Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Blue Day

So today's theme was not pink. It was blue.
Perhaps the universe was reminding me that all is not pink. Or rosy. Oh, wait, the universe always reminds me of that. First, I went to the Mayor's State of the City address (kudos to me; kudos to you; kudos for all my friends; and you only get that joke if you were there)--first public appearance since I broadcast my diagnosis across our tiny little town. More on that in a later post probably. But it was fun and I was in a jovial mood when I got back to my office. Except there was a message for me from Sasha at UCLA. Hmmm... this is not a name I'm familiar with. And by way of a little background, among the many, many, many things I have marveled at in the great institution that is UCLA Medical Center is that no matter how often I show up or how many "procedures" I have, no one-- but no one-- has so much as uttered the word co-pay to me. Or even "pay." Or "how do you intend to...." Never. [Okay, wait, the parking lot attendant always holds us up for $11, but that's not a co-pay.] I called Sasha. And Sasha as sweetly as can be informs me that Blue Cross informs her that my coverage lapsed on January 1. Right. So now I need cardiac care. Know any good clinics?

As calmly as possible, I said "that can't be right. I know I've paid the premiums and I've had the same insurance forever." She told me that I should call Blue Cross and straighten it out. Honestly, it took me three tries to dial the number correctly. And while I waited the 6 days, 19 hours, 43 minutes and 8 seconds they had me on hold, I perfectly envisioned my life as a bald, bankrupt, bag lady. And the bag was not Coach. Turned out it was Blue Cross's mistake (and they even said that!). They'd input my policy date wrong, but my coverage goes from January 1 to December and I was fine. Covered. They'd correct it and UCLA could call back in 15 minutes. Phew.

I recovered and went about my day being a lawyer rather than a "cancer person." Then, at about 6:30 a friend who has "been there/done that" circa 2007 called. She gave me all sorts of great information and of course we compared types of cancer, treatments, procedures, and the general poor state of health care in the Riverside area (it's a theme). Then we got to discussing my upcoming surgery. There's a part where they shoot blue dye into one of the twins (the ailing one of course) and well, let's just call it dead center. With a needle. They do this to find the road map to the sentinel node. Well my friend had this too. And so did my guru the Cancer Vixen. Both of them describe the pain as "off the charts." On a scale of 1 to 10 it's an 11. And my friend has three children. The children are not adopted. You do the pain math.

I'm a wimp. Who isn't with that kind of info. I hung up the phone and emailed the great and wonderful Dr. Good Karma. It's now about 7:45pm. I asked if this would be the case for me. Give it to me straight. Then I closed up the law shop and went home. To panic. I should have just reached for my Blackberry. He responded in less than a half hour. And because it makes me laugh for several reasons (mostly at myself) here's the response:

"The blue dye is the one I use in the operating when u r asleep so u
won't feelit plus my skilled hands will keep the any pain away ;-).
u may get some staining of the breast that is temporary and
ure urine turns blue and green for a day (
the college kids I treated always get a kick out of that.
The shot u get in the morning is for that tiny bit of radioactive
material that also goes to the sentinel lymph node and that
is not painful. I use both techniques so I can make sure to find
the sentinel node. "

Sounds like fun huh? Hey, after what I thought it was going to be...that's a good time right there. And yeah, my doctor's a Black(crack)berry addict and uses those abbreviations and a smiley face.

I am blue no more. Until next week anyway, when I will be quite!


  1. What a crazy day you had! So glad everything worked out. Sounds like you have a doctor that really cares!!! And blue cross...I can only imagine. You remember my friend Sue Reno? She had the centenial surgery 6 years ago by the Dr who developed the technique...I went with her to John Wayne for the day. She of course had the needle thing to "pin point" the cancer. So get this, a week later when we went back for her first check up the surgeon Doctor says, 'I've got good news and bad news, the good news is I didn't find any cancer - the bad news is...I think I was directed to the wrong area'!!! Can you imagine? So she had to have the surgery redone. Funny thing is Reno is quite the control freak and told the first doctor she thought he was putting the needle in the wrong spot but he ASSURED her it was on an angle and she wasn't seeing the final inside result and that she should basically be quite and let him do his job. I'll have to tell you more about that day. There was one point as she was gowned, hatted, needle dyed and everything, where the Surgeon was not going to operate at all cause Reno was being...well herself!

  2. AHHHHHH!!! No! I do not want to repeat any of this! Your "best friend/ maid of honor" actually got in a "strenuous discussion" with a surgeon out here and he fired her. Or she fired him. Anyway, that's how she ended up at UCLA. And thus, that's how I ended up at UCLA. I see no reason to argue with the surgeon yet. And I love a good argument as much as the next person.

  3. Okay. Last time I try. And, I may be over 35, but I have been able to post comments on everything, including the brainless gossip site I always read. There is such a thing as "too much helpful information." Dr. Karma will handle those boobies just fine.

  4. It worked!!!!


Comments mean you care. That's all I'm saying.