Magic Laser Beams
If we change the language of cancer, maybe it won’t be so scary. Words like tumor, malignancy, chemotherapy and radiation are all (let’s face it) pretty terrifying. If Ana was a younger child, I’d probably call them something else. Boo boo – instead of tumor, good medicine – instead of chemotherapy…magic laser beams – instead of radiation.
Which brings me to the reason for this post. Dr. Yamashiro spoke to the radiation oncologist, Dr. Connolly, and she feels radiation is a good option for Ana. So we’re going back to Columbia on Monday to meet her and learn more about the procedure which is called SBRT (stereotactic body radiotherapy). Though this is scary, it’s actually hopeful because this procedure is fairly new and is much more targeted than whole body radiation. Besides, it doesn’t sound so bad if you think of it as magic laser beams. Based on everything I’ve read, SBRT is shown to be effective at shrinking (or even destroying) tumors with few side effects to the patient. Believe me when I say I’m not looking forward to going back to Columbia so soon after the last scan. But what can we do?
The hospital is back in the forefront of our lives. Everything else moves around it. Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Well, maybe it makes it a little easier. I think I’ve been in denial – trying to do everything, keep going, as though there wasn’t this huge obstacle sitting on top of all of my good intentions. I know it doesn’t do any good to wish for a different reality, but sometimes I do. I wish the hospital wasn’t our first priority. I wish we could just stress over normal things – a late homework assignment, memorizing the lines of the school play, making sure Emily has the right outfit for her chorus performance… I mean, we still DO stress over those things, but they are bit players when it comes to managing the enormity of Ana’s illness. To keep her safe. To keep her healthy. To find a cure. These are our top priorities.
I honestly don’t know how people who aren’t self-employed could possibly manage all these details. We average 3-5 phone calls a week to the insurance company, doctors and various pharmacies to make sure there’s no interruption in Ana’s care or her meds. That’s not including the emails that Jim and I write on a near daily basis.
Today we got an email from Dr. Yamashiro’s nurse practitioner telling us that Fidelis had denied a refill for Votrient. Jim called our case manager at Fidelis, who then followed up with the nurse practitioner, and we got an email later saying it was approved, but he’d have to call the pharmacy (Caremark) tomorrow to schedule delivery of the drug. These tiny dramas crop up all the time, get resolved, then something else comes up.
Well, I guess the best approach is to deal with things one at a time. Ha. Easier said than done.