Last June, I dutifully went in for my first mammogram so that the doctors would have a baseline to compare my annual scans to after I turned 40. I expected a bit of embarrassment, a little discomfort, and a clean report in a few days.
The first two things went as planned; the third didn’t. So on June 14, 2007, I began what would become quite the follow-up screening saga. First I had trouble getting people to tell me exactly what was suspicious on the mammogram. I got good news that it likely wasn’t cancer, followed by concerns from my doctor about need for more follow-up because of my mother’s breast cancer history.
Finally we decided to wait six months and then do another ultrasound. Where I learned I’d likely need to move forward with yet more testing–this time an MRI. This time my doctor was afraid insurance wouldn’t pay for the MRI just on her recommendation., so she sent me to a breast specialist.
Though I thought in December that the visit to the specialist would be an end to the process, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I probably should have been clued in by the ridiculously long wait at the office, but this practice has been remarkably inefficient for one that comes so highly recommended.
Even with the specialist’s recommendation, our insurance company turned down the initial MRI request. I called the doctor and learned that she would write an appeal letter and that they’d call me when they received authorization. This occurred right before Christmas, so I waited until after the first of the year before I called to check to see if anything had come in from the insurance company.
Then there was the birthdate mixup that we had to clear up with Adventure Guy’s HR office. Which was followed by more calls to the specialist’s office. Which were followed by even more calls. Each time, I was told, “Well, you know these insurance things take time.” But I learned the doctor’s letter hadn’t even been sent, though months had passed.
Finally, I called the doctor who’d initially referred me, and her office called the specialist’s office. Miraculously, the letter had “just been sent.” After a call to my insurance company revealed no letter had arrived, I called back again to be told again about how “these things take time.”
But late last week, the specialist’s office called me with an appointment time for my MRI. I was so surprised that I initially forgot to confirm that they had received the insurance authorization and had to call them back to ask. Fortunately, the answer was yes, they had the approval.
So, at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, I’ll be going in for the MRI. Think good thoughts both for me not to be too freaked out by the process (I’m a bit claustrophobic) and that the results are good. I’ve scheduled the follow-up appointment for the following Friday, so I should finally have the details by the 11th.