Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'll take medical questions for 100..

A very dear family friend sent me an email with questions. I'm so glad she did. Her questions are valid and when you are so busy making it through another treatment, another shot and another day you tend to forget the questions or even the answers. The question was based on yesterday's comment that Zack's numbers were "good" and if good why the transfusion?

It was interesting because today I received a phone call from a nurse from a subcontracting Oncology Group working for Core Source ( Inclusive Health Care) which is Zack's insurance company.  What this nurse does is make sure that Zack is having the right treatment, having the right care with regards to his treatment and help with co pay, gas money, pretty much anything to help Zack and us with regards to his diagnosis. One of the first things I asked her (since I wasn't at the clinic yesterday to ask) was about the blood transfusion. Melissa (the nurse) explained that red blood cells rejuvenate every 120 days, they are responsible for the nutrients and oxygen. A "normal" person can reproduce the cells with no problem, but when a person is undergoing  chemotherapy that  kills the red blood cells, and In her words "your son is on a very strong treatment, so his body has to work twice as hard to replenish the red blood cells."  The low blood pressure is also a side effect of the treatment and is a result of low oxygen.

She tells me that part of her job is to look into the treatment he is offered and make sure that it is the right course of action for his type of cancer. When I asked where they stood in that report, she said they were right on target with the treatment. Another part is to make sure that when presented with bills, Zack is actually receiving that type of treatment. She said unfortunately, many facilities charge for items that the patient never receives. I assured her that I too am looking at the bills and comparing what was done. But then again, I have always done that, whether I'm the one paying or insurance, to me there is no difference. She mentioned anorexia ( I know, sounds funny when you think about Zack) but she said that the patient can get to the point where they don't want to eat, so make sure they eat several small meals, no fresh fruits and vegetables because of possible bacteria that his immune system can't fight. 

A lot of this we already knew, but it is nice knowing there is an "outside" source looking out for us.  Melissa said she is going to contact the American Cancer Institute to see if they can help with some of the medical bills for the first month which are not covered by any insurance. She mentioned Zack not making it into the protocol which could have helped with so many things. I told her that we didn't even know about their insurance until Karen (our social worker at the Clinic) brought it to our attention. She said she is sorry that the case workers in both hospitals didn't advise us about them. She was surprised that Mission didn't know about it and is going to look into it. 

Zack's energy came back today. He was setting up his school work so he can get it done. His color is still way off, it's hard to look at him when he is so pale. He is loosing weight, but his spirit is good today.  I wake up each day and can't wait to see the little sparkle in his eyes. He wants to get out of the house, drive his car and who can blame him.  He asks if he can run up to Drake's house to see the new addition to the family and after seeing them all, decides to go with Drake to see Drake's grandfather. The problem is, he "forgot" to tell me he was going to another location. Nancy reminds me that this is what "normal" is, I have to laugh. She is right, We want his life as normal as possible. I tend to keep him in a bubble and though that must be the case at times, he is okay to go and see his friends. Some part of his life must continue as it was.

Tuesday's are my days off, so I made it my mission to get the house back in order. Floors were washed, waxed and now sparkle, laundry completed, I even managed to go through my closet and purge items I know longer need. Frank hasn't worked in a couple of days because of all the rain. It's been nice having the three of us here, running around doing out thing. For a moment, we forget what we are going through, what Zack is going through. The texts, phone calls and emails remind us all that we are not alone and we are so grateful!

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