Terry had a follow up appointment last week with the surgeon and the doctor who handled his chemotherapy during his treatment for bladder cancer. He had a chest x-ray, abdominal scan, and lab work before meeting with each of the doctors. The results from those tests were good. His numbers regarding blood work are starting to return to more normal levels. The x-ray and scan did not reveal anything, so from that perspective they felt it was good news.They also commented that they were almost 100% confident the nodule in the lymph nodes is not bladder cancer. Unfortunately, until he gets approval through Medicare for the test he needs to figure out if it is a recurrence of the thyroid cancer or not, we return to waiting limbo.
Although most of the information from the appointment was positive, he has lost another 2 pounds, bringing his grand total to 20 pounds he’s lost during this ordeal. For some people, losing 20 is a good thing, but for Terry, he was not carrying any extra weight to begin with, so losing what he did is very noticeable. The problem for him is a nausea which is almost always present to some degree or another. When he feels too nauseous he doesn’t want to eat, and when he does eat he’s eating smaller amounts. None of that adds up to weight gain. His doctor went ahead and prescribed two medications for him. One was a prescription sleep aide, and even though he still does not sleep straight through the night without getting up, he feels as though he falls back to sleep faster.
The other prescription was for an appetite enhancer. The drug Marinol is a synthetic version of the active ingredient, THC, in marijuana. He’s been prescribed it, and we’re on the fourth day of waiting for approval for the pharmacy to fill the prescription. He has a 12 year history of chronic illness, has completed chemotherapy and a rather nasty surgery, and the powers that be question whether he needs this drug or not. So, on the one hand he’s waiting for Medicare to approve the drug series he needs to see if the thyroid cancer has returned, and on the other hand he’s waiting for his Medicare plan drug benefit to approve a medication that might actually reverse the nausea and weight loss he’s suffered. After reading the side effects listed I’m not sure he needs to take it even if it’s approved. This is yet another example of the synthetic version of something natural not resembling the original version at all.
I’m finding it very disturbing that he has to wait until Medicare will approve a test he needs to determine whether cancer has returned. This is the first time he’s ever had to have a prior approval for anything related to his Medicare covered care. He has his supplement and his drug benefit, and we’re seeing a waiting period for the two needs he has. One is a diagnostic and one is a prescription. I’m not so worried about the prescription because I’m not even sure he’ll want to go ahead and get it when he reads the side effects and other considerations, but I want them to find out what’s going in his lymph nodes. The cancer he had in his thyroid was slow growing. But that was the first one. Hopefully if it is cancer again it’s the same slow growing type. Even better would be finding out it’s not cancer at all. He’ll have to have some authorization occur for that to happen. So we wait….