The Mastectomy and Reconstruction
Feb 28 – So yesterday has literally just finished and I am wide awake once again only this time I am one breast less. The mastectomy and reconstruction was this morning. It was touch and go as to whether it was going to proceed as we had been stuck in traffic and got to the hospital later than requested but it did. The team who operated on me at Princess Margaret hospital were great and Gabby, the nurse who took care of me after was brilliant. So, thank you to you all for the incredible work you carry out and a special thank you to my consultant for the patience and ease with which he has dealt with me, my family and friends.
Okay, how am I really? Well, I’m awake not because I’m in pain but because somebody inserted some Duracell batteries into me and they won’t seem to run out. I was initially told that I would be given a sleeping tablet which I was looking forward to but this was not the case. I slept for about an hour from 11 p.m. but then I was wide awake. I am incredibly surprised that I have been given paracetamols for pain relief and that these have dealt with the pain sufficiently. I am sore around the area, just above my ribs and if I stretch the right arm or when I move but otherwise I am as well as can be expected. So much so that my daughter told me that I had lured them here under false pretenses, that I didn’t really have cancer but instead I was having a boob job. Ah if only.
I have a drain attached to me, which is a tube going from my back into a bottle that allows fluid from inside the breast to drain. I have a bandaged right area and I have a very dry throat from where the tube was inserted in to me during the operation, so I have been drinking a lot of water. I wish I had thought about it and bought some sweets or even had some honey to coat the throat to help with this but too late now. I was told by the consultant to push myself to get up and about and increase blood circulation to aid recovery, so I have been up and about. Some dear friends came to visit this evening and we walked down to the restaurant and chatted there for a while and then I walked back but this time taking the stairs. I am having to wear these in-flight socks which are making my feet and legs hot however at least they are not cold and I have a needle in my right hand which is somewhat sore and uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong and please don’t think that I haven’t been upset about the whole procedure. I cried this morning whilst writing an e-mail to a friend. I cried telling my children how proud I am of them and what they have achieved and what to do should something happen to me. Tears in this situation are inevitable and when they come I let them take over for those moments and then I return to reality.
A few weeks ago, when this all started I told you all about the private health insurance policy I took out in December 2017. The policy is with Health online and I was sold the policy based on its flexibility and that I could access health care at any hospital across the country to suit my needs. However, when this process started lone behold Health online informed me they would only cover the full cost of my treatment at their preferred hospitals. If I was treated at another location then they would only cover 60% of the treatment. Not something I was told when I took out the policy. I relayed this to them when I was first referred to my consultant and Health online confirmed they would cover the full cost of the consultation and tests at the alternative location given the consultant was also a named consultant at the preferred hospital. Well can you believe I received a message yesterday from Health online informing me they would only cover 60% of that consultation. This followed a very lengthy conversation with Health online concerning cover of the claim itself less than 24 hours of surgery. In the morning, I was told by the hospital that I would have to pay a deposit of £13k because the insurers had not confirmed they would be covering the claim. Health online then told my daughter they required confirmation from my doctor of when the diagnosis took place and they had sent me a message requesting this information. Can you believe they had only sent me a message requesting this information on the 26 February 18. They had received the requested information from my GP on the 15 February 18 and it took them over 10 days to request any additional information from me, not to mention the audacity to say to my daughter that they had messaged me requesting the additional information, implying the request had been made some time ago and I had ignored it. Because of this my daughter was extremely distressed and upset at a time when she is having to be the responsible adult in this family and that is a lot of pressure. At no point have Health online contacted me since this process started to discuss the claim or the requirement for any additional information. I then spent over an hour on the phone with Health online trying to resolve this situation on a day where that hour should have been spent with my family and stress free. Whilst the adviser did her upmost to resolve this for me I was still sent a message by Health online that I refer to above. I am at a loss as to how these companies manage to behave in this appalling manner at a time when people most require support and empathy not to mention miss-selling policies. I will be requesting recordings of all my telephone conversations with Health online and the sales representative in December and challenging the decision to only pay 60% of the initial consultation. I will also hold the company accountable for their behavior throughout this process by publicizing their practices. I really did not need this a day before surgery just like I really didn’t need breast cancer to come and interrupt my life but these things happen!
Please follow me on twitter Harjit Gill
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