For the past 10+ years I have been living with the belief Mantle Cell Lymphoma would be the likely cause of my demise. It became even more evident two years ago, when I decided to retire, due to some limitations as a result of my MCL. So never did it cross my mind, during that time, I would develop other health issues that could potentially be worse.
But then 2012 happened. First it was a diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma in May, which put a crack in that belief, and now a diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD), with 90% blockage of the main left coronary artery, and the necessity for bypass surgery, has shattered it.
On the surface that might not sound so bad. The condition was found early enough, and it can be corrected. Right?
Well, not exactly. It becomes much more complicated when you have another underlying condition (Mantle Cell Lymphoma), and your health insurance/care is through the Veterans Administration (VA).
I was told by the attending cardiologist, as he was describing my condition to me, there is a high probability, the doctors at the VA in west LA may not approve bypass surgery, because of my lymphoma, and if I had Medicare or other health insurance (which I do not), I should seek it out.
Bummer! Talk about bad news!
Fortunately, it didn’t end there. The cardiologist went to discuss my situation with the other [older] attending cardiologist, and after considering what I would hopefully assume was my age and physical condition, it was decided they would refer me to the West LA VA for bypass surgery anyway.
So now it’s just a waiting game. I know I’ve always believed in the VA health care model, where doctors are motivated less by profit, and more by what is best for the patient, but when you appear to be on the wrong end of a situation, your perspective can certainly change.
I would just hope that my age, physical conditioning and having lived nearly 11 years with a diagnosis of MCL, without requiring any treatment, would lean that final decision a lot in my favor.