I SWEAR.

I swear if I die soon, it will be from a heart attack and not breast cancer. Thank you all for your tremendous support, particularly during these last months. Make sure my daughter gets a good education. Call Troy once in a while and remind him to feed the cats.

My husband (bless him) gives me a shot of Neulasta on the day following every chemo. Neulasta is a drug that helps your blood counts. It costs $3,000 for the teeniest, tiniest little vial you have ever seen. Fortunately, our insurance covers it 100 percent.

Before my first chemo, my nurse called my insurance company, figured out who to talk to about the Neulasta, the specialty pharmacy and the major medical portion of my insurance worked out payments, then the pharmacy started contacting me directly about deliveries. For the first chemo, the insurance approval process took too long, so the pharmacy couldn’t get my Neulasta to me in time. I had to drive to the cancer center and get the shot. Ever since, they’ve delivered the shots to me more than a week ahead of time in a refrigerated box, two shots at a time.

Every time – except this time – the company has called me on a Tuesday or Wednesday following chemo and asked me if I was ready for another shipment. Then, they would ship out two doses by ground; I would have them a week before chemo. This time, they didn’t do that. I realized in a panic yesterday that they had not called and, therefore, I didn’t have a shot ready for Saturday. I thought this was probably related to the first shot being done at the hospital and maybe the nurse only called in three sets or something. I really had no idea how that worked. I was just panicked that I didn’t have a shot I needed. So, I called, said I needed another shot by Friday and the woman confirmed my address and said, “Ok, it will be there tomorrow.”

FedEx arrived this morning. I opened the package and there were two doses. Fuuuuuuuddddggeeee. (Only that’s not the F word I used.) I immediately – before I even went to the fridge – dialed the pharmacy and said, “You sent me two shots, I only need one. Can I send one back?” Of course, the answer is no. I can send it, but they have to destroy it.

So, I asked if insurance was going to cover this shot that I wouldn’t be using. The woman, who is the same person I spoke to yesterday, said she remembers talking to me and I didn’t specify that I only needed one shot, so they just sent the shipment out as normal. Her exact words were: “You didn’t SAY you only needed one shot.” To which I replied, “you didn’t ASK.”

Yes, I felt like a 8-year-old, but she started it.

I went back and forth with her about whether the insurance would cover this. She didn’t give me an answer. She also kept doing that mean-ass customer service trick where they say, “Can I help you with anything else?” when they haven’t really helped you with your first problem yet. Finally, about the 10th time she interrupted me and said that, I said, “Uh-huh,” and hung up.

In fact, what I said when I called on Tuesday was, “No one called me about my Neulasta this time and I am going to need another one by Friday.”

So, if the word “one” is the requirement here, I said it. No, I did not specifically say to put only one vial in the box instead of two. However, your honor, may I point out for the courts that on all of the previous phone calls the pharmacy made to ME to approve these shipments, I was asked how many I needed. To which I would reply, “I don’t know. I have four or five treatments left.” And the kind man (it was always a man who called me) would say, “Ok, we’ll ship two and call you again in a few weeks.”

I’m too scared to call the insurance company because that will only alert them that they might not need to pay for this. However, I can’t imagine that they won’t do the math themselves and see I only had eight chemo treatments, but nine Neulasta shots. So, are we going to owe $3,000 for a drug I can’t use?

ARRRRRGGGGHHH. Like I need this.

Who doles out non-returnable medicine at $3,000 a pop and doesn’t check to see if it is needed? Meth dealers have better control of their merchandise than that!

See – heart attack. Or maybe a panic attack. Can you die of panic attacks?

P.S. If any of my lawyer or doctor friends are reading this, drop me or Troy an email and tell me what you think we should do. Seriously. I can use the advice.

Peach fuzz alert
I officially have some peach fuzz growing on my head. Actually, it’s been present for close to two weeks now, but in the last day or two has become even noticeable enough for Colleen to mention it. It’s a downy, baby-chick-feathers sort of thing. If you haven’t seen me bald yet, you would still be horrified. But it’s hair growth.

Speaking of hair growth, here is a really neat site an artist/chemo survivor put together to chronicle her hair regrowth. The photo gallery is amazing: http://www.karinstack.com/hs/hair.html

ROME FUND
Is there any way to say how completely grateful I am for everyone contributing to our Rome Fund? The outpouring of support on this has been phenomenal to me. Thank you. I can’t even think of anything else to say. Are there any other words to express what you’ve done for me?

The total cost of the trip package, with insurance (we needed that, no doubt) was $3,075. By yesterday, we had received $2,030. We had a generous benefactor who gave us the difference. And we have had a few people say things like “a check is in the mail,” so we’ll probably get a little more that we can use to either repay this person or use for meals while in Rome.

It was such a huge, incredible relief to me when the check was delivered for Troy’s half of the trip! It made me so happy. So, so, so, so happy. And finally made the Rome trip seem real. (Regardless of what my surgeon says. I really don’t think he understands who he is up against.)

I just can’t believe everyone could be so generous. I had people THANKING me for asking for money. They said it gave them something they knew they could do for us. I understand that, I do, but it’s just surreal to me that I was the one asking and receiving.

Someone has put up a jar at my daughter’s day care collecting money for the aunt of a child there. The auntie apparently has a brain tumor and no insurance. I started to pull out a check and stick it in there … then I thought maybe I had better wait for another time, when I’m not the one in need! I’ll just hope she has loads of generous and loving family and friends like me. Someday, I’ll have money again and I will stuff jars all over this country on behalf of all of you and your generosity. Fortunately, I don’t have to have my face on jars right now. Although if we get charged for the danged Neulasta, I might have to resort to that! 😉

Par-tay
I’m laying the plans for a “15th Day of Chemo” party. This is something like “the 12 days of Christmas,” only it’s not December and I’m not the baby Jesus. A 15th Day of Chemo party is to celebrate the 15th day after chemo … because making it to the 15th day means that CHEMO IS OVER. They always shoot me up with more of the darn crap on the 14th day, so I’ve never made it to the 15th day before. And since I’m generally feeling a lot better by the time chemo rolls around again, maybe I’ll just be back to my rip-roaring self on the 15th day! (Yeah … probably not, but at least I won’t have chemo!)

The 15th day of chemo will be Saturday, Aug. 19. Keep your calendars open. I might make this an all-day event. Stay tuned for more details.

Author: rosie

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Rosie,

    I stumbled upon your blog today and wanted to offer a solution about your $3000 vial of Neulasta.

    I had a similar situation with a drug called Enbrel. I was on it for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and I received a new shipment just days before my doctor said, “This isn’t working and we should switch to something else.” I, too, spun into a panic. When I told my doctor she recommended (and I should point out that this is not a sanctioned practice and probably illegal) that I bring my unopened, unused meds to her. She used them on patients who didn’t have health insurance and she put a credit for the value of the medications on my account. I have a really high annual deductible that this helped to offset. I ultimately did not have to pay the isnurance company pharmacy for the drugs because the prescription was written and filled properly.

    They did say that they could bill me for up to 80% of it but that prescription from my doctor nullified their quest for my precious money.

    I hope this helps. It was a great “out of the box” solution for me.

    Best wishes and thank you for sharing your journey.

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  2. Thank you! I did call my nurse today and she only suggested to try to call the pharmacy back and talk to someone else. I’m leaving this to Troy. He’s the CS god and if there is a solution that can be handled by merely talking, he’s the man to do it.

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