The hard choices – pay or wait


I have decided to pay $615 for an MRCP (Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography), an MRI of my liver, rather than wait another week and pay $250.

One company bulk bills, the other does not.  That’s a difference of $365.  That’s about what I need to spend on one of my kids Christmas presents.  That’s a lot of money.

But it’s the 30th of November. I am in a lot of pain.  My liver is in trouble.  Right now I am only on prednisone (12.5mg, not enough) and plaquenil (tic tacs) and I am in full body megaflare.  Not to mention the liver pain and symptoms.

I started taking Naprosyn again, an NSAID and it helps.  I don’t know if its coincidence though, but my BP was 156/85 this morning, and I had a bout of tachycardia where my heart spiked at 146bpm.  Uncomfortable.  I should probably stop the Naprosyn, to be safe.

I can’t start or restart any RA medications until I know what’s going on with my liver.  If the MRCP results are good, and show a blockage, or stones in the bile ducts, or anything that proves that Xeljanz did not cause my liver enzymes to become so drastically elevated (as my rheumatologist believes) then I can start Xeljanz again.  It will take about two weeks and I will start to feel better.

So count it out.  A week for the MRI results to get to my rheumatologist.   A few days for me to make contact with her, and I can start Xeljanz again. It will have time to kick in before Christmas and I might be off the couch.

Wait another week, and she will probably be on Christmas leave.  I will be bedridden throughout Christmas, New Year, and beyond.  She usually takes January off, lots of doctors seem to.  I’ll be looking at February before things improve.

That is unbearable. I need that scan NOW.

And so I am paying $400 extra.

I haven’t bought clothes in years.  I’m lucky I’ve lost some weight and can fit into some old clothes now.  I haven’t bought shoes, I really need some.  I buy coffees very occasionally, my budget doesn’t allow for that.  I don’t buy magazines, snacks, all those little incidentals that add up.  We rarely do takeout.

I live on a fixed income and it’s not a big income.  I have money tied up in assets, so I’m drawing some down to get through Christmas.  Those resources are finite. They have to last me the rest of my life.  At this point I figure I’m screwed anyway, so I may as well be screwed a little more, and get my scan.

I’m not getting the watch I wanted. That costs $400, just for the irony factor.  Almost exactly the same as the extra I’m paying for the scan.  Something I’ve wanted for a long time, and waited for, for a long time.  Not getting it. Getting a scan instead.

Like the holiday I didn’t’ take, because I had to pay for surgery instead. Insult to injury being that the surgery wasn’t that successful. As my orthopod advised, the ulna nerves were too far gone. I had to try though.

And that’s how it goes.  Whenever there is a little money and even when there is not, I have to spend it on a surgery or a scan or a test. On trying to stay or get myself upright, or reduce my pain levels, or deal with organ damage.  It’s a constant fight, and I feel like it’s a lose/lose.

Of course if the scan does show a mass, or a blockage, or stones in the bile ducts, I will need surgery.  Soon.  I can’t even think about the full implications of that.  Don’t want to.

And if the scan is clear, I’ll need a biopsy. That’s not a big deal, but it’s all time consuming. More time off medication, more waiting for results, more time on the couch, time in pain.  Time spent waiting.

So I’ve made my choice, and I have decided to pay the dollars.  It’s the only choice that has a possible Happy Christmas in there somewhere, so I’m going to run with that.


  1. I hope things work out for you and you get that Happy Christmas,less pain will be the best present of all for you. Take care and good luck,sending you healthy wishes xx

  2. Hey Neen, Here is an oldie but goodie…..Remember when we use to work!!!! HOw did we pull it off for so long in so much pain. IT’s got to get better. Love, Tina

  3. Good choice. If I was in pain and my doctor was gone with no one else around I might tear something important up. Oh, that sounds awful.

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of November 28, 2016


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