Chemo 101

PINK. So, the cancer update for today includes: insurance, chemo 101, and getting started …

1.  Insurance.  It’s still not settled.  BUT, despite being told that we’d be unable to proceed without resolution, we feel like it’s a sweet provision of the Lord that they’re going to let us proceed with cash.  Apparently, it’s common practice for insurance companies to have a ‘first year clause’ for any major issues that arise in the first year of coverage (and we consolidated our insurance as a family in August of 2011 which changed insurance providers for both of us).  But, we also understand that it’s not uncommon for them to remove that clause based on our ability to prove we had prior coverage and no lapses.  But, on Monday, they asked for 5 more days for review.  The financial folks at Baylor have been awesome and helpful (even calling insurance on our behalf) and an unexpected blessing amidst this world of unknowns.  We are thankful we can proceed with treatment.  And, Lord willing, once the insurance issues are resolved, we can be reimbursed.  Scott has repeatedly said, “if this drains our storehouses, so be it …” (while I agree, I may not say it with same amount of joy and ease that Scott can say it!) but he’s also been active with the insurance folks and, this week, I think he went from Mr. Patient to Mr. Justice.  And, albeit kindly, he expressed more concern than he has in the past and his desire for them to “do the right thing.”  So, we wait.  And we pray.  And we trust the Lord to provide through insurance or savings.  Of course, the former is preferred:)  And, the good news is that even if we did have to cover the bulk of the chemotherapy expenses ourselves, the hospital is granting us discounted rates (as if we did have insurance) and, by the time we got to the more expensive aspects (we presume) of surgery, the year would be up and we expect we’d be covered then.  We wait and we PRAY.  Thanks for praying with us.

2.  Chemo 101.  We attend a chemo class in the morning and have an echo cardiogram in the afternoon.  So, while I’m still really at peace, I suspect that the realities of the side effects and the weekly appointments may set in tomorrow.  But, the Lord has daily provided all the peace I needed – so I’m sure that tomorrow He can do the same.  And Scott still feels really good as well.

3.  Getting started.  We are on the schedule to begin infusions next Friday.  We still don’t have a confirmed date/time for the port placement surgery but our oncologist has requested Tuesday or Wednesday and working with the surgeon (likely Dr. Lamont at Baylor) to take care of that and an additional biopsy for a research study we’ve agreed to participate in.  We actually agreed to participate in 2.  One was a ‘no brainer’ as our doctor said because it is a biopsy tissue study that just provides more information for us about the cancer and how it responds with no additional effort or tests or medicine.  There were 2 other studies we could participate in if we elected and we’ve chosen to participate in a phase 2 drug study.  I am not 100% sure of the name but think it’s MM-121 and it’s a drug that is a bit different than the other drugs I’ll receive because it’s more molecular or biologically based (again, something like that – I’m too lazy to go read through all the paperwork or my notes).  This drug will impact our schedule in 2 ways: 1.  if I am selected (it’s randomized and we’ll know next week but out of every 3 candidates, 2 get the drug and only 1 doesn’t), I’ll have 2 weeks of infusions of this drug only before the ‘standard of care’ drug is added for 12 weeks (total of 14 weeks).  And, if selected, our infusions will take a bit longer since they’ll be administering MM-121 and taxol (the first of the 2 cancer-treating drugs).  This drug has similar side effects as regular chemo but doesn’t cause hair loss.  It’s a phase 2 drug so we don’t think the experimental side is too risky and the upside is access to a drug that could enhance the standard of care treatment.  But, really, when it came down to it and I asked Scott to decide he was compelled because it’s an opportunity to help others.  And that made our decision easy.  We didn’t run that by our babysitters but hoped they’d support our decision:)  Then, after the taxol and research drug (assuming both, it’s 14 weeks), we’ll immediately begin the second drug for another 8 weeks.

As I wrote in the last entry, my heart is full.  In the words of Matt Redman, there are “10,000 Reasons for my Heart to Sing.”  My friend Jenn played it for our Bible study group in South Dallas this morning – and my friend Kristin sent me the same song when she first heard the diagnosis.  As we sang today, the words brought tears and sweet encouragement to my heart …

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

And here are just a dozen or so reasons for my heart to sing …

I feel LOVED, peaceful, confident in our care, only slightly crazy (but that is with or without cancer!), excited about the Lord drawing me near, super confident in Scott handling the insurance/finances/etc, thankful for friends who are prepared to help with our household needs, thankful for friends who love our baby (oh, and we’re down to 2 feedings/day and that’s going well – thankfully the little man just likes to eat and not picky about how it’s delivered!), rested after a fun birthday weekend, thankful for an easier week and chance to catch our breath before the real journey begins next week, perfectly timed gifts that have blessed our soul (lawn care, music recommendations and cds, food and more food, fabulous pink shoes, a photography session to capture our family on the brink of this journey, dinners, chocolate covered strawberries) and SO many words of encouragement.

He’s got us.  And He’s given us y’all as reminders of that truth.  We thank you.

And now off to get Linc ready for bed and then put a delicious meal by Jeannie Lewis on our table…

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4 thoughts on “Chemo 101

  1. JenI love reading your post and impressed, even though you don’t like me to be :), by your writing ability. Wow, what an inspiration you are to others, really! Your courage and strength personally for me is very encouraging to say the least. I’m thankful for a Godly sis in law and am praying for you!

  2. Insurance…. Girl it’s a nightmare but grateful for Scott handling this. Tell him to put on his angry eyebrows to deal with them. Praying for peace after chemo class. So grateful for chemo. One of many blessing. Know we are praying for you.

  3. I can’t recall a time that you haven’t trusted the Lord for His sweet provision and it’s wonderful to see you continuing to do so under these circumstances. His provision of Scott to be your earthly “rock” and Lincoln to be your earthly “joy,” just how good is that! And as you’ve said for years; God is good ~ all the time. Amen! Praying for you. Jeannie

  4. Dearest Ones,

    Praying for you day and night; plus, in between~your trust in our Heavenly Father will get you through each day and night.

    All our Love and a BIG HUG!

    Ramona and Bill Hite

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