Tuesday, September 21, 2010

36 Hours and Counting

I'm 36 hours away from my appointment with the genetic counselor.  I've been reading and preparing for weeks and I can't come up with a single question to ask and I feel so unprepared.  I know I've read and researched a lot, and I mean a lot, since my NP called me on August 7th to recommend I make this appointment, but how do I of all people draw a blank?  I'm not a quiet person, especially not as a patient.  I am probably on the total opposite side of the spectrum, borderline obnoxious, when it comes to knowing everything, and I mean everything, a doctor is doing.  It's my health and body damn it and I will not apologize nor am I ashamed that I am a nosey patient.

So, why oh why, am I staring at a blank pad of paper, mind empty? 

According to the hospitals genetic center this is what I am to expect:

At the time of scheduling the appointment for the first visit, a second consult appointment will be schedule to review the test results. During the patients initial visit to the clinic, a genetic counselor will include a review of the personal and family medical history, a discussion of the role genes play in the development of cancer, and basic genetic concepts. A personalized risk assessment for hereditary cancer, a description of the genetic testing process, as well as information about cancer risk reduction and prevention strategies are discussed in detail. The family history is carefully assessed and the risk of carrying a mutation is determined and fully discussed.

Most health insurance plans pay for these tests, but not all do. We will help with the preauthorization process and determine the level of insurance coverage for testing. If you have an HMO insurance, it is your responsibility to obtain a referral for genetic testing prior to our ability to check with your insurance.

An appointment with the Cancer Genetics Program consists of a consult with both a genetic counselor and physician, and possibly a blood draw, if testing is pursued. There is no need to fast prior to the blood draw. The initial consult lasts around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the questions that arise. Most, but not all, insurances cover the cost of this office visit.

Test results are available in two to five weeks (depending on the test(s) ordered). Results will be discussed in details at the follow up appointment (we give test results in person, and not over the telephone). We then have a thorough discussion about future management recommendations and risk reduction strategies, as well as family dynamics.

Ah well, here's to October 28th - ish!

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