which nostril. If I put the sucking part of the nose piece into my right nostril, I get flooded; if I put it into the left nostril, it works like a charm.

I don't know if this will help anyone else having trouble learning to use this device, but it's worth a try before you give up. As I say, it shouldn't make a difference, but apparently my nasal anatomy is such that I have to use it this way, and maybe someone else does, too.

Mostly, I want to thank those of you who encouraged me. Use of this device has made an immense difference. I know I have infection because of the color and thickness of the mucus I expel, but I don't feel ill and have not had to go back on antibiotics since I started using the Navage. It seems that as long as I can keep my sinuses cleared out, the infection can't take hold. These weeks are the longest I've been this summer without having to go to the doctor or use antibiotics/prednisone, and I am delighted.
Posted by cyclonefence | Sat Sep 1, 2018, 01:17 PM (2 replies)

Will Mueller release a preliminary report before the mid-terms?

I'm getting nervous, hearing on cable about what Trump could do after he fires Sessions. He can appoint as interim AG anyone who has already been confirmed by congress for *any* position--say, Betsy DeVos--who could then shut down the special counsel's investigation and have the information sealed and not released at all. Or allow the report to be written and then sealed.

He might have to fire Rosenstein in the process, but it was news to me that he can appoint anyone he wants who has already been confirmed as interim AG.

Please, somebody tell me this is not so.
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