Well, I’m still not ON the drugs. I’d expected it this week (because last week the doctor told me to expect it this week). But when you are taking a relatively new, hard core cancer drug, there are papers to file and bureaucratic procedures.
First, there’s insurance. I have insurance through Quebec, but private insurance through McGill. As I understand it, if you have private insurance, the province requires the private insurer to cover things like cancer drugs first. There was a form to fill out, which I submitted, and my oncologist, Dr. T. (I guess I’m going to need to give these people names), told me that they can’t refuse me coverage. Whether it’ll be 100% or somewhat less, I don’t know.
Then there’s getting the drug. This isn’t the kind of thing that’s in stock at the corner pharmacy. I was referred to a company called Eisai. They appear to be some kind of medical intermediary business that helps drug companies get their drugs approved in various countries (Canada being one of them), and at the same time provides a set of patient services. I have a nurse, who I’ll name Nurse H., and a pharmacist. They will deliver me the drug and a blood pressure monitor. They were the ones that sent me the glossy patient pamphlet as well. I actually appreciate the level of service, and it’ll be nice to be able to get through to a nurse if I have questions about side effects, etc. I can also email my oncologist but he’s constantly assaulted by demands on his attention, so the nurse is a better first call.
Then there’s the cost of the drug. The form I completed for Manulife, my insurer, lists the price at $2500CAD a month. Nurse H. said $5000CAD, and someone on my Facebook group (more on that in a future post) said in the US it’s over $22,000US a month. I think the stratospheric cost is what probably triggers this level of bureaucracy. I’m sure it’s also why I get a personal nurse who checks in on me, but for that level of cost, I’ll take it.
In the meantime, I’m in this weird space, sort of waiting for the next thing to happen. Maybe it’ll be next week. I am writing, reading, seeing people, playing music, and getting my modular synth ready for a big project that I hope to do while I’m getting settled on the drugs. Every time I’ve gone through something like this, I have found signal processing to be strangely meditative and centering. As is writing.