Not back to normal, but can’t complain.

It’s been 2 years since a rectal cancer diagnosis, and nearly two years since accompanying surgeries and following hernia event. Life has seemed more normal at times, and at times less normal. All in all, nothing really to complain about!

Normal days I will go on walks, enjoy a good wine or beer with Matt, keep busy with chores, work on hobby art, etc. Then there are moments when I am concerned with a stubborn sore on my hernia scar that won’t heal, a lumpy and scarred Franken-belly, most uncomfortable diarrhea and gas, night sweats, hot flashes, persistent insomnia, anxiety, foggy brain.


Hope that doesn’t happen to me! Frankenbelly

Let’s back up. Starting last summer I had a rogue suture from my closed-up ileostomy hole spring out of the skin on my belly. The suture was meant to be permanent, not absorbable. It poked out like a bee stinger, but didn’t give me any problems, really. In the fall, one year after the surgery, it was yanked out by my hernia surgeon. It healed over, and that was that. Until a few weeks later, a pimple formed and opened up, and it refused to go away.

Another month or so and a large pimple formed along the hernia scar. Jeez, what now? I called the hernia surgeon’s office, concerned, and they advised me to apply heat and try to get it to open up. It did not, but the top layer of skin became so stressed that it cracked and peeled off. Over a week, the skin became raw and then the pimple opened up and refused to go away for a month, continually oozing. I kept cleansing it and dressing it, waiting and waiting for my new insurance plan to kick in. Besides that, it was not painful, itchy or a bother, I only worried about it getting infected.

1 ½ months altogether, insurance kicked in, and finally I was able to see my GP, Dr. Yeh. Turns out I had a staph infection which would require  one week of antibiotics, and my hernia surgeon, would have to look at it again. My healthy, fit alter-ego told me, “Oh, no! Not more antibiotics! I’m being punished!!” I sincerely loath medications.



Ok, well now that I have a new insurance policy, my old hernia surgeon, Dr. Reger, is not covered so I had to find a new one, but before I did, his office cautioned that this infection might mean a whole new surgery.

I visited the new surgeon and lo and behold he pulled two gigantic, wiry sutures out of my abdomen, left over from the original hernia repair.


Sutures in a stuffed bunny.

Side note: Jeezus! What is it about my abdomen that makes people want to poke things into it and dig around?? It’s so creepy! Every doctor I’ve seen within the last two years, it seems, can’t help themselves, they’re almost drooling as they’re hovering over my naked ab. “Hmm, there’s a hole here, let’s see where it goes, what will fit in there, what comes out of it? Fluid? Wires? Innards? Hmm!…” AAAAH! NOT cool! If Matt was there in the exam room with me, he would no doubt hit the ceiling!

When there was nothing left to pull out of that hole, he moved onto another one, but nothing came out of there. I didn’t understand why he was extracting the sutures, but then he explained that bacteria follows foreign bodies, like sutures, mesh, etc. Sometimes antibiotics are disabled by these foreign objects, and bacteria are harbored along side them. That’s bad. So removing the sutures was good (not pretty or comfortable, but good). Then he put a gigantic gauze patch on me and prescribed two more weeks of antibiotics and a two week follow-up visit. Good lord, I hope this ends soon!

No formal complaint, getting back to normal takes a while, but no more surgeries, please!


Frustrated-Angry-medical-billingRegarding medical billing, this continues the saga.

This has been a pain in my a** since the diagnosis. I hired a medical billing advocate last year whom I optimistically believed could help me with my crappy insurance plan. Maybe guide me through approaching medical billing offices and my insurance company about unfair billings, and possibly win me back some of the medical costs.

Nope. All the money I won back I did on my own. I was tired of it, too. Wasting time on hold, writing letters of complaint, examining EOB’s, bills, statements… After a while, I just paid the balances, and eventually avoided seeing doctors altogether. Thanks to the broken medical insurance system and my being forced into an inadequate insurance plan years ago, then no hope to change it. I realized I had no control over what would get billed to me. Receiving surprise bills for procedures, doctors, treatments, etc, which should have been covered and having to contest every bill, I was tired. Yep. Not cool at all, especially for a cancer survivor.

This year I was given the hope of starting a new “Cadillac” insurance plan with no regard to pre-existing conditions that was *affordable* because of Obamacare and my insurance broker, and I was going to wait for it to begin before getting anything more done!

Kiss my A**, Assurant Health ~ Hello Moda! 

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