or "more www" Show this Post
trying to be too cute, I guess… but, the period from January, 2005 until March, 2012 was simply more worried watchful waiting, getting my PSA tested every 3 months with checkup appointments every 6 months.
actually, there was very little "worrying" during this period, with only a couple of blips, my PSA stayed below 1.00 for almost seven years following my radiation. Once again, we were keying on doubling times – but also had a rough target of 3.00 as the limit, before looking at other treatment options.
In December 2011, my PSA jumped to 1.28 and then by March to 2.34 – this last jump being re-checked only 9 days later at which point it was 2.68 – making the doubling time only 3 months, with our original target being a doubling period of 6 months. So, it was time to act, and the most reasonable and typical option at this point was anti-androgen therapy.
Anti-androgen or anti-testosterone therapy is just a nice way of saying "chemical castration". The treatments simply involve an injection every 3 months, so the process itself is painless (unless you don't like needles – and I think we've already established that once you get comfortable putting needles directly into certain sensitive parts of the male anatomy – a shot in the arm or butt is nothing). The price on the other hand… is NOT painless. Can you believe that a single injection costs a whopping $1,300. That equates to more than $5,000/yr. in order to let you experience being genderless.
And having been "actively retired" in 2011, I no longer had an insurance plan to cover prescriptions and I don't even know if most plans would cover this sort of thing anyway – they really don't like paying for big ticket pharmaceuticals and if there's any way to wiggle out of it – they will! In Ontario, however, there is a plan for low to middle income/retired/senior folk, that is not well advertised, nor easily navigated – called the Trillium Drug Program.
You can find it here: Trillium Drug Program and the basic premise is, your deductible is about 4% of your entire household's combined NET income. This deductible is broken into 4 quarters with the Trillium "year" beginning in August. So just as an example – let's say your family's net income was $50,000 – your deductible (what you have to pay) would be $2000 – but divided into 4 – so, $500/quarter. Therefore once you've paid $500 in drug expenses in that 3 month period (ie. Aug-Oct, Nov-Jan, Feb-Apr or May-Jul) then everything after that would be paid for by the Trillium Drug Program.
There's also a little trick to this, as you should be able to quickly figure out… taking my case as an example. Let's assume the above numbers apply (they don't, but let’s use them). My very first injection cost $1,300 – so, assume I had to pay a $500 deductible then the remaining $800 would be covered by Trillium… and so on every 3 months. BUT, let's say I arranged with my oncologist to get my first injection (ie. prescription filled and used) on August 1st. And in preparation for my 2nd injection 3 months later – I get the prescription filled on October 28th. Since both those dates fall in the 3 month Trillium quarter, not only would $800 from my first prescription be covered, but ALL $1,300 of my 2nd one. You can see how doing this in "pairings" twice a year would save you an additional $1000 in drug costs – just for your injections… not even counting all the other prescriptions your family may have filled in that quarter!
this is just a little tip, for those without drug coverage or insufficient drug coverage under other insurance plans. Not meant to be in any way "scamming" the plan – just making intelligent use of the plan's provisions for "quarterly" deductions. Obviously if this was changed to be an annual deduction, you could only "bunch up" prescription filling once instead of four times a year. Of course this is only for folks resident in Ontario and making something less than a zillion dollars a year in net income!