Seeking the Bright Side

OK, this won’t be just a continuation of the rant that comprised my last post.

Not completely. First I want to write something positive.


The, uh, weather has been quite pleasant lately in Mar Vista.

Uh, for a couple weeks we fostered a little brown bitch who is a good girl. We liked her, and hope she finds a good home. She was called Mini (Minnie by Brigitte), as she looks quite a bit like Suzy when she was a pup.IMG_0082She is still up for adoption. If you’re in West L.A. and want a good dog, send a mail or comment, or whatever it is.


The garden is coming in well.


The tomatoes like it. I’m on a second planting of lettuce (see one, left of tomatoes, that has bolted – I’m saving seeds, like Monsanto hates). Herbs like it. I like the drip irrigation I put on the old lawn sprinkler circuits. And see my redwood fence I did a few months  back.

Oh, this blog is about cancer and one’s experiences. That definitely includes one’s experiences w/ the Medical/Pharmaceutical/Insurance Complex. But, dear reader, there are even positive things within that whole domain.

I had an MRI on 6/9/13. The radiologist at Beverly Tower Advanced Imaging Center reported it looked fine, but there was something somewhere about which he was not quite sure. My ENT, Dr. Finerman, later told me he “is even more compulsive than me,” but that I should probably get more pictures. Only these pix would not be of the non-radiation MRI kind; these would be of the radiation bomb PET/CT kind.

Great. To fight cancer we use radiation. To check up on how we’re doing, we use radiation. So much radiation that they put you in a small room before they blast you with radiation. That room is lined w/ lead, it appears about 1-2 mm thick. Why? Because before you go get blasted, they INJECT you w/ a fluid that is RADIOACTIVE. The lead contains this radioactivity so innocent passersby will not be harmed. You, the patient? Sit still. Don’t move. For about 1/2 hour. Then you are later lead to the Death Beam in a cold room, situated on the plank (w/ heated towels) and instructed to not move for about 30:00.That part was the goal toward which I was struggling for one month; a goal that I did not want. Some radiologist did. OK, I defer to the experts.

Unfortunately, an expert oncologist who helped me in the past has an office staff of humans who seem incompetent, careless, and lethargic. A scheduler who never answers her phone, returns voicemail 10% of the time, and seems not to be able to do her JOB by navigating the world of insurance, referrals, authorizations, and approvals.

Eventually, I decided to leave that doctor and his staff out of the loop; I went back to my ENT (Dr. Matthew Finerman in Century City)for the new scan scheduling, and even further back to my MD (Thomas Hascall at the Motion Picture Bob Hope Clinic) for the all-important referral so that I would have 100% payment for this very expensive procedure. Both good men w/ competent staffs.

But then, one has to deal w/ voices on a phone line. Over the course of one month I almost became phone pals w/ a couple people as I tried to connect the dots of referrals, imaging centers, schedules, authorizations, procedure codes, perceived lack of authorization, on-the-job training for kids in call centers, etc.

And I might still be waiting if not for the prodigious network wrangling and kickass phone skills of an old Motion Picture TV Fund friend, Lesli Leder. I met Lesli in ’95 on another little detour involving motorcycle racing and brain damage, but that was before the advent of blogs, so ……………………..As the imaging center found out they did not have ‘authorization’ (they did) only one day before I was to go in, they called me and rescheduled to 8/20/13. A couple days later I went to see Lesli regarding a photo assignment she had given me for her new office. While there I mentioned the latest snafu. Ah, it’s always a pleasure to watch someone do their job really well! Wrangling approvals, authorizations, doctors offices, and vendors is not even her job, but she’s good at it.

I was under the gun two days later.

For this scan there were many rules, including a lot of meat consumption the day before. I realized that I just don’t do that much anymore. I like meat; it’s just not as special as it was in the past.

Excuse me, I have to go attempt a tempeh lasagna w/ garden tomatoes and herbs. Stand by…………..


About chucksnuc

If you stop struggling, then you stop life.
This entry was posted in Cancer treatment. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Seeking the Bright Side

  1. johnny beyers says:

    Wait! Don’t leave us hanging….l
    Where’s the rest of the saga….

    • chucksnuc says:

      This is not yet a saga; more like a serial.
      “Tune in next week (or whenever there’s a new post) to read about the Onco Adventures of Chuck!”
      Now could anyone give some pointers on how to make lasagna? I learned that one should not put the pasta on top. It gets just a bit ……………. crispy. Even w/ some shaved Parmigiano. Very good, though.
      Maybe this will become an Onco Cooking blog. Whaddya think?

  2. Mel Bailey says:

    Sorry that you are having to go thru all of that, but hope things turn out for you for the good. Keep the faith. Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2013 23:01:15 +0000 To:

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