If I thought last Friday was a big day, spending all day at the hospital for my various physical exams, blood work, and scans, I would say today actually outweighs it by several metric tons.
I mean, I already knew I had a pituitary tumor. The question of course was had it changed in size. Which, as it turns out, it did not, not even by a single millimeter. So either the medication had zero effect whatsoever or it just happened to grow back to the same size it was when it was imaged in March (5 mm x 6 mm x 6 mm.) So at least I know that much. (As a side note, that may sound small, but it’s the same size as the pituitary gland itself, so it’s getting a bit crowded in there…)
Today, however, I have my long-awaited (3 month wait) rheumatology appointment to see if my huge list of RA-like symptoms that plagued me for part of May and most of June are due to anything that can be found and treated. I expect x-rays and blood tests to be the next step there. But honestly, I could really care less about that appointment right now, because immediately following it, I have my CT angiogram.
First of all, I didn’t hear from my neurosurgeon’s office until 4:45 pm today, which is a calling time they seem to be in the habit of using. It’s quite aggravating, because then if something needs to be addressed, like it did today, you’re working against the clock until everyone leaves at 5 pm.
First, the scheduler said my CTA was scheduled for next Thursday at 1:15 pm. I said, “Ma’am, that’s a problem because that’s the same day as my surgery.” Oh crap. So she put me on hold for five minutes. Then she came back on the line and said it was now scheduled for next Wednesday, the day before my surgery, at 2:15 pm. What choice did I have but to say ok? I knew the reason it was happening this way, and I was getting more livid by the minute because of it.
You see, this year, our insurance company, which is the employee policy because I work at the same healthcare system I receive my care at, decided that all outpatient scans would require a prior authorization. Fine, whatever. I know that’s the reason this scan was scheduled so far out, because it takes about a week for the paper pushers to push the paper through. But I knew that if I waited until Wednesday to have the scan, I would not be having surgery Thursday. And it reduced me to a sobbing pile of tears on my bed.
This is when the Lord intervened. Since we were unable to reach my neurosurgeon’s nurse by phone (again, since they waited until the very end of the day to do this…), David took action and typed up an email to her to see if we could get it expedited; the nurse herself said the scan needed to be done this week. Literally, just as he was about to hit send and I was sitting in bed crying, my phone rang. It was the nurse. She asked me if I was ok and I said no, not with all this going on. And she said, “Well, next Wednesday is too late to have your scan done, so I had it moved up to tomorrow at 4 pm, since I see you’ll be here at main campus for an appointment at 3 pm.” If I could have kissed her through the phone, I would have.
Now, I still have a few roadblocks to deal with. When I go in for the scan, they’re going to tell me it hasn’t been approved by insurance. So I’m going to have to sign a waiver stating that if insurance rejects it, I’ll be responsible to pay the thousands of dollars the scan is going to cost. Whatever. They will cover this emergent scan or else they will face a wrath unlike any they have seen to date.
Then there’s the aftermath. The nurse said she would call me either immediately after they get the scan results today or Friday morning and that “we may not need any of the appointments we have scheduled next week.” Which is her way of saying if there is indeed an aneurysm, my surgery next week will be cancelled. A surgery I waited two months for because that’s how far out they were scheduling. And now it may not happen for a few more months, depending on how quickly I can get in to see a neurovascular surgeon. For all I know I’ll have to wait 3 months for an appointment and then 2 months for a surgery date. And then have to reschedule the tumor removal for a later date. I may not even get back to work this calendar year, because I still have symptoms every day that would make it impossible to work between now and the surgeries. So that means I might eventually wind up on long-term disability since I’ll have used up the six months of short-term disability, further putting my job at risk because it’s no longer protected by law at this point. If he wants to, my boss could fire me and replace me any time he so desires.
The stressors keep piling up. I don’t handle this kind of stress very well. I cry a lot. And I mean a lot. It’s the only way my body knows how to express strong feelings. I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight and I’ll be a nervous wreck all day. And depending on the outcome…I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m just very, very scared.