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Some positive news about my cancer



By Steve Christensen

I have good news and bad news about my cancer. The good news is, the second surgery was a complete success and the pathology report says there is no tumor or traces of tumor.
I have Dr. Walter Snihurowych to thank for this miraculous outcome. He did the first surgery and what that surgery found wasn’t pretty. He said that in 30 years he had never seen such a case. The words the pathologist used were, “unusual” and  “aggressive” — not things one wants to hear about cancer.
Because of that Dr. Snihurowych referred me to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. If necessary, doctors work as a team to determine the best course of treatment. There are world-class surgeons at Huntsman, and since the rest of my life is on the line, Dr. Snihurowych said he wanted me to get a second opinion from the best doctors available.
I admire and thank Dr. Snihurowych for making that referral. The second surgery, that was completely successful, was done by Dr. Brock O’Niel at the Huntsman Institute.
The last two months have not been fun. Only a person who has had urinary tract issues can relate, but the discomfort of needing to be in the bathroom nearly constantly is awful. At times the pain is excruciating.
And, it’s not over. This type of cancer has a high probability of returning. So, treatment is recommended. I didn’t go through a scope and two surgeries just to have the cancer return, so I’m definitely going to undergo the treatment.
It’s called CBG. I don’t pretend to understand what it is. I won’t try to explain. When I made the decision to go to the Huntsman Institute I decided to just do whatever the doctors there recommended. Any of you who know me, know that’s not easy for me. I usually do my own research and make my own decisions. Some of those decisions have proven to be bad decisions.
But this time I’m going to do just what the doctor says. So, once a week for six weeks I will go to the clinic (luckily Dr. Snihurowych will be able to do it in Price). I will have fluid injected into my bladder, which must stay there for two hours. Obviously it’s all new to me, but it doesn’t sound fun.
My advice to you: Get good insurance from a reputable company. So far my insurance company has been good about paying according to the policy.
Also, make sure doctors and facilities are “in network.” If they are not, you can be on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars. I’ve been diligent in checking to see that the doctors and facilities I’m using are “in network.” Even so, one report came from a pathologist who was “out of network.” He billed $325 for a pathology report. The insurance allowed only $98.85, which an “in network” doctor would be required to accept. An “out of network” doctor isn’t. So, I guess you’ve already figured out who has to pay the extra $226.15. That is in addition to the $7,350 the insurance company says I’ve already paid. My calculations are over $8,000. Other than the $226.15 I’m not sure where the discrepancy comes from.
More advice: Medical tests are no fun and expensive. Many prove to be completely unnecessary. But, if there is any chance you have cancer, get all the tests recommended. Early diagnosis is imperative. It could save your life. I didn’t do all the tests when first recommended. It was a mistake.

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