Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Little Dose Will Do Ya

Thursday past was the beginning of my 2nd cycle of chemotherapy. My blood counts were up (although still lower than the normal low), but they were able to give me the full treatment. It seems as tho I will have to receive the Neupogen shots after each chemo treatment. As I may have mentioned before, these are given over three days and must be administered at least 48 hours before the next chemo treatment.

When I was visiting with the doctor, she suggested that I self-administer the shots... I immediately pointed to Thierry and said “he'll do it!” The advantage to self-administering the drug is that I won't have to go back to the oncologist office for three days following my treatment. Also, I could get the shots over the weekend, which may help my energy level. As it goes, I don't have prescription coverage which may impact my ability to obtain the drug.

The fact that I don't have prescription coverage may shock some of you, but you have to take whatever benefits you can get – especially when you have had a serious illness such as mine. Since I am able to get my benefits through a group plan (I would never be able to get coverage – or afford it - otherwise), I am only offered what they offer – which does not include prescription. If the entire group doesn't take prescription benefits, no individual can purchase their own through that provider.

The drug is covered by my health plan when I receive it in the oncologist officer. Currently, it appears the insurer will allow me to self-administer the shots – although we are waiting for confirmation about this, but this may only be allowed until January of 2010. At that time, they may no longer allow self-administration of certain drugs – Neupogen included. Mind you, they will pay for it if I go to the oncologist office, taking a scheduler's time to schedule the appointment, the hospital pharmacist's time to deliver the drug, the nurse's time to administer it and space needed for infusions and other medical necessities, but they won't allow me to buy it at an affordable cost and do this at home. By the way, the cost of one Neupogen dose (if I buy it) is a “mere” $585.00.

If anyone thinks our healthcare system is not broken, they live in a dream world. I have been trying not to talk about healthcare, given all the nonsense that is going on right now in this country. But when I see the 10,000 protesters in Washington, I can't help but see a bunch of government employees (covered by a government-run health plan), retirees (covered under medicare – a government-run health plan), union workers (covered under a quasi-government-run health plan), and corporate people who are covered by their employers; all of whom pay little or nothing for their benefits – AND get to retire with medical benefits.

Again, I hate to grandstand, but if I lose my benefits, there will be no recourse for me. As it is, I have to worry about what medicines I will need that I may not be able to afford. I am sure there may be those who will shrug and say, oh well, that's the way the cards are dealt – I guess they are the people who have never had a close family member who has had it happen to them.

The sun is shining, finally – I've been feeling pretty good this go-round – and today is a very good day.

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