Six years ago, when I was diagnosed with late-stage appendix cancer, rushed into surgery, and given months to live. The Chief Oncologist said, "There is no treatment for your disease. And, even if there were, they wouldn't pay for it."
Thus was the Insurance Warrior born.
Over the past five years, I have written and fought twenty-eight insurance appeals for the one curative treatment for appendix cancer -- cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). In the process, I have accumulated file cabinets and flash drives full of science, proof, information about this unusual cancer, which is so often misdiagnosed, mistreated, and misunderstood.
I have added this new page to my website as of January 2011, to begin to share what I know.
Radiologists all over the United States consistently mis-read scans for appendix cancer. Women are misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer, men are misdiagnosed with hernias or gall bladder problems. We are told that there is "no evidence of disease" -- have a belly full of cancer.
When I was finally able to switch from my HMO and start with a new radiologist, I put together a package to teach them about my disease, and about how to read my scans. I enclosed the visit report with my expert surgeon and my operative report. I also included articles by Dr. Sugarbaker appendix cancer in general and about CT scans and appendix cancer, and an email which I received in 2006 from George -- a radiologist who had appendix cancer. The email from George is particularly interesting to radiologists, as he is one of them.
The new radiologists did a fairly good job of reading my scans. I have posted a copy of the package that I used to teach my radiologists, so that you can do the same.