Wednesday, October 29 was stitch removal day! It was a very busy day in the Regenstrief Health Center at Wishard Hospital where Dr. Shapiro's office/clinic is located. The lobby registration/waiting area was teeming with patients. And each visit is like the first. They don't seem to maintain your information so you have to go through the same registration process each time. Even though Dr. Shapiro is the only doctor I have ever seen there, my registration form always lists the doctor's name as "Dr. Walkin." Go figure. We were finally cleared to proceed to Dr. Shapiro's clinic the sixth floor after about 45 minutes of sitting around. Once there, it was only a matter of minutes before we were back in the examination room and the stitches were coming out.
Yesterday - Halloween - was my last day on steroids and I cannot wait until I return to "normal." Although I did not blow up to Jerry Lewis proportions, the disgusting camel-like hump on the back of my neck and around my chin is clearly visible in the video. And I just seems to feel generally lethargic. My legs feel like they each weigh a thousand pounds. I am anxiously awaiting those side effects to disappear.
So what next? My neuro-oncologist has scheduled the next round of chemotherapy to start on Tuesday, November 11. This will be the combination of Avastin and irinotecan. As it has been explained to me, the whole procedure takes about 90 minutes and is administered intravenously. I have been told that most people tolerate the Avastin pretty well, but there is a chance of some of the more unpleasant side effects with the irinotecan. We'll just have to give a whirl and see what happens!
We still awaiting word from my insurance carrier, Anthem, as to whether they will cover the treatment since Avastin is not FDA-approved for treating brain tumors. Although Anthem has paid for the treatments for others in the past, it does not mean my treatments will be approved. And so we wait.
At $10,000 per treatment, administered every two to three weeks, the hospital is being a bit of stickler that they are going to get paid before hooking me up. Isn't that nice? My doctor has offered no alternative treatment at this point so we're keeping our fingers crossed.
If coverage is denied, we'll need to get a shitload of bake sales in the works, I suppose.
And there you have it!