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Cancer Journey: Part 12

Published April 20, 2018 by lynn k scott

My oncologist was nice enough to respond to a message I sent her office yesterday with, “what happened to the oncologist we referred you to”?   While I am not a fan of this doctor, there are literally no other doctors in the area that won’t cause me to lose at least half a day, if not a whole day from work, for each appointment.  She might as well have asked, “why are still part of my practice”?

Seems cancer wasn’t done messing with my life.  The other day, I received a message from my youngest sister’s best friend.  She found me through Facebook and sent me a private message.  I haven’t spoken to my sister in over four years.  Seems my sister was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.  It’s the same strain that took my other sister’s life.  The same sister this page honors (or tries to).

I’m not sure where our relationship is headed.  I was beyond hurt by her actions several years ago and firmly believe she was in the wrong.  I may not have been right, but I wasn’t allowed to see if I was or not.

That being said, we exchanged some messages.  She learned of my cancer.  I never told anyone who wasn’t in my life.  I didn’t want pity and I didn’t want them to care out of obligation.  I’m lucky I didn’t wear make up when I found out, because I did shed some tears.

I then thought I still have a chance of still getting breast cancer.  Having done battle with my current diagnosis, I’m not sure I could handle another one.  Then, my thoughts moved to that of my 12-year old daughter and granddaughter.  They would need to be tested in their 20s because of the family history.  I pray a cure is found before that needs to happen.  Am I holding my breath for that to happen?  Absolutely not.  I know cancer is a money maker for Big Pharma and the doctors who treat it.  They don’t want a cure because then they will lose billions of dollars with their poisonous drugs; all in the name of “treatment”.

While I keep saying I’m going to drink, I probably won’t.  Don’t need a hangover and try to get up for work.  I’m emotionally numb to this latest cancer revelation.   On the flip side, I have no tolerance for the medical world now.  I am done being nice.  I will not be placated.  I advised my oncologist’s office of my sister’s diagnosis.  Silly me thought they would know ‘kid gloves’ were now needed in dealing with me.  They are truly clueless.

As my youngest daughter has dubbed me, “NY Mommy” when I deal with anyone in the medical profession, I have chosen to embrace that term.  I no longer feel obligated to put up with medical nonsense.  I am in charge.  They either will understand this the easy way, or they will kick me out of the practice because they chose the hard way.  At this point in my life, I really don’t care either way.

I realize this isn’t Christ-like behavior.  However, I’m so overwhelmed lately, this is all I can manage.  I pray for grace and the ability to handle this situation better.  If it comes to pass, then it’s His will.  Til then, NY Mommy is in the house!

This is the reality of a cancer patient.  Pretty ribbons are nice, they have meaning, but it’s not the true showing of what cancer patients go through.  That’s what these blog posts are about.

I’m still adding my fundraiser link because I have still have expensive testing/scans that need to take place.  Any monies above that, I will donate to my sister because she’s feeling the crushing expenses of having a cancer diagnosis.

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Cancer Journey: Part 6

Published December 27, 2017 by lynn k scott

This is not the easiest post and it doesn’t have anything to do with the status of my diagnosis.

The last couple weeks have been tough.  I had to change my insurance plan, at work, and elected the “gold” versus the “silver” plan, in order to get rid of the annual deductible and bring down the usage fees when I see the doctor or get labs.  It also raised my weekly contribution costs, but it had to be done.

Unfortunately, with this plan change, came with a carrier change.  I joined the Sutter Health network and am sad to report they choose to charge patients a 20% copay for chemo medication, where other plans cover it 100% or charge a max of $50/prescription.  Hopefully, one day they realize how punitive this is and begin to cover oral chemotherapy pills as effectively as they do IV chemotherapy.

I left a plan where I was receiving negligent care and now I have a decent oncologist, but can’t afford an additional $300; every three weeks.  That includes the cost of the doctor visit, blood work and the expensive medication copays.  If I give up the ability to work (which eventually puts my job in jeopardy), submit to another surgery for a port, start IV medications, lose my independence, risk permanent side effects and not provide for my family, then the medication would be covered 100%.  Riddle me this…oral chemo is cheaper than IV treatment, but the insurance refuses to cover it 100.  Why?  Never mind; I digress.

After numerous breakdowns, I conceded I had to ask for help. I have had to resort to something I really hate doing.  I know fundraisers have helped many people and I have donated to those in need.  I was brought up that you work hard and support yourself.

I have followed the proper channels to ask for medication assistance.  It appears I was diagnosed at the wrong time of the year.  Nonprofit sources run out of money to help with prescriptions by the end of the year; that’s if they even acknowledge your disease.  Again, not all cancers are pink, but that’s where the funding is.

