I created Stage 4 Living months ago and have avoided asking for donations. I just wanted a way to share the fruits of my search for knowledge that has helped me in my quest to manage my wife’s stage 4 cancer and help her live as long as possible with the best possible quality of life.
I was sole caregiver of my mother for six years as she slowly expired from alzheimer’s (in Oct. 2009). About a month after her burial my wife was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer (which later evolved into stage 4 breast cancer). We’ve travelled six times to the Philippines for her treatment, once to Good Samaritan Hospital in LA for a PET scan and once to The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in Skokie, Illinois.
Her treatment has slowly progressed to more expensive medications. One of her last ones (Lepatanib aka Tykerb) cost $11,000 a bottle of 120 tablets (about a month’s supply). Fortunately she had private insurance at the time. Her next line of defense (Perjeta) is supposed to be as or more expensive. (The local nonprofit we deal with has been trying unsuccessfully for about a year to get the drug on island.)
My wife lost her COBRA coverage the end of September of this year (2013). (Under federal law COBRA allows a person who has lost their job to continue their private insurance coverage for up to 18 months, but they must cover the total cost of the premium.)
With the loss of COBRA coverage she only has Medicare which only covers 80% of whatever procedures they decide to cover. We must cover the remaining 20 percent and 100 percent of any non-covered procedures or medications. 20 percent of a flu shot is no big deal. But 20 percent of the cost of chemo drugs can be immense.
We have two fundraising purposes:
1. To help cover expenses not covered by Medicare.
2. If we are somehow able to raise enough funds I would like to take my wife back to The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment for the following reasons.
Getting access to current conventional treatment can be difficult on Guam. A local nonprofit organizatio has unsuccessfully been trying to get access to a chemo drug which one of oncologists prescribed for her (Perjeta) for over a year. Her local oncologist told me that this drug is her “last line of defence” (i.e. once the illness adapts to it–which it eventually will–he knows of no options beyond it. An oncologist at The Block Center (during our visit April 2013) reviewed the ream of medical records I sent them and said there are other options available to us.
Access to integrative treatment (conventional treatment plus science based nutrition and lifestyle as advocated by Dr. Block in his excellent book, Life Over Cancer) is limited to whatever the patient can learn about through self study and put into practice on their own. Regular monitoring of my wife’s illness by professionals trained in integrative treatment as advocated by Dr. Block would ideally done at their facility (although my wife’s condition has improved remarkably with just putting into practice the strategies we learned from Dr. Block’s book and a brief two week visit to The Block Center for blood tests to identify any nutritional deficiencies we should address).
If we had the resources we would have stayed longer at Skokie, Illinois and had my wife go through the full range of integrative treatment (conventional and science based nutritional treatment) there. We are doing the best we can, where we are, with what we have.
Soon, I’ll have a link on this page to an online fundraising site. If you would like to help please visit again soon.