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1st Scan Post Surgery on Wednesday


Deb W

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Hi everyone,

I had a few new  symptoms so my oncologist ordered a CT with contrast of my spine (surgery was in March so CT was moved up but still within the 4-6 month window). My insurance denied coverage and will only cover a MRI.  Is that common?  I really hate the MRI's, and  as many of you stated, keeping the anxiety at bay is a struggle.  I have the results appointment on Thursday so I don't have much of a wait.  I've read so many of your stories about the stress of scans and they are so helpful to me...thank you.

Debbie

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Debbie,

Sometimes, I think about a medical insurance CEO diagnosed with lung cancer and being denied a scan. Now that might change things!

Yes it is scanziety season for me. My scan is September 9th and I'll wait a week for results. I've had so many scans in 15+ years that I believe I'm radioactive! Since there is no cure for scanziety...

Stay the course.

Tom

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Deb W -

Does your insurance have an appeal process? I have been getting CT's about every three months during the post chemoradiation period, the again during the post Chemo period and every 3 months during my year of immunotherapy which I am nearing the end of. I've never had them deny coverage for a CT. I don't know but my employer is "self insured" and the insurance company just "manages" the health insurance for them, so they may be a little more lenient, but they still are a pain in the you know where to deal with. But I've had more than one initial denial overturned (usually by an insurance company representative who didn't bother to read our specific policy first and just gave a generic answer of no that is not covered). 

Likewise, I can handle the CT's but truly hate being stuffed into that MRI. I am a very large guy so it is extremely claustrophobic in there. For the next one this next Friday where I have a CT w/wo contrast followed afterwards by an MRI w/wo contrast, the ONC suggested that I take a sedative / anti-anxiety med before hand, but to be sure to bring a driver to get me home. Although I rarely if ever take any anti-anxiety meds as I resist them whenever possible due to the tendency to become addictive to many people, I may take one Friday morning.

My last MRI was over a year ago, and I truly believe the only way I managed so long in there was due to the classic rock playing rather loudly in the background. Luckily I do not have much of a wait to see and read the Radiologists findings online, usually within 24 hours but this time I made a mistake scheduling the scans on a Friday morning and the results likely won't be posted till Monday about the time I am scheduled to see the Onc. I am sure that the "Scanziety" will have its way with me over the weekend.

Hang in there.

-Ron

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Hi Debbie-

Yes, this is a very common situation with a silver lining. A MRI is an excellent diagnostic tool in this situation, I wouldn’t be concerned about the insurance coverage determination. 

It seems the spinal MRI is part of this gig, ordered out of an abundance of caution.  My ALK peer mentor had one shortly after treatment started, I had one in February too. False alarm in both cases.  

You’re very active & hopefully all this is will be a gentle message to dial back.  

Keep us posted. 

Michelle

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Hi Debbie,

Completely share in your anxiety... My 2nd post-op CT is scheduled for 08/27 and I'm having a very difficult time containing my anxiety / fears.  Fortunately I will have the CT and meet with my surgeon an hour later for the results, so I am grateful I won't have to wait.  It will be a long day. Over a two hour drive there and then back again. I'm just hoping I don't cry while driving!

I had my right upper lobe removed in October 2018; no chemo or radiation. First follow-up scan was in February. My surgeon and another cancer clinic both felt the scan looked fine but my local pulmonologist is certain there's been a change in a couple of nodules in the upper left lung and said he believes it's another slow growing malignancy... So, I am very anxious to find out what the consensus will be this time. I hate every minute of this, believe me - as I'm sure all of us do.  I have tried very hard to ignore my fear, but I've found this past month, as the CT date draws near, that I have been much crabbier, more negative in my thoughts (oh how I hate that!), restless, etc.

I have not had a problem with my insurance and the CT's... My first one was only 4 months following surgery; this one we're waiting exactly 6 months.

I don't blame you re: the MRI... I had one many years ago and did okay with it. Most recent one I had was very difficult... I had a serious panic attack and they had to stop. They wanted to reschedule with me being semi-medicated, but I insisted we try again, that I could handle it. I found that the trick for me was to keep my eyes closed the entire time and focus on the music... When I open my eyes I really freak out due to the tight, enclosed space.

Good luck with this. Glad you can get your results soon and hoping you get good news. Will keep you in my thoughts / sending positive wishes your way...

 

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ColleenRae,

If your doctor believes the nodes are malignant, don't forget precision radiation as a treatment method. Surgeons are sometimes reluctant to 
"pluck" lymph nodes depending on their location but radiation oncologists have and easier route and recovery is much faster.

I do hope your scan is NED.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Deb,

Please post here when you can.  We'll all be pulling for you and I'm sure many prayers are going up.  Regarding the MRI; I too don't like them, but my daughter once gave me one of her Xanax and just half of it kept me calm enough to get through it.  I also find that putting a mask over my eyes (many operators have them) can do a lot to relieve my "MRI claustrophobia".  The MRI can provide good data for the doctors to understand what is going on with you and (unless you decide to appeal) get the test done for you.

Stay strong, you can do this.

Lou

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Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments and advice.  It means a lot to me.  So, I spoke to a health advocate and they believe this MRI is the best way to go.  I'm going ahead with the MRI, but now I won't be having it until 8/28.  Colleen, thanks for sharing and I am hoping for a NED result for you, please keep us posted.  I have also been crabby and impatient lately which I think is due to upcoming scan.  Xanax and a mask it is for scan day!  It's just a very different way to live - thoughts drifting to the worry of recurrence.   Tom, 15 years of scans...you're a warrior!

 

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