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When A Hospital Changes Hands

My partner was going in for routine blood work, which we've had done for years at a collection station less than a mile from home. This time, when we walked in, a note tacked up on a partition told us to see the registration desk immediately.

There, we were told that the collection station -- and all of our hospital's outpatient services -- are now "out of network." Our hospital had recently been acquired, but neither the hospital, nor its new owner, nor our insurer had updated us directly as to any changes in coverage.

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One Year Out

A year ago today I received "the call" from my GP. I don't remember her exact words, but "They found cancer" comes close. Her delivery of bad news stood out for its brevity.

My response, even more brief, was, "What stage?" I had no idea that we wouldn't know the stage for a while yet. I just wanted to know how bad the bad news was -- as in, was I going to die any time soon?

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My T and A Man

I told my surgeon, "I'm actually more worried about the colonoscopy than I had been about the lumpectomy."

My surgeon is a general surgeon, but his particular skills include both breast surgery and colonoscopy. That makes him literally my T and A man.

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Cancerversary Season

On February 7, 2014, I had nonchalantly waltzed into my diagnostic imaging center for my regular screening mammogram. As usual, I admired the waiting room mural that let me figuratively gaze out to sea from a wooden porch. For the most part I ignored the TV mounted high in a corner, which dispensed "local" news focused mainly on counties south of mine.

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Cancer Lens

My oncologist gave me the good news on Tuesday: my PET scan last week showed no sign of cancer. He said the front desk could print me out a copy of the report. I told him that I had already downloaded my copy from See Your Chart, the patient access portal used by my cancer center.

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Creativity Heals

I was at my radiation facility (RBOI) on Monday -- not for treatment, because I had finished active treatment last month. Not for a support group meeting, though this visit was related.

I was there for a photo shoot, several days after I had gone there to be interviewed by Citrus County Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy. The support group I am facilitating, "Creativity Heals," held its inaugural meeting on Thursday afternoon. I had a PET scan (across the county road, at my chemo facility) that morning.

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Traveling to Mars

I recently learned about a clinical trial via Alicia Staley (@stales), one of the moderators at breast cancer social media (#bcsm). The trial, focused on hormone-positive breast cancer, will evaluate whether a study drug combined with hormonal therapy has better outcomes than hormonal therapy alone.

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Seven Minutes (and other miscellany)

On Tuesday (and on the next three days) I did a basic plank for three minutes and side planks for two minutes each -- to "Eitheror" by Little People, chopped up into timed clips so that I wouldn't have to look at the clock.

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Disclosures

"While I viewed these mountains [the Rockies] I felt a secret pleasure in finding myself so near the head of the heretofore conceived boundless Missouri; but when I reflected on the difficulties which this snowey barrier would most probably throw in my way to the Pacific, and the sufferings and hardships of myself and party in them, it in some way counterballanced the joy I had felt in the first few moments in which I gazed on them; but as I have always held it a crime to anticipate evils I will believe it a good comfortable road untill I am compelled to beleive differently." -- M

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Bare Headed Lady

The days and weeks following the end of active treatment fill with mini-celebrations of the type one might otherwise take for granted. Shaving my chin hairs with a safety razor again. Switching from extra-soft toothbrush back to soft toothbrush. Being able to resume sleeping on my stomach without discomfort.

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