Clint started his regimen of Temodar chemotherapy (in pill form) Saturday, July 26, but not before having a final HUZZAH! at the Scottish Highland Games in Enumclaw, WA! Here is a picture of Clint dressed in his Army kilt, and Felicity and me sporting our Strahan Tartans:
Clint did really well during this first week of chemo. He was up sick the first night, but was able to sleep through the nasty side effects the rest of the days he took it. I am so proud of him.
We do have a prayer request - Clint is having a decline in brain function, and we need some healing and further treatment ASAP. He is unable to concentrate, complete thoughts and tasks, register emotion, respond promptly, and verbally communicate easily. This tells me that the cancer is likely spreading, so please join me in prayer warfare.
In my last post, I listed Gamma Knife Radiosurgery as being one of the recommended courses of action for Clint, and all his doctors agreed on this option. We were referred to the University of Washington/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for this consult and procedure. After a long delay, I discovered Group Health denied this referral and was refusing to cover this option, citing that standard radiation has the same benefits as Gamma Knife, and therefore they were not open to covering Gamma Knife.
First of all, Clint already had standard radiation three and a half years ago during his first battle with this aggressive cancer. Second, he is not eligible for further standard radiation (there is a lifetime limit)! Thirdly, ALL Clint's specialists agree that Gamma Knife would be the most effective treatment at this point!!!
OH boy, you better believe that lit a wildfire. Clint is worth fighting for, he cannot fight for himself, and many of us stepped up to battle this outrageous decision to deny care. With the help of several people, including an amazing attorney I work with (Jennifer Arnold), my aunt Debbie (a physical therapist), and RN Kat in Oncology (she totally rocks), we filed an expedited appeal on the decision. My wonderful mom, upon the advice of her sister-in-law Beth, created a CHANGE petition at this link: https://www.change.org/petitions/group-health-approve-clint-side-for-gamma-knife-treatment-through-the-university-of-washington-s-radiology-oncology-department-for-glioblastoma-brain-cancer
(This link has been disconnected because we were able to claim Victory status!)
So far, we have had over 350 signatures on the petition. To my understanding, each signature sends an email to the Group Health system with a prompt to change their initial decision. This got someone's attention in the system, because I had a phone call today from Clint's amazing surgeon, who saw the petition and wanted to know what was going on! He asked me to call him next time something like this happens so he can help sway the decisions with his medical advice.
I am happy to say that after working with Clint's superb oncologist Dr. Sui and RN Kat (did I mention she totally rocks?), we had immediate results, and the appeal was APPROVED!!!!! They had 4 other specialists that have worked with Clint put in their recommendation for Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, and we have an appointment next week with UW specialists to form his treatment plan for Gamma Knife.
Two words: PRAISE GOD!!!
RN Kat has been wonderful in reminding us of our motto: Faith over Fear. This was an ultimate test. And God has granted us VICTORY.
I am so grateful for the amount of support and blessings given during this time, and I want to offer thanks to some specific people (please forgive me if I've missed anyone!). Thank you to:
- ALL of Clint's doctors and nurses who have helped handle Clint's care (Dr. Lee, Dr. Sui, Dr. Ramneantu, Dr. Mrugula, Dr. Herstein, Dr. Abdulkhader, Dr. Berry, Dr. McNabb, Dr. Nash, RN Kat, RN Kris, RN Renee, just to name a few!)
- The appeals team who compassionately reversed Group Health's referral denial
- Clint's and my family for all their love and support and prayers
- Vic and Rosie for driving us up to Seattle during Clint's surgery
- Auntie Laurie for driving us to the UW for his initial consult on treatment, and for helping us do battle when the referral number hiccup almost caused us to miss the appointment
- My supportive workplace (the Code Reviser's Office) for donated leave, the kind card and generous cash donation, help with the surprise garden, lending of some great movies and TV shows, and overall kindness to us at all times
- Everyone who pitched in (financially and physically) to build Clint's surprise garden
- My mom for taking good care of our daughter Felicity
- My sister Steph for coming over once a week to help me with tasks around the house and yard, and those who watch her kids to make that possible (Joan, Shana, Grandma)
- My Aunt Debbie for helping navigate some of the medical aspects of Clint's case
- Uncle Bret for being such a good friend to Clint and being an advocate for him
- My brother Cameron for mowing our lawn and helping with other tasks
- To my friends (church, work, and other) who have surrounded me with so much love and compassion
- All who are praying - prayers are so needed, and THEY WORK!
- To everyone who signed the Change.Org petition
- The owner of Great Western Supply for the discount on flagstone for Clint's serenity garden
- The owner of the Japanese Garden Nursery on Henderson BLVD in Lacey for helping us with plants and giving us discounts towards Clint's garden
- and last, but most certainly not least, thank you JESUS for proving yourself trustworthy and faithful over and over again.
I'll post more updates soon.