Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Circled on the Calendar

I have learned that scheduling a surgery like this takes several steps.  I knew it would, but I am learning just exactly what that means.  First, we had XRays, then met with the neurosurgeon, then the CT Scan, then wait five weeks and see the cranial facial surgeon, then wait three weeks for the insurance to get authorized, then wait 8 days to hear from the scheduler, then wait four weeks for surgery.  Early in this process, things moved at a lightening pace.  Thankfully.  That was, by far, the most scary time yet and we were so glad to have our questions answered quickly and more serious conditions ruled out-- but following an otherwise "clean" CT scan and with an otherwise healthy baby (thank you Lord)-- and the waiting game began.

Insurance Authorization: After seeing the cranial facial surgeon in early May we waited two weeks for him to submit it to insurance.  This is not considered "cosmetic" but is considered "elective."  As you might know, all surgeries except for the ones in the ER are considered "elective".  And due to the financials of this surgery, and because submitting to insurance has become "routine" for most doctors, our surgeons prepared paperwork and pictures for our insurance.  They said it has been "rejected" once in all their years, and that was easily reversed.  But still, this was a necessary step.  I believe God did a miracle in that once the paperwork got to insurance, it got authed in ONE DAY.  Sometimes this step takes three or four weeks or longer, and I am so thankful we didn't have to keep waiting. 

I called 10 days after our appointment and the staff said our paperwork had not even gotten submitted yet.  I was so angry, and really acted in a way that I was not proud of.  I was so frustrated.  I cried so much that, completely exhausted, I canceled my plans for the night and threw my hands up in desperation.  (Well, after I used them to text everyone with a keyboard about my frustration :)  I surrendered to God, and four days later we had our authorization.  Thanks, God.

Scheduling: Today I was mindlessly switching laundry, with my head in the dryer, when I answered my phone and -- low and behold-- it was the surgeon's scheduler.  She apologized for the delay, and explained the difficulty of scheduling both surgeons and an operating room.  Etc, etc, and she has it scheduled for nine weeks from today, July 31st.  I managed to keep my head about me and explained that I have the summer off and had been led to believe that the surgery would be much sooner-- would she please talk to the surgeons to reconsider.  She said she would call back.  Sure enough, she called back and the day is circled on our calendar-- Wednesday, June 27th.  So there we have it.  So thrilled to hopefully have it done with plenty of time to help Tucker recover before students come back to NCC.  And, we are ready to be "on the other side" of this surgery.  We are ready for the waiting and anticipation to be over.

I'm excited to getting back to the work of being a mom, and not worrying about schedulers, insurance, appointments, etc for awhile.  We will have a pre-op physical with our pediatrician a week before the surgery, some blood work before it, and probably other stuff I don't even know about yet.  For now, we are thanking God for helping us get to here and we are trying to take it one step at a time-- knowing that it is a big part of our lives, but not our entire life!

I am also GIVING THANKS for:
*  Gods peace and genuinely low anxiety.  I am thankful for a sure understanding that God is real, that he loves Tucker, and that He is good.
*  The way this has worked out in scheduling-- we are trusting in Gods timing and trusting that He opened the doors to have this sooner rather than later.  For flexible work, and for the peace of mind knowing I have all of July off to help Tucker recover for as long as we all need.
* That our insurance was authed so quickly.
* That this surgery will take place around the 6 month mark.
* My three boys-- they are each totally wonderful.  Tucker has become a real joy.  Dave and I laughed that we have always loved him... and we're starting to like him, too :)
* A few wonderful "Cranio Moms" I have met.  Katy's son had this surgery in November at Children's and she has been nothing short of fantastic, willing, helpful and empathetic.  Holly is in the exact same shoes as me (as in she got her surgery date today, too).  Together, these ladies have helped me remember that I am not alone.  I have met other families with children who had this procedure six or seven or more years ago-- such a blessing.  Thank you to each of you who have helped us get connected to others.  I am also following another local blogger whose daughter just successfully had this procedure here at Children's.

Thank you for your prayers.  We are praying for a peaceful, healthy month!

On the journey,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quick 5

A truly quick "Quick Five."
1.  Boy, these (housing) interest rates are LOW.  Has me thinking all kinds of things.  Problem is, taxes are still so dang HIGH.
2.  My baby is 6 months old? How did that happen?
3.  Still no news from the surgeon.  I am trying not to think negative thoughts about his character and integrity as we wait for him to write a letter so our insurance can approve this and we can schedule it.
4.  Looking forward to the Stormchasers game Saturday night.
5.  This weekend is my Mother's Day.  Last Sunday felt too much like exhausting work, so Dave agreed that we could celebrate this weekend.  I'm picking Saturday.  And I'm going to eat donuts and feel not one ounce guilty :)
Happy Weekend, Friends!
On the Journey,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quick Update

Harass Cranial-Facial Surgeon's staff?  Check.