I have applied for part-time jobs.  I already work a full-time job, but need something to pay for my medication; even if it means working seven days a week.  I still am waiting for someone to hire me.  Problem is, I’m overqualified for the minimum wage jobs, even though I am willing to work weekends.

I have managed to get enough donations for another round of chemo.  However, I now have two weeks to raise enough money for the next round.  My pride is temporarily on a shelf and I have to post a link to my fundraiser.

If you are able to donate, even a $1.00, I would appreciate it.  If you are able to share either via blog or on your FaceBook page, that’s appreciated.  I plan on removing the fundraiser if I am hired or if some non-profit is available to help.

I apologize for having to post the link; but if I don’t raise the $300, in the next two weeks, my chemo treatment stops.  Please take a moment to read the fundraiser and if you don’t mind, share it where you can.

THANK YOU!

The doctor will see you now…NOT!

Published February 10, 2017 by lynn k scott

No one in today’s world can question the reality that the face of your medical care has changed.  With new laws, requirements, insurance requirements and medical office billing, trying to see “your” doctor isn’t always your choice.

Whether you have a chronic medical condition or just need to be seen for newly developed symptoms, making an appointment isn’t as easy as it used to be.  In today’s world, the emergence of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician’s Assistants (PA) are the new “in” thing.

“Hi, I’d like to make a doctor’s appointment”.

Seem’s like a simple enough request.  After all, most of us are pay enormous premiums and/or copays for the privilege of a doctor to spend 10 minutes with us.  That’s in addition to two or three patients being scheduled for the same time slot so the doctor doesn’t lose any money, should there be a cancellation.

“Sure, you there is an appointment with Jean Smith at 3:30.”

There you go…your appointment…WAIT!  Where was the word “doctor” to go with that name?  Ahh…did you catch that too?  That’s because in this case, you won’t be seeing a doctor; but a PA instead.

Awesome.  No, not really.  I already have issues with doctors “practicing” medicine.  If I’m going to drop $45 on an appointment that a General Practitioner wasn’t able to resolve, why in God’s name would I entrust an on-going, chronic issue, to someone who isn’t even a board-certified doctor?

I don’t have the flu and I don’t need a throat culture performed.  I need a real diagnosis, made by a doctor, that will resolve my issue; the first time around.  “Oh, sorry, there are no doctor appointments available then”.  Don’t you just love the system?

Truth be told, PAs and NAs are half the price of a real doctor.  They are in even in the specialist’s office…the specialist!  Someone who may, or may not, have done any clinical work, who is now entrusted to see, diagnose and treat you, independent of a doctor reviewing their work.

Does that leave you with the same lack of confidence it does for me?  So, what are the other options?  Urgent care…yea..seeing a doctor, at double the cost of your primary’s copay only to refer you to your primary doctor.  The emergency room.  You’re in pain.  You have severe symptoms; chronic symptoms…just go to the emergency room.  Sure all the testing will be done right then.  You’ll be lucky if you only walk out owing about $2,000 as your portion of this wonderful care provided by your insurance.

All this, because carriers and medical offices prefer using under-qualified medical personnel instead of having you treated by a physician of your choosing.  After all, it’s only your hard-earned dollar that is footing this medical nightmare, right?

My Culinary Obsession

Published July 26, 2015 by lynn k scott

I have a culinary obsession.   I have to place blame with my old neighbor for starting it.   He was moving and had a garage sale.   Seems harmless,  right?

Little did I know,  the three pieces of bakeware I bought for $20, included two Le Creuset pieces.

If you are unfamiliar with these multicolor pieces, they are quality non-porous stoneware,  glazed interior (for easy clean-up), heavy and can give some “sticker shock” when they check the price tag.

I currently only afford to add to my Le Creuset collection by saving a little and taking advantage of clearance sales.

Yesterday,  while perusing Sur La Table, I came across a very nice selection of Le Creuset and most of it was on clearance.   Sadly, much of it was out of my price range even with it discounted.

I found a piece, that had been marked down twice and was 40% off.  I made a comment to hubby about how our anniversary was just a couple weeks away. 

After walking through the store, we stopped back to look at the cookware again.  I was gifted a new piece for my collection.

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This 12.5″, 3.5 quart dish has a new home!  It can go in the oven, broiler, grill, freezer and microwave and dishwasher. 

I am moving away from cooking in metal pans and using glass or stoneware or ceramic.  I cook quite extensively, so the expense is justifiable to me; even if I use birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas presents to obtain them.

If you are a closet chef, kitchen guru or need a really nice wedding present, I highly suggest purchasing Le Creuset pieces.  They have everything you need to transform a kitchen.

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