Fight Like a Girl!!!

Where do I begin… First off, I chose this picture for my blog because this picture brought so much laughter that we all had tears in our eyes… I’m the fat one on the left, the one in the middle is my cousin Debbie, and the one that’s barely in the picture is my cousin Laura… We had just finished eating at Lucky’s and decided to take a selfie to remember the great time we had. As you can tell, none of us knew how to take a selfie. We must have taken about 10 pictures and believe it or not this was one of the best ones… We laughed so hard while we were taking these pictures and that is why I love being with these two ladies… Our family calls us the 3 Stooges!!!

Now on to the reason I’m writing this blog. In January 2016 it was discovered that I had a 99% blocked carotid artery. Due to having to receive my medical treatment at the Ann Arbor VA, the nightmare began… My family came to my rescue and stood by my bedside. My sister in law Terry, my brother Mark, my sister Ranae, and my niece Kerri… Thank God I have the family I have… 

One of the vascular doctors explained that since my symptoms of a TIA (mini stroke) were on my left side and the carotid artery that was blocked was also on my left that it wasn’t urgent that they do any type of surgery or other procedures. At that point I asked the doctor, which was a Fellow from the University of Michigan Medical Center, “If this was your mother laying in this bed would you be telling her the same thing?” I knew what his answer would be but never thought in a million years he would actually say the words out loud… Well I was wrong. He looked at me and said, “Well you have to understand that this is the VA!!!” For those of you that know me, you know that even though I was laying down, I didn’t take what he said laying down!!! I basically reamed him a new one… That didn’t change his mind but it sure made me feel better. 

I was sent home and basically told to have a nice life… I tried to get the VA to send me to a civilian doctor for a 2nd opinion, but because I’m just a veteran and the loopholes that are written into “The Choice Program,” I couldn’t get authorization… Instead my records were sent to the Detroit VA and they concurred with the Ann Arbor VA…

Once again being who I am I wasn’t satisfied with that outcome but I didn’t have any other options…

March of 2016 I ended up going by ambulance to Genesys because I was having a stroke… The vascular doctor there wanted to do surgery but because they couldn’t get the VA to authorize it, after 3 days in the ICU I was sent home. I received a call from the VA a couple of days later and they scheduled me to have a stent put in…

The procedure was another nightmare. As they were wheeling me to the OR I reminded them that I still had not received any kind of sedative. They assured me that I would receive that in the OR… 

In the OR I patiently waited while they prepped me and when the Fellow said, “This will probably hurt because I have to punch a hole in your groin area in order to do the procedure!!!” I immediately said, “Hey wait a minute, they haven’t given me a sedative yet!!!” I then heard a guy behind me tell the doctor to hold on and he’d get me something… Well being that “This is the VA,” the Fellow didn’t wait and proceeded to punch the hole in my groin… He continued with the procedure and after several attempts of trying to find the right stent for my artery, they had to stop because they didn’t have the right size stent… I was sent home and told to continue to take my medication and have a nice life… 

Because one of my Aunts and a dear former junior high teacher of mine sent me money, I was able to go to the Michigan Vascular Center in Flint for a 2nd opinion. The doctor there didn’t understand why the VA wouldn’t do anything… He wanted to schedule surgery immediately… Due to the fact that I didn’t have any other insurance besides the VA or thousands of dollars to pay for the surgery I needed, I once again attempted to go through the Choice Program and once again I was denied. 

I ended up being able to go through the Choice Program because the Detroit VA was unable to get me an appointment within 30 days. I immediately made an appointment at the Michigan Vascular Center.

In August 2016, pre-surgery tests were ordered and one of them was a simple chest X-ray. On that X-ray they saw a spot in my right lung. I then had a CT scan and then a PET scan… In the PET scan I was lighting up like a Christmas tree. 

My lung, thyroid, abdominal area, and my left breast were all lighting up. I ended up having a partial mastectomy… I tried to talk the surgeon at Karmano’s into just cutting the whole thing off cause I told him I could lose 50 lbs that way… He didn’t go for my idea. Lol

Next I had an ultrasound done on my thyroid and supposedly that was ok. My lung has a nodule in it so they set me up for a biopsy. They were unable to get to the area where the nodule is so they just wanted to watch it for a couple of months. 

When I and Terry, my sister in law, asked them what they planned on doing about my abdominal area lighting up, they said that was just my Metformin medication that was making that area light up and that nothing further needed to be done about it. 

In December 2016, I had another CT scan for my lung. At that time they decided they would do surgery in January 2017 to remove my right middle lobe in my lung… I was scheduled for a PET scan on January 4th and surgery on January 18th. After the PET scan they canceled the surgery because they said my lung nodule had shrunk… I and my family were elated… The surgeon said I would have another PET scan in 6 months. 

In July 2017, another PET scan was done and the surgeon wanted to wait another 6 months… I told him no, that I wanted that nodule out of me!!! Because I had already planned a trip to Nashville to meet up with some old Air Force friends it was decided that I would have my surgery in November. 

November 1st I had another scan and the next day I received a call from the VA surgeons nurse and she told me my lung surgery was canceled because the scan showed I have a mass in my abdominal area!!! Imagine that!!!

Now that I made it to the reason I started this blog, I’m going to stop here and continue my story another day… Don’t worry, I’ll be back cause this gets way better, and I don’t mean better as in good, I mean better as in bizarre and life changing!!!


3 thoughts on “Fight Like a Girl!!!”

  1. Good job Kindra! As a fellow Veteran, the care I receive is questionable for sure. I am so glad that you did this! I can’t wait to read more!

  2. Woohoo! I made it in here! My FRIEND, GIRLKindra, always pushing….has pushed ME to my first blog post.
    F****** VA! It is really pissing me off AGAIN.
    I can see my old Dad just smilin’ and saying, “Yea! Good for YOU, KINDRA STARR FUNCH! Give ’em HELL!”

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