One of the worst side effects from my chemo has been the worsening neuropathy in my hands and feet. The oncologist has increased my Neurontin on a weekly basis because with each Taxol treatment (I get 2 of these wonderful treatments during each cycle) it gets worse.
Here is how the neuropathy has presented itself: my hands and feet are constantly numb and tingly. Sometimes they are ice cold, forcing me to sleep with gloves on and a heating pad wrapped around my hands. There is spontaneous swelling in both my hands and feet. This requires me to take my shoes and rings off. Often my fingers don't work, making it difficult to type (which is a requirement of my job) and sometimes it feels like there is a rock attached to the bottom of my feet, making it difficult to walk.
The nurse at the oncologist's office and many other cancer patients have suggested acupuncture to both relieve the symptoms and help prevent long term damage to my nerves. I started the process of getting a referral to an acupuncturist over 2 weeks ago. It has required multiple phone calls to my primary care physician (PCP) and the referral department at DuPage Medical Group. This morning I received a message that the referral had been denied, because the medical director didn't think the treatment was "indicated." I was told to call my PCP to find out more. A call to her office revealed nothing. As the patient, I cannot appeal the medical director's decision, my PCP has to do that; it's called a "peer to peer appeal."
To get the process started, I scheduled another appointment with my PCP this afternoon after work. Of course that means another co-pay. I am grateful to have the medical insurance I have, but I am beginning to feel like going forward, because of the amount I have already "cost them," I am going to run into road blocks every time I need to see a specialist for something.
I cannot express how angry and frustrated I am. I personally suspect the issue is that there is not acupuncturist affiliated with DuPage Medical Group.