Saturday, May 25, 2013

A very eventful 3 days - we have a team assembled at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and they are ON the case. :-)

We finished sitting down with Sherman Hospital regarding the funds still owed for treatment over the past year last Wednesday, so we will know how much we still owe once they have sat down with Blue Cross/ Blue Shield and finished final negotiations for what they are covering (this is not a fun process). The hard part is the out of pocket portion after deductibles, in and out of network providers, plus the lab portion (as there were over 5 hospitalizations, you practically need to be an accountant to keep everything straight). Oy.

We are in still in Zion (at the hotel resting comfortably at the Radisson after a long 3 days of poking, prodding, questions, and running all over a hospital). Amazingly, the hotel stay is free for up to 2 weeks during initial assessment (saving us over $1,100). Our food is also being provided free of charge during the initial assessment period also (saving us at least another $400 over the same period). We have the travel trailer prepared for use after the first 2 weeks (if necessary) to keep our housing costs down while in Zion.

• was just preparing all paperwork before driving to Zion, then checking in the hotel and dinner at the hospital (and getting situated).

Yesterday (Thursday):
• began very early (up at 6am to get ready and be at the Cancer Treatment Center by 7:30am for breakfast). 8:15am - Patient Registration, 9am - Escort to Nurse Navigator, 9:15am - sitting down with the Nurse Navigator and going through initial assessment, 10:00am - consult with Michael Delatorre MD, 12:30 pm - lunch, 1pm –labs (urine and blood) , 2pm - reconnect with Nurse Navigator for follow-up on Friday.

Today (Friday):
• 9am – Echocardiogram, 9:35am – Breakfast, 10am – Naturopathic Medicine consult - Erik Boudreau  ND,  10:30am – Nutrition Consult, 10:45am - Nurse Navigator reconnect (schedule adjustment), 11:00am - Pain Management consult – Raed Rahman DO, 12:15pm – Cardiology consult - Samarendra Chandel MD,  12:40pm – Lunch, 1pm – Mind & Body consult – Heather Swick MSMFT, 2pm – Pastoral Care – Andrew Barkley, 2:30pm – Mammogram – Imaging, 3:30pm – Urology consult – Raza Khan MD.

Tomorrow (Saturday):
• 8am – breakfast, 8:30am CT prep, 9:00 CT Scan of lower abdominal area – Imaging, 10am review of schedule based on results of the testing in the past 3 days

• 9am – breakfast, 10am – Oncology consult- Michelle Gershenhorn DO, 11am – Naturopathic consult - Erik Boudreau  ND,  11:30am – Nutrition Consult – Krissy Stodola, Noon – Care Management consult - Michelle Gershenhorn DO, 1:15pm Nurse navigation reconnect, 2pm Physical Therapy Evaluation and treatment – Emmanual Aculado PT, 6:30 pm – reserved.

• 7:30 am – Cystoscopy - – Raza Khan MD (review of bladder, removal of stent, multiple tissue biopsy of Bladder, new stent if necessary)

So we are staying in Zion at least through the first week of June. So we will be spending a lot of time preparing our son Travis for a longer term managing things at home (his going to work and back, taking care of the house, taking care of our 2 dogs). I’ll be going back to Huntley and back at least once every 3 days so I can keep the lawn trim, go through the bills that are coming in, trying to help keep Travis on track where I can. In the interim, I can help Penny while here in Zion (while looking for a job in the evening online).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My first post on our new Blog

Hello world, we are working on setting up our new Blog... which will document one family's journey, so we will be appreciating any input plus patience in ramping this up. My name is Steinar Andersen and my wife's name is Penny Andersen. Our children's names are: Shane Andersen, Brandie Andersen, Sondra Zurawski, and Travis Zurawski. Our Dog's names are Maggie and Pebbles.

My wife Penny has been disabled for a long time now through no fault of her own (she was a gunshot victim in 2001 and became permanently disabled in 2005). Our son Travis was born premature with multiple developmental disabilities and lives with us still (while our other children are now living on their own). I haven't been working for a company now for 7 months so my time has been spent working on helping Penny regarding her medical treatments / benefits, fund raising to help Penny keep her medical insurance benefits under Cobra plus trying to pay for the medical treatment she is presently going through, working on establishing my Veterans benefits given my many medical maladies, and working on how we will live the rest of our lives in the process. My wife's cancer treatment has gone into full gear (she was just approved for Cancer Centers of America regarding an evaluation and treatment plan). We believe that God has blessed us with a unique and exciting life and we live to serve him as best we can (as being the flawed human beings we are, this is a daily struggle, but we aspire to do the best we can).

This blog is being started so we can document the rest of our life's journey and so we can publicly share this journey with the public so we can hopefully inspire those who are facing adversity. As Facebook has become very public regarding personal FB pages and that it is almost impossible to keep it private at this point, we think it is important that we manage our Public information in one spot on the Interweb instead of letting companies do it for us (with their profiting off of it and our Interweb footprint). We hope to eventually monetize this blog (via adwords / etc) to help us in helping Penny continue her medical treatment for the forseeable future.  Eventually, our Facebook / Twitter / Google+ / Pinterest accounts will be a marker to point people to this blog where we can manage our public information. We were inspired by my brother's RV Blog (on BlogSpot also) @, and we hope that our blog can become a companion blog to his as our adventure / journey is much like Erik's and Ronda's.

We hope that our story will provide a glimpse into the complexity that is the American Experience (Norwegian immigrant and US Military vet who becomes American, falls in love with Native American, and a cornucopia of complexity ensues). We can write at least 2 novels about our experiences, and we hope that others reading this blog will be inspired / entertained / humbled as we are regarding this journey.

~ Steinar and Penny Andersen 05/19/2013.  :)