Next blog update will TRY to be posted by Saturday, April 13th, at midnight.
Hello everyone! I now have 14 of 25 radiation treatments complete! Yea!!! So far I have driven for 76 hours and 59 minutes, and traveled 3857.1 miles back and forth to treatment. While I have really put on the miles, my FitBit says that I’m still short on my steps… so sad ☹. Haha. (For those who may not know, FitBit’s are watches that track how many steps you have taken in a day, to help encourage you to walk more and stay “fit”). The drive between my house and the proton center may be becoming monotonous, but my wife has gone with me every day and kept me company. I think we have talked more in the last 14 days then we have in the last 13 years! Haha. (Man, I’m full of myself today)… Anyway, so the plan moving forward is as follows. The next 4 treatments will remain consistent with what I have been doing. They are covering the full original mass area, with a low dose of radiation. Starting on treatment 19 (going till the end), they will shrink the target area to just the small portion of mass that is actually still left, and crank up the power. I joke that they are going to set the proton beam (in deep voice) from “Stun” to “Kill”. Sorry Blobby, you are no longer welcome here.
So far, I still have not experienced any side effects. The doctor is continuing to monitor for redness on the skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, trouble swallowing, sore throat, cough…. So far… Nothing. I feel very thankful that God is taking care of the side effects for me thus far. I’m still able to work and spend time with my family, almost as though nothing is wrong at all. I am also having the opportunity at the proton center to meet with many other people who are going through their own cancer battles. One common theme that I have found in talking with other fellow patients is that “God is Good”. It is a blessing to see so many other people also praising God through their trials.
The insurance company came back and denied my claim. The next step is the peer to peer appeal, which could take several weeks to complete. Paraphrased, the denial statement from my insurance said that while they agree and understand that X-Ray radiation will likely damage my heart, there is not enough evidence at this time to prove that protons will not do the same thing. From the research I have done, that is probably a true statement due to the technology being so new, and the number of lymphoma patients being treated with protons being so low (especially younger patients). Most lymphoma’s do not need proton therapy because they are in a location that the x-ray’s can hit without hitting vital organs in collateral damage. The bottom line is this… I’m afraid that the peer-to-peer appeal with my doctor is going to wind up being “he said she said”, and in the end, everyone will have to agree to disagree on whether the proton technology is “worth” the extra cost. For me, it is worth it, regardless of the insurance decision. X-Ray’s were a guarantee to damage my heart. Protons are a “promissory note” that my heart will be just fine. I’m willing to pay for that chance! With all this said, I am still praying that if it is the Lord’s will, that He will allow the insurance to cover the cost. But even if it is not the Lord’s will, I still know that God will help me take care of the expense. He has already allowed me to qualify for financial aid giving me a 50% off discount. He has blessed me with some unexpected funds in the past weeks. He has proved Himself faithful time and time again, and my needs have always been covered.
I’m still finding it difficult to manage my time with all of this traveling and work, so my plan will be to update the blog again in two weeks (Saturday, April 13th). At that point, I should only have 1 treatment left!
Dear heavenly Father, thank You so very much for providing continual traveling mercies for me. Out of all those miles, I have only hit 1 traffic jam, and the weather has been beautiful. I know the forecast is going back and forth about the possibility of snow this coming Tuesday. I pray that You would help me have the foresight and wisdom to know if I need to spend the night near the proton facility that night, or if the roads will be open and clear. Thank You for helping me avoid all side effects so far! I pray that this blessing would continue through the 2nd half of the treatments. Thank You also for always taking care of my needs, financial or otherwise. I know that You will help me pay the medical expenses with or without the help of the insurance company. You have proven Yourself faithful time and time again, and I have no doubts that will continue. I love You Lord, always, amen.