Monday, October 5, 2009

Chemotherapy; Interrogation By The LTD Gestapo

Yesterday I swallowed the last of the third chemotherapy cycle's Revlimid; today I took the last of the dexamethasone. Later this week I will undergo the usual bloodletting, so that the effects can be evaluated by the oncologist in time for our conference on the topic, which takes place on Friday. I could be mistaken, but I believe there are three possible outcomes:

1. I have responded well enough already to go straight from here to evaluation for stem cell transplant.
2. I have responded positively, but require another cycle before stem cell transplant could be considered.
3. I haven't responded well enough to this regimen, and need to switch to a different one.

I don't really think that Door #3 is in the hunt at this point, because the oncologist has been making none but positive noises about my response to the chemotherapy to date. Something would have to have gone very wrong this time around to cause such a dramatic change in direction. So the big decision point should be whether another cycle is needed.

Meanwhile, a representative of the long-term disability insurance company called today, and grilled me for some time about my "situation". There were trick questions along the lines of "Describe a typical day for you at this time." True answer: There is no such thing as a "typical" day, since so much depends on whether or not I have doctor/lab appointments, a physical therapist appointment, etc. I described my recent attempts to determine whether or not I am capable of working full time at this point, and tried to explain why I believe that I'm not capable of performing the role of a full-time JDA employee on a consistent basis for the time being. I was also forced to revisit the short version of the story of the damage the cancer has done so far, and the various therapies I have undergone to date, and am likely to undergo in the foreseeable future. It was clear that my interrogator knew very little about multiple myeloma, and the therapies used to combat it; finally she declared my disquisition on the topic to be "very interesting". She requested a list of the medications I am currently taking, and the names and contact information of all the physicians involved; why this information wasn't included in any of the numerous forms I have already had to submit to date remains mysterious, to me. She also suggested that I investigate the possibility of making a Social Security disability claim (probably because LTD insurance payments would be reduced by the amounts of any Social Security disability payments I received?). She ended by warning me that the evaluation of my claim would take her company 45 days (of which I assume 43.5 days will consist of my claim forms sitting in someone's inbox). Well, that beats the Social Security Administration's "four to five months" to process a disability claim. Perhaps the President could be persuaded to take on disability insurance reform next? Kidding.

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