I have been waiting for my breast deconstruction surgery for a long time. Even before I announced to my doctor, in April, that this is what I wanted and needed, I’ve known that the implants had to come out of my body. The acute pain and discomfort has been going on for at least a year, and getting worse every day.
It has now been almost 3 months since I have been actively waiting for surgery. I did not realize that the surgery required pre-authorization from the insurance company, and I never could have imagined that pre-authorization could take so long.
My case is still “in review”, and they told me on Friday that it could take another 60 days!
Meanwhile, the ache in my muscle is deep and constant, and worrying. I think about it all the time. Sometimes I feel like throwing up. I wake up in the night and ache and worry. Worry that my body will never heal and the pain will grow worse and be with me forever. Constant pain is making me nutty, anxious. I wonder if the doctor at the University of Pittsburgh requires pre-authorization. Perhaps she could do the surgery sooner. I wonder if I could pay for the surgery out of our savings, and then get the insurance company to reimburse us.
This is what is called insurance company managed healthcare.
I wonder why implant pain is not treated like other pain? If I have a tooth ache, I can go to the dentist the same day and get relief. Why is pain from implants different? It seems that my surgery is considered “cosmetic”, and for that reason it must be reviewed first. But what’s cosmetic about getting an implant out and being left with an empty and concave half of a chest? Back in April when I actually had surgery scheduled (before the provider found out that I needed authorization first) I had to get some pre-op work from my primary care physician – an EKG and a blood test. The office called to tell me that I would need to pay for this ($270) ahead of time because it would not be covered by insurance. I asked if it couldn’t be applied to my deductible and she said no because the surgery was “elective”. Why is it considered elective? Well, she said, since you elected to have the implants put in, taking them out is elective as well.
Yeah, right. They think that this is a boob job that I got tired of.
Five years ago I had a breast removed because of cancer, then a silicon implant put in before I even realized what had happened. I’ve been hurting ever since.
I’m getting desperate and nutty.
Last night, in my pain and worry, I began to think about a Haitian woman I had read about after the earthquake. This woman had been a dancer and had lost her legs. She was being fitted with prosthetic legs. I wondered about this beautiful woman, and how she managed her pain and the loss of her legs. I wondered if she danced with her prosthetic legs.
As I wondered about her, I began to imagine her – beautiful, silent, dancing in a new way without her legs. I imagined her dark eyes, her breasts, her blue patterned skirt and wrap. I imagined her so much that she became real in side of me, and I was able to fall asleep.
Today, as I was wondering how I would make it through the coming days of more waiting, this woman I imagined (or think I imagined) came to me again with the words “I can help you”.