I had my third Avastin treatment on Thursday. It only took about 30 minutes, which is so much faster than chemo was. I was a little surprised that Dr. Gore wanted to talk to me, my mom, and my dad in a private room before I got my treatment. It sort of gives me a knot in my stomach to know I will be talking to Dr. Gore lately because he seems to be all doom and gloom, though really I do appreciate his brutal honesty. All the doctors (Gore, Barnes, and Huh) seem to be thinking that the Avastin might not be working, possibly because of the increasing pain and continued fluid buildup in my belly. They all have told me to go ahead and get this third treatment though to really gauge whether or not it is making a difference. I’m scheduled to come back to the hospital on the 13th for a CT scan and then again on the 15th to check the status of the tumors with Dr. Gore. I told Dr. Gore that my dad and brothers are taking me to Las Vegas on the 19th just so I could get out and have a bit of an adventure. He suggested tapping my abdomen to drain fluids again right before the trip, which I thought was a fantastic idea because that helps a lot with my nausea and comfort level (though not the pain). He also said if we find out the Avastin isn’t helping, he won’t start me on a new treatment right before I go to Vegas. I can start when I go back. His suggestion for that situation was to start taking the drug Etoposide (The “E” in BEP chemo) in pill form. I think he said the advantages of taking the pill version instead of an infusion were less side effects and being able to take it continuously instead of with breaks every few weeks. I mentioned to him that all 3 oncologists agree that I've run out of good options and I said, " It's difficult to choose between dying and going through some horrible treatment," and he corrected me by saying, "Well, at this point it's really a choice between dying and going through some horrible treatment and then dying." I don't want to die and I'm scared because the pain seems to be getting worse and worse. Lately I've been waking up in the middle of the night in pain. There is nothing left to do though but wait and see, and try to be brave. If I don't have a lot of time left, I want to make the most of it. I've been desperately trying to find someone to give me art lessons but not one has called back yet. I'm also trying to make a big deal out of Christmas (yes, it's pretty early to start thinking of that). I've been trying to think of thoughtful gifts I could give to people (probably paintings) and I made Christmas cards to mail out with a picture of me and Emma on them. Sorry, I can't post the picture or it won't be a surprise at all for the people who get one. :-)
Different topic: Medicaid. When I applied for social security disability, I was more concerned about getting on some sort of government healthcare (Medicaid or Medicare) than the monthly income I would be sent because being sick with no health insurance is extremely expensive in the United States. It just seems obvious to me that a person applying for disability will probably really need health insurance. I only just found out last week that I do have Medicaid but not with full health coverage. I was put on "Plan 1st" which apparently only covers pap smears and birth control. I'm so frustrated because I was so sure that I would be fully covered somehow. I simply do not understand the system and why I can't be covered. My dad has to shell out almost $400 per month to keep me on COBRA so I can keep the insurance I had before. Amanda, who works at the cancer center and has been so helpful with all this confusing health insurance stuff, is trying to see if she can get the hospital's charity care program to cover these COBRA payments, but she said it is a long shot. She is also going to see if I can get all my medications through the hospital since I have to take so many now. People like her really make going through these shit times easier. My parents do not have a lot of money and I hate to think of them suffering financially because of my medical costs.