Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What now?

The tests came back negative.  I'm officially cancer free.

What now?

I've learned there is fall out from every choice that we make.  While I was going through treatment I made the choice to be as strong as I could be.  This includes attempting as much as I could to avoid looking weak. It seems that I've alienated some people, and made others feel as though I had robbed them of a chance to  help me.

That's on me.

When you're in survival mode, you do what you have to do.  I've never been really good at asking for help and allowing others into the circle that would mean I would have to break down in front of them.  I've learned a lot from this experience.  There are people out there that would like nothing more than to uplift and sustain others.  They want to come to the rescue and feel hurt when that doesn't happen.

All I can say is that I wanted to make it through this with some semblance of dignity.  Something that was still me.  Is it pride? Probably.  I've learned from beginning to end that pride has no place in recovery, but may sometimes be all that you have when you're barely hanging on.  I'll apologize for not letting everyone in, but I won't apologize for keeping something to rebuild on.  I can't.

In the days that have followed the announcement, bills have flooded in.  I'll try to explain what's happened as best I can, but it might be a bit murky.

On August 6th, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  The staging came later, but since I had only been on my new insurance for a month, the insurance company felt it prudent to commence a medical review.  It's good business.  It just stinks for those of use who are honest and need treatment.  This is again a case of the few ruining it for the many.

The medical review commenced, and in the meantime precertifications for treatments were being issued.  I received treatment from two places: Arizona Oncology (brachy therapy) and Cancer Treatment Services of Arizona (radiation & chemo-therapy).  All treatments were pre-approved.  However, the CTSA took one look at my LARGE deductible and requested that I meet the deductible before I could begin treatment officially.  This is where I screwed up.

I trusted the clinic to have my best interests in mind.  I trusted.  I don't fault at all the people that work there. I fault my misunderstanding of the situation and my ignorance.  When a medical facility asks you to pay $11,000 up front, it should bother you.  It should!  At the time, I only wanted to get started and get finished. So I gave them the money.  I only had the money because so many people had rallied to my cause.  We were able to put a large amount down via a check, and then put the rest on credit cards.  I paid the deductible.

The facility pulled from that money while I was having treatment to cover the costs.  What didn't happen and should of......the insurance was never contacted and told that the deductible had been met.

While the medical review was ongoing, all the claims that were being filed with the insurance were sitting in a holding pattern.  Waiting.  When the review was released in December, most of the claims that had been sitting were sent back as patient owing.  This means that I've been getting bills in the mail for VERY LARGE AMOUNTS, due to the order that claims were received.  What is boils down to is that the CTSA claims came in after a lot of the Arizona Oncology claims, even though I had met the deductible, it was still coming up as I was owing.  At this point I still have 87 claims being processed. Urp!!

I'm learning.  I talk on the phone at least three to four times a week.  The time limits of these phone calls have gone from 15 minutes to 2 and a half hours, trying to get it all figured out.  I have lab bills with large amounts owing, and a credit card still to pay off.  I'm confident this will all get resolved, it's just

In hindsight I should have held onto that large deductible amount.  This is what I was educated on by my sister.  If I was feeling better, I would have had better reasoning, and then requested that the facility accept a co-pay or down payment and then send the rest through insurance.  It should ALWAYS be processed through insurance first.  Makes sense now....makes sense now that I can keep my eyes open for longer than a few hours.  I'm just grateful it makes sense at all.

I have my sister to thank for that.  When the first LARGE bill hit, I fell into a dark hole.  I felt like I had tanked my family once again.  Financial hardship has dogged us throughout our lives and it's typically due to choices I've made.  That's a heavy burden.  After I had swallowed a large chunk of my pride, I called my Sister A to find out if she knew anything about this mess.   Turns out SHE DOES! Insurance is her passion and she's very good at finding out the ins and outs of how the system works.  So I've called everyone and keep letting them know what's going on.  There is an end to this, I know there is.

In the meantime, if you know of anyone that needs a freelance writer, or of anyone hiring positions that can be worked from home (since I still have one kiddo here at home during the day), please let me know.  I'm confident that all will work out- I just like to be able to help.

Much love, and brighter tomorrows~Kami