How do you get ‘state-of-the-art’ cancer treatment if you are not a former President of the United States? We know that cancer is an equal opportunity destroyer, and all treatments are NOT created equal! This is the story of how I was able to advocate for a family member and win her a chance at the immunotherapy table. The facts are altered to protect the identities only. The story is real. Too real.
IF YOU WANT TO LIVE THROUGH CANCER, YOU MAY HAVE TO FIND TREATMENTS THAT ARE OFF YOUR INSURANCE PROTOCOLS
When I received the email that my family member (FM) needed my opinion, I was shocked. This FM is not the kind to reach out for help unless there is a dire need. So, I responded quickly and asked what was happening. Her husband was fighting metastatic bladder cancer and though originally slated to enter a trial of immunotherapy, was now offered a Palliative Care or Hospice Plan. What had gone wrong?
He had received the news of his cancer return and gone through a series of tests. You know, CT, MRI, all the alphabet soup tests that cancer patients know so well. Then, to be accepted for the trial, all the same tests had to be redone and within that precious month of re-testing, the cancer had gotten a strong foothold across his lungs and neck. The vocal chords being squeezed of sound and a stent was inserted to hold open the crushing pursuit of his windpipe. Then, disaster struck: pneumonia set in and he was hospitalized. Somewhere in the mix, treatment plans had been changed and now the immunotherapy was a distant dream. Chemotherapy and radiation were given. Chemo, that had a 6%, yes, six percent chance of working. Somewhere in there two treatments , that didn’t work, and added to the misery! Results were damaging to his whole body and he weighted in as a child, under 100 pounds. His life force was hanging by a thread.