Friday, April 20, 2012

Cancer: The Learning Curve

The first surprise that hit me once I received the official cancer diagnosis was the complete lack of order in the healthcare system.

I had thought that cancer was just like any other illness where you go to a doctor, and they tell you how to get better, but it isn't.  When I had surgeries in the past for a hernia then gallbladder, it was a relativity simple fix.  See the doctor.  Doctor sees the problem.  Doctor fixes the problem.  Insurance pays the doctor.  I become healthy.  This translates to: "Oh, you have cancer.  Let me give you a shot.  Go home; you are all better."

However cancer is H-N-L!  "Hole-'Nothah-Level"  There are a lot of doctors.  In fact, in the beginning there were so many doctors that I would just drop my pants when anyone in a white coat walked past me.  I knew they wanted a feel no matter how many times I told them there was a lump on my testicle.  Some doctors were nice, and I thanked them for their gentle touch.  There were some that were not so nice and I limped away with little pride and a lot of pain.

While there were many doctors in the beginning, I am now in a phase where there are very few.  As the doctors specialize into various fields, they become fewer and fewer, and just when I thought I found a good one, the mighty insurance company stepped in for a conversation.  They take a perfect doctor and turn him into one that I might not be able to use.  There are not many Urological Oncologists floating around, and I will hold on to hope that this will all work out.

I suppose this is what all those commercials on TV were talking about when they mention "Coordinated Care." But I am tired of this business crap; I just want my life--a healthy, cancer-free life.

This season of sickness has brought around some really good events: great people have reached out to me to express care and concern. People that I know and admire have walked down this same path, and they prove to me that it does get better on the other side.  I have an amazing wife.  She is constantly caring and loving this grumpy fool as I attempt to navigate this mess.  I am blessed with a son (currently nestled by my side) who inspires me to study harder, dig deeper, and play longer.

I don't even know where to start when it comes to the life lessons I have learned these last few months, but I am very glad to have them.  I am grateful for the pain as it gives me focus; I am grateful for the fear as it gives me hope, and I am grateful for life as it gives me joy.

I love this journey, and I couldn't do it without them.