Status update: Gathering the facts

Cancer constellation in a circleThis is a health status update. Since the previous one I have seen the surgeon who would operate on me if I go directly to a mastectomy or a conservative breast surgery, the two primary options; and I met with a plastic surgeon to discuss reconstruction options (none at the moment because I’m too overweight, but may change in the future.) I have spent most of the other days dealing with bureaucracies and financial options to understand what I’m eligible for, schedule counselling, try to understand the different types of coverage I might have access to. Finally, I’ve been renewing my travel documentation while I’m still physically able to deal with this sort of detail (in case I want to go recover or even get treatment in Canada.)

Medically, the Kaiser Permanente system has been as prompt, efficient and helpful as the American health insurance system is crappy, opaque and frightening. 

On Monday I am seeing an oncologist to discuss clinical trials which I’ve been told by the surgeon I might be a good candidate for. I don’t know yet what it entails, but I understand that it would take place prior to any surgery to try to reduce the tumour size. I expect I may be invited to attend the class on chemotherapy on Tuesday; then I need to decide pronto what I want to do and schedule it. The medical team wants to begin treatment within four weeks of the biopsy, and Wednesday will mark the half-point of that period.
Friends have contacted me with information, resources, calls and cards, offers of financial assistance, well-wishes and understanding. I have not responded to everyone the way this kindness merits, but only because I’ve been kept busy. Thank you all so much, you’re what makes it worthwhile to go through times like these.