starless (starless) wrote,

Return to Anchorage?

Here's a little story:

When I was working for Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, every show I built I had to build so that it was portable and we could move it to Anchorage. I went back and forth between Anchorage and Juneau every month or so, but because money was so tight at PT, we would stay with volunteers. People with an extra bedroom would donate it to the theater so that we would have a place to stay for load-in, load-out, and the run of the show, if necessary.

That's how I met Bill and Charlotte Clark. I stayed with them for about a week, and in that time we discovered things about each other: namely, that I have bladder cancer, and that Bill is a urologist. And he's not just an urologist, he founded a clinic in Anchorage just for treating bladder cancer. Apparently, it's on par with the Mayo Clinic in terms of staff and technology. He conducts a lot of research studies and clinical trials there.

So, when I finally realized that there was no way I was going to get treatment before January of 2019, thanks to "healthcare reform," I lost hope. I had been trying every avenue I could find to try to get insurance coverage or financial assistance so that I could return to my maintenance treatments before surgery was required again. It wasn't happening. I'd already been through this before and the time lapsed between treatments which had produced 50+ tumors (and required more surgery) would be about the same as the time since my last treatment and next January.

Then, Charlotte accidentally texted me. It obviously wasn't intended for me, so I texted back...

and then remembered who the Clarks are. I'd kept in touch; I sent them Holiday cards, etc, but I hadn't really *spoken* to them since they shared their house with me.

Fast forward to today and my medical records have been sent to Bill's clinic. When I was talking to him on the phone it sounded like I am a good candidate for a research study he's conducting about failed BCG treatment.

The summary: I'll just have to pay for my plane ticket to and from Anchorage and an extended stay there. I won't have to pay for treatment, and not only will I receive BCG, but also a regimen of alternative treatments to supplement it. This means I'll be receiving treatment with the goal of *curing* the bladder cancer instead of just keeping tumors away.

It's not good news, yet. I'm still waiting to see if I qualify for the study, but in Dr Clark's words "that's failed BCG if I've ever seen it."
Tags: alaska, anchorage, bladder cancer, cancer, treatment
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