Out with the PICC, in with the port.


Here’s a recap of the week’s events – for those who prefer to read, the transcription is below the video. Also some new photos.

Video Transcription & new photos

Hello there. I thought I’d do an update from the greenhouse here. I’m stepping outside. We’re letting the chickens go for a walk right now, but let me see if I can find a good spot in here, uh, with a, you know, a halfway decent background and we’ll kind of give you the, the latest events for today. Well, I wanted to do outside and you know, there was one or two days this week that it was a little bit sunny out and uh, of course, today is not one of those days. Typical, uh, Wisconsin winter gray, overcast, not exactly blustery, but it’s not, you know, cold either. So that’s cool. Anyway, a couple of updates, uh, as far as you know, my health, cancer and what’s going on this week, I thought I would share with you, um, just another example of why our healthcare system is broken.

I used to have really, really good health coverage. In fact, I had a family plan. It cost me, I think it was $360 a month and had a very low deductible. I believe I had $1,000 a year deductible. Something like that. And, uh, I mean, it was, it was awesome. So, and now, um, so the, the VA, my doctor at the VA, uh, sent me for a consult at Froedert, which is another hospital in Milwaukee. And, uh, the reason behind that was they have a program, a clinical trial that opens up from time to time, which, you know, might be something that, uh, would benefit me. So they sent me over there, uh, to see the doctor who’s kind of running that program. And so the doctor wanted to, uh, you know, take a look at, see me, take a look at me. Of course, they’ve got access to my records and stuff because they’re in partnership with the VA and, uh, so I went over there, uh, they drew some labs just like they do at the VA. um, nothing different. So, uh, from that visit, my part of that visit, um, uh, it looks like this, so can you can see that? Yeah. So there’s, there are three charges outlined on that bill. Um, uh, one is, uh, the hematology grace cancer center, while they’re charging $3,051 for that, uh, the doctor visit, you know, I saw him for like 15 minutes, uh, $659 for that. And then the labs were $234. Uh, the VA paid a little bit of it. Uh, but my, my portion is $2,701 and 90 cents. So, uh, you know, even with the, the new stuff they got now, the Obamacare, uh, affordable healthcare act, uh, all that good stuff, you know, the, the, uh, the deductibles are so high that, you know, I would end up paying that anyway.

Um, so yeah, if anybody tells you that cancer is cheap or they’re pulling your leg. Um, so anyway, that’s, that’s another one of the challenges of course, you know, with, you know, dealing with, um, health is that, uh, you, you got to, you got to pay those bills. I’ve got several others on top of that. This is just the most recent one. Um, and then you’ve got, you know, travel, you got time away from work and stuff like that. So I’m, I’m doing, I think, a pretty good job of juggling those things. I’m making sure that I’m working when I can work. Uh, in fact with some of the steroids I’m taking with my chemo, sometimes it keeps me up at night. And so I can work extra long hours out there in the middle of the night, uh, and make up for some time that I normally would do things during business hours.

So it, I mean, I’m, I’m definitely getting 40 hours then it’s just maybe not all, you know, office hours. So, uh, I’m able to, to cope that way. Um, so what happened this week? This week? Okay. So they’re, they’re still, I went to see my doctor. Uh, they did labs, Myeloma labs, the little myeloma labs, and, um, so the myeloma numbers, the cancer numbers look good and, you know, kidney functions are about the same, so everything’s, everything’s good and coming down in the right direction, uh, as far as that goes. Uh, so that’s positive. The negatives are, um, the, that, my immune system is kind of, it’s on a roller coaster. So it was, it was very good week before last and now it’s, it’s back just under what my doctor would consider a quasi safe spot. So, um, I’ve gotta be careful again. You know what I’m eating, what I’m touching, washing my hands all the time, wearing a mask when necessary.

All that good stuff. So it’s, it’s a, it’s a job to make sure that I don’t get sick. I’m trying to stay away from sick people, uh, but also, uh, because of this, uh, immune system rollercoaster that I’m on right now. Uh, they’ve also, uh, prescribed injections for me. So right now the injections are three times a week and it’s something that I can do. So they taught me how to give myself a shot in the belly. Um, so today I was the first time I do that, I’ll put some pictures below this. Uh, so you can see. But uh, yeah, that’s a, that’s, that’s an interesting experience there. If you’ve never given yourself a shot, uh, it’s not so bad, but you know, not something I ever saw myself doing either. So, you know, whatever, um, the picc line came out. Uh, so we, we got that taken out, taken out.

Uh, so that was the line that was central in my arm and allow them to do I, the transfusions with the chemotherapy and stuff are infusions I should say. Um, through that, uh, thing that was dangling from my arm. Well, um, now we’ve replaced that with a port, which is almost healed over and I’ve got some other pictures of that. But anyway, they, they did this Monday, there was basically a device under there and there was there, there’s a picture I’ll, you know, I’ll link to a previous post to show you what it was, but it was a, there’s a little device on where they can tap into and now there’s a line that goes into my neck. They’re into the vein that, you know, drops right down above my heart, which allows them to, uh, give me those infusions as well. And it’s, it’s very simple and it mixes well and it’s good for my vein, so it doesn’t burn my things out, which is good.

Um, so those are the big things that have happened. Um, Doc is still working on the, uh, the protocol change where instead of coming in two weeks (meant twice weekly) for chemo, I might be able to just come in one time a week for chemo. Uh, he’s got to get that approved because it’s not, I mean, it’s done. It’s been done in trials, but it’s not a, an accepted practice yet. Um, so he’s, he’s working on that and then we’ll, of course, be better because, you know, that’s, you know, a half a day, uh, travel time per week. I won’t have to do. And, uh, I liked that idea. Uh, so long as it doesn’t kill me. Uh, so that’s what’s been happening. Uh, uh, numbers-wise, most things are good. Um, immune system, eh, kinda shaky right now. But, uh, other than that, I’m doing okay. I’m doing okay. I’m blessed. Y’all be good. Bye. Bye.

Ken Ivey

Ken Ivey

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