Still trying to find a new GYN/surgeon

Back on January 21, I saw Dr. Streitfeld, who referred me to Dr. David Adamson, who is a reproductive endocrinologist.
I’ve been leaving messages for his office and for a regular endocrinologist named Dr. Grace Eng, who I tried to see in 2009 but for some reason never got to.

Anyway, today I finally got a live person on the phone at Dr. Adamson’s office, and within seconds my heart was broken, my hopes dashed.

“I’m so sorry, but Dr. Adamson is no longer seeing patients with endometriosis – he only sees patients with endometriosis who are trying to have children.”

I was shocked. I thought some sort of cruel joke was being played on me. I could hardly believe what I’d heard was real. I thought, he’s no longer giving endometriosis patients the time of day UNLESS they want babies?!?!?! What the hell kind of slap in the face is that?!

I kept my voice even and as sweet as the secretary’s voice. I asked if there are any other doctors that Dr. Adamson is referring endo patients to.
I was told he refers patients to Dr. Andrew Cook.
Well thankfully, Dr. Cook is on my short list, so I called his office, next.

I was all set to schedule a new patient visit, when the secretary gave me the lowdown:

They don’t DO insurance – they want prompt payment from my bank account or credit card. But they are happy to submit a claim to Aetna insurance company on my behalf for the rest of the money to maybe be returned to me. From their website, “We believe in health maintenance rather than just control of disease. This type of care is not accommodated in the billing contracts of insurance companies that require a rushed schedule. For this reason, Vital Health does not contract with insurance companies. Vital Health Institute specializes in excellence!”
The first visit is a $200 consultation fee, and if my insurance deductible has not been met, then it will be an additional $395 for the office visit. That’s a total of $595 out of pocket for a single office visit. Then there’s the idea of surgery with this guy, also out of pocket. My first laparoscopy was $19,000 and was covered in large part by Blue Shield, our old insurance plan. My out of pocket cost on that was $1,500.

I told the secretary I’d have to talk it over with my husband and give her a call back.

When I got home, I also remembered that Dr. Streitfeld had said he thinks I could have adenomyosis, which could be detected on a MRI or a PET scan. If I want to skirt around seeing Dr. Cook in the short term, perhaps my current GYN can just send me for a MRI or a PET scan…so I logged into Aetna’s website and looked up the pricing. I did not see PET scans being offered, but MRI is. For in-network, a MRI will cost $1,772. Of that, I am unsure how much my co-pay will be. I had a echocardiogram in 2009, which cost over $4,000. There were two or three insurance adjustments made, and I ended up paying around $470, which is still a lot of money, and took me a year to pay off, because I only make $11/hr and my husband doesn’t like shelling out his own money, even after he assures me he will (but that’s a whole other can of worms).

I sulked.

Here I am, trying to do the best thing for my health; I am trying out alternative therapies, which are costly and out of pocket. I am trying to find a new gynecological surgeon so I can get surgery number two after the first one three years ago never gave me any pain relief, and now I find out that the type of surgery I am interested in (excision vs. cauterisation) is also going to be an out of pocket experience.

On top of that, I have been at my recent job for 10 months with only partial training for the job. This keeps me at assistant status, which keeps my pay low. I need to shell out $1,700 for classes THIS SUMMER, which will bump me up to head teacher, which will increase my salary.

The dilemma is this: stay on the job and take the courses, but continue to miss work each month due to the pain, OR start seeing Dr. Cook, save every penny I can, and get surgery number two, which will require me to take weeks off work to recover from the surgery. When I get back to work, I’ll be playing financial catchup for a year or more.

I even mentioned my financial frustration to my husband in chat when I got home from work.

Me: i’m beginning to feel the reality – i can EITHER start on a new path with a new surgeon and get that second surgery in hopes of long term pain relief, OR i can go to montessori teacher training.
Husband: at least for now?
Me: right
Me: this year
Me: those are my choices
Husband: well, there is the lottery…:/

This exchange left me feeling not only frustrated, but mad.

Before you even think to ask me about credit cards, yes, I have two, and they are already maxed out since our honeymoon in May, 2009, and my having to live off of them since that time because my husband doesn’t like to spend his money to support me. Even though he says he’s fine with it, the money is not there whenever I need it. I had an acupuncture appointment last week, and forgot about it til the last minute. I asked my husband for financial assistance ($50) the night before the appointment, and he got real upset with me. He grudgingly wrote out the check.
On Friday, I asked my husband if it would be possible for him to withdraw up to $100 in cash on Saturday so we could look at what the dispensaries had to offer me in the way of alternative medication. He said yes, and seemed to not have a problem with this. He patted himself on the shoulder that day for supporting Prop 215 “by putting my money where my mouth is”. We got inside the dispensary and I priced out a few items. I wanted to try the butter, the mocha mix and a tincture. The cost would come to just under $60.

My husband told me I could EITHER get the butter OR the tincture. His face went grey with how expensive each was (about $22 and $36 respectively).

So for a man “putting his money where his mouth is”, he withdrew $100 for me to get what I wanted to treat my pain, and then only permitted me to use $28 of it.

This is a man who makes $65,000 MORE than me each year, and he’s suggesting I try the lottery to cover basic needs of raising my income via schooling, and surgery to alleviate or minimise chronic pain.

We have a joint bank account. It has been empty since the honeymoon.

We’ve had several talks – or rather the same talk over and over. Nothing is changing.

He pays all of the rent on our apartment, and he often helps pay for my expensive groceries (see my list of allergies and whatnot). He has taken over the long distance phone bill and the land line bill.

I pay for my cell phone, my auto insurance, some groceries, my two credit card balances, the DSL connection, our renter’s insurance and earthquake insurance. That alone takes up most of my paycheck every two weeks.

My husband is on his way to band practice right now, and I will be asleep when he gets home, so I emailed him, requesting that we have yet another financial talk. If I could only get official confirmation that he will not support me financially, instead of this wishy washy bullshit, then I can formulate a plan to care for myself.

If I am on my own financially, I think it’s best that I just go back to pretending that this is what all women go through every month, and stop trying to treat something which ultimately probably can’t be treated, anyway. I won’t die from my condition. No matter what I’ve tried in the last 23 years, nothing has worked anyway, so why bother to continue trying to fight it. I don’t have anyone but myself to help me financially and emotionally, anyway. Same as it ever was.

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