Duke Lemur Center / Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic today

Duke Lemur CenterMonica and I got to go to the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC today for business.  It was great!  I took some pictures through the fences with my iPhone camera, and this was the best of them. I’m afraid I can’t tell you what type of lemur this is, but I’ll find out.

Just before the meeting at the Lemur Center, I had a checkup at the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic.  I’ll have the results of my tests on Wednesday.   It’s been almost two years since I had a skeletal survey, so I scheduled that for September.  The skeletal survey is a series of xrays of the long bones, skull and ribs and spine. I asked about a recent report I read that suggests that PET scans should be used for monitoring myeloma.  My doctor does those if there’s activity such as an increasing m-spike and nothing shows up on xrays.  The PET can show plasmacytomas and other activity.

I’ve been told that standard radiographs aren’t much good at detecting bone damage until there’s been a significant amount of destruction, so it’s not a good early warning indicator. I’d like to have a PET scan just to see what’s lurking.  I know they’re expensive.  A few years ago I called around to get the costs at various places  because I wanted one, but was told by my insurance company that they weren’t covered for myeloma. At the time, the cheapest PET scan I could find was about $3,000.

Did you know you can do that?  If you’re not insured, or your coverage isn’t very good, call around to see who has the best deals on tests or procedures.  The costs can vary quite significantly between institutions.  Another money-saving tactic is to find out what’s covered under what setting.  For example, my insurance has me pay 20% of services performed in hospitals.  That’s why I have most of my chemo and all of my Zometa infused at a nearby doctor’s office.  When I do that, it’s just a $30 copay. Investigate all of your options!

5 Comments

  1. LaCootina

    FWIW…my (private) health insurance company turned me down 3 times for the PET scan. The 4th time they finally agreed. I guess it’s all in how you word the request, and the more questions you ask, the more clues they will give you as to what the magic words are. My doc had to convince them it was necessary, and the information they needed could not be gleaned from an MRI or CT scan. Just like the location “game” you mentioned… except they are playing with our lives. :( Good luck! –The Coot

    • Beth

      I think that because my MM shows up quite well in blood tests, they hesitate to use the more expensive diagnostics. I really would like to see where it’s lurking, but maybe it’s better not to know, since I don’t have any symptoms. I haven’t tried getting approval in the last 3 years or so. Things might be different now.

  2. Maya

    I believe that the lemur in your photograph was the star of the PBS children’s show, Zoboomafoo, filmed at the Duke Lemur Center during the late 90’s / early 2000s (and still running in syndication today). That would be Jovian, a Coquerel’s Sifaka lemur. Nice photo.

    • Beth

      I didn’t know that! I’ll be sure to post any more pictures I get. I expect to be visiting again. We were there a few weeks ago, but didn’t get a chance to visit the lemurs. Anyone walking into the facility (where the lemurs live) must wear a surgical mask at this time. It’s to protect the lemurs from the transmission of flu from human to lemur. I don’t think it’s known for sure if they can catch it from us, but they want to be extra careful!

  3. Adrian

    Beth, you initiative is very good because you can make available for people these info about nature and wild animals protection. The lemurs must be protected.

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