The sweet assistant to our Cranial-Facial Surgeon, Colleen, has been "helping" me this week.  Mostly, she has been tolerating my harassment :)  We talked Monday, and today, and both days the news was the same-- no letter from the surgeon yet to even send to insurance.  Ug.  She did say that once the letter is dictated and signed that she will follow up with insurance personally by fax or phone and maybe "help things along."  It is so frustrating for this to be so completely out of our hands, yet affect us so much.  Particularly in regards to scheduling, we would like to let Dave's employer know and rearrange some plans for the summer if we need to.  However, we know that it will eventually get done and we trust that Tucker is just fine while he waits.  And we know that God has great plans for us and that His timing is perfect.  In the mean time I find myself saying things like, "I know you're just doing your job, and I'm just trying to do my job as a Mom..."

Three other quick things:
1.  Happy 6 month birthday, Tucker.  How did you get so big?
2.  Please check out my facebook page to see how you can vote for to win the Aveeno Challenge, which is $1,000 for winning the monthly contest and up to $10,000 if they win the whole thing.  You have to vote on Aveeno's facebook page and it only takes a sec, no signing up required.
3.  A few people have asked about my sermon on Sunday.  I felt like it went just fine and got some wonderful feedback from visitors and regulars alike, and you can listen to the podcast here:  I do, however, hate the podcast.  It's so one-dimensional, but whatev, Glory to God if it somehow blesses you.  If not, just shut it off!

On the Journey,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Surgeon #2

Today, I am in just absolute awe of medical science.  What an incredible time we live in.  Today we had a 2:30 appointment with Dr. Jason Miller, a pediatric Cranial/Facial Surgeon.  Dr. Miller has made it his life's work to correct deformities in children.  He is, apparently, nationally known for his work on the jaw and is one of the only surgeons who does the Cranial Vault Reconstruction around, and the only in Omaha.  Have I mentioned how glad I am to live down the street from this hospital and medical center?  Wow.  Anyway, the appointment went on without fanfare and was, simply, simple.  We spent more time checking in then anything :)

Dr. Miller was patient, confident, well-spoken, and easily explained the surgery to David and me.  He wasn't exactly the friendliest guy on the block-- but we don't need a social butterfly, we need an exceptional surgeon!  We knew all of what he said, but it's always good to confirm your Google results with an actual doctor, you know.  When we met with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Treves, the diagnosis was still officially considered "uncertain" until after the results of the CT Scan.  So Dr. Miller was able to talk in certain terms with a bit less "if this, then this" mentality.   He did explain some details of the massive surgery, including the little fact that the skull does in fact come off the head (thank you neurosurgeon) and is reshaped by him with disposable plates and screws before being replaced and stitched up.  He said that like he was reading a children's book-- you know-- no big deal!  Ha!  We talked about risks and recovery and our hospital stay.  It was a "reality check" in some ways, but in many ways we continue to feel at such peace. 

Our big PRAISE for the appointment was that he, too, believes this is a "stand alone" case and is not associated with an underlying syndrome.  I might be ready to put that fear to rest :)

Our big PRAYER REQUEST after this appointment is scheduling the surgery.  He took pictures of Tucker's head and said he will have a letter sent to our insurance, which typically takes four weeks to totally clear.  He said he has only had one denied, and it was easily reversed, but that they still have to pre-certify and that this is the next hurdle to clear.  Then, we can schedule, which is another 2-4 weeks out, depending on schedules-- including summer vacations (the Doctors, not ours :) We would really like to have this behind us.

I have a hard time with this because I want God's timing and His will to be accomplished.  BUT I also want this surgery to happen before late July, as I go back to work the first of August.  So my plan is to be "that mom" and harass the insurance company and simultaneously pray that God's timing is achieved.  If I do all I can and God opens doors, we will walk through, but if He doesn't, we know that He is in control and sees "up stream" like we can not.  We trust Him.  He loves Tucker more than we do.  That's such a crazy thought.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.  I was overwhelmed with love and support today in the form of texts, calls, facebook messages, and my sweet students and a few co-workers even stopped to pray with me!  While you are praying over Tucker will you pray for our church services on Sunday?  That I am able to clearly communicate the Word I believe God has given me?  Thank you.

Here are a few pics before I close:

Super Cool.  We checked into the floor (after checking in twice and completing a phone interview :)
and they gave us this-- like at a restaurant.  Then it lit up and vibrated and told us which door to go to. 
Seriously, ah-mazing.

Tired from a big day!

The lobby to this Medical Center.  I am so sad that places like this have to exist, but
glad it does.

On the Journey,