Day 3 – Angels Among Us
I think I have tried to write this post 7 times now but each time I have to stop because I can’t see through the tears. No, not tears of sadness. These are tears of joy, hope and love. And this joy, hope and love is coming from all of you. We are forever grateful for all your words of encouragement, pieces of invaluable advice, compassion, donations, and pure love for 2 people that most of you have never met. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!
Today was a day that started with an extreme kick to the gut but was followed by an event that I can only describe as angelic. Let me explain:
Sean and I both woke up feeling like a million dollars. I know that probably sounds strange but we had the best night sleep of our lives. Sean is still in an immense amount of pain but his spirits were super high. We had breakfast and he helped me clean the house, despite my protests for him to stop. Nope he picked up the spotbot machine and cleaned all of carpets (our house is 80% tile and yet the cats still puke on just the carpet, lol).
Around 11am I received a message from a woman named Lori. Lori is the wife of one of our friends at work, Chaz. Chaz just went through treatment for cancer and she is also the mother of a son who also battled cancer. She sent me a message that said she wanted to encourage me to call the Moffitt Center now to get an appointment, due to appointments already filling up, even without the biopsy results. I didn’t even know this was possible because I thought we had to wait but I read the message and was on the phone calling.
I talked to a woman in scheduling and she took all of Sean’s information and then asked about insurance. I told her our insurance and she informed me that it wasn’t accepted at Moffitt. Ok. So surely I can self-pay, right? Her answer was no. I said, “I can’t put money into a fund or something?” Her response again was “no, we do not accept self-pay patients at Moffitt”. She then continued to tell me that the typical cost for cancer treatment is $150,000. My knees gave out and I grabbed our counter just to stop from falling over. I think she kept talking but all I could hear was the Charlie Brown parents. Nothing was computing. I thanked her for her time and hung up the phone.
At this point, I just broke down. I was shaking uncontrollably from the fear. I had this path. This path that Sean and I had been talking about since we got the news from the doctor and they said the word “Moffitt”. This path was laid out and we were following it and then all of a sudden, someone slammed a wall right in front of me. What do I do next?
Sean saw me shaking and came over and wrapped his arms around me and said, “take a deep breath. We got this.” So that is what I did. I took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind on what I could possibly do now. First step I thought of was I gotta call the insurance company. Before I called the insurance though, I wrote a quick note over to Lori explaining that Moffitt doesn’t accept self-pay patients and I wanted to thank her for giving me the knowledge to call now to make an appointment.
So I am on the phone with the insurance company and I am frantically scouring the internet for cancer treatment centers. The insurance company came back and told me what I kind of expected, no cancer treatment centers are covered under our insurance. Our insurance is great for the typical 40 year old. Break a bone, covered. Get a UTI, covered. Have the flu, covered. When choosing insurance at 41, you don’t think you need to check out the cancer coverage. It’s a shoulda, coulda, woulda situation right? If we all had that crystal ball into the future, we could totally plan for these things correctly.
Back to the internet to search and search and search. And then Lori popped into my head again. Her husband just finished treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. So I quickly typed in their URL to look at their website. I found the tab that was all about billing and insurance. I think I held my breath the entire time I read the page. The words were sort of jumbled on the page. My brain was in a fog. I felt like I read each word 5 times before I understood what it was saying. And then I saw it, “Underinsured/Self Pay”. My heart skipped a beat and I was on the phone 3 seconds after I read that.
The first thing I asked when I talked to scheduling was do you accept self-pay patients. Her answer was “Yes, of course we do”. There was a wave of relief that washed over me. Ok, step one is done. Now let’s talk about appointment dates. The next available appointment was April 8th (that’s 40 days away in case you were wondering). My heart sank again. Ok. If that is the next available date, then that is the next available date. We will hope for a cancellation and make this work. At least we had an appointment with another top 10 cancer center in the U.S.
I messaged Lori once again with the news that we just got an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. She gave me some more awesome advice to call back everyday to see if there is a cancellation. Great advice and I will do just that. I will harass the living daylights out of the scheduler at Mayo and pray to God that there is a cancellation so Sean can get in sooner.
Life went on for a few more hours at the house and I then got a call from an unknown number. I answered the phone and it was Lori. She wanted to ask me about the Mayo appointment and if I knew who the appointment was with. I told her I didn’t know (I didn’t think to ask that when I made the appointment). She then explained to me that it was possible that her husband Chaz’s doctor team might be the team working with Sean. She wasn’t sure but it was possible. She was going to call his team and find out if they could help get Sean in a little faster. She said “I’m not making any promises but maybe they can help”. I hung up the phone and 15 minutes later I received a call from Mayo.
I talked to one of the members of the team and she said they had an opening this Monday if we would like to come in. My heart sank again because I had to tell her that the biopsy results were suppose to be on Monday but that we would have them yet for the appointment. I asked her if they were necessary and she said she had to ask someone about that and she would call back (you want to talk about a feeling like you just blew everything. The feeling of that was your one shot and you blew it). My heart was a little down but no worries, we still have our April 8th appointment on the books.
The phone rang 20 minutes later and the it was Mayo again. I took a deep breath and answered. The wonderful woman on the other end said that they would need Sean’s biopsy report before seeing him, would we be able to come in the following Monday? Happy tears started streaming out of my eyes because we now have a new appointment with the Mayo Clinic March 9th at 7am (that’s 9 days from now if you were wondering).
I know that was a long story but it is one that has a happy ending so I wanted to share. Like I mentioned before, we are taking each day as a day and today we had a huge win. We cannot thank Lori enough times for taking time out of her day to contact a fantastic team of doctors, for someone that she has never met. She is and will forever be an angel to us. At the moment that this all happened, I could only keep hearing the song “Angels Among Us” by Alabama in my head. Gosh, that song is so old but it was the first thing that popped in my head when Lori did what she did. Lori if you read this, thank you thank you thank you. We are forever thankful for your kindness and compassion and we love you more than you will ever know.
“ … now ain’t it kind of funny at the dark end of the road. Someone light the way with just a single ray of hope. “