Organized by: Kim Bolen
This is a labor of Love for our Veterans, Military and their families. May 20, 2015 I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1975 through 1979, the majority of my time was spent at Camp Lejeune, NC with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines. I was on the enlisted side of things, attained the rank of Corporal, and received an Honorable Discharge. In February 2012 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and had a tumor successfully removed from my left kidney. This was done at the local Kaiser Permanente Hospital here in San Diego, paid for by insurance provided by my employer, the County of San Diego. That same year I decided to retire from the county after 22 years of steady employment. Each year since then I would get a CT scan at Kaiser on the anniversary of my surgery to make sure the cancer had not returned. I kept the Kaiser insurance current under the COBRA program, and they covered all of the tests. In late 2013 I received a letter from the Veterans Administration detailing the results of the investigation into the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. This letter stated that if I had been diagnosed with Kidney Cancer I would be eligible for VA health benefits. I applied in February 2014, and was finally accepted into the system in December 2014. My Kaiser insurance ran out March 31, 2015, but I was not worried, I had VA medical benefits. My first order of business was to get a CT scan scheduled, and this was done on February 2015. The results of this scan detailed an enlarged lymph node in the vicinity of my left kidney. I did not get an appointment with a primary care doctor at the VA until March 30, 2015 where I was able to discuss the results of my scan. It took the VA until May 6 to do all the additional tests needed, followed by an appointment on May 12 with an Oncologist to tell me that the cancer had returned and I needed treatment. I called the Oncology case manager the next day to schedule my treatment. This treatment consists of a drug called IL2 administered in the VA Medical Center’s ICU over a five day period, followed by five days at home recovering, with the process repeated 4 times. It is at this point that the delays with the VA medical system finally reached the breaking point. I had held my temper for 3 to 12; months, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Since May 13, I have been told there are no beds available in the ICU, I might get admitted Friday May 22nd, the doctor in charge is going to a seminar so I can’t be admitted, the case manager is going on vacation, and finally today I was told I would get a call around June 1st to tell me if I could maybe be admitted the first week of June, no promises. The case manager also told me that I turned down an available admission yesterday over the phone when it was offered to me, this did not happen. I would like you to help me get an authorization from the VA to seek outside treatment. I have lost faith with the system. Time is of the essence, the cancer was caught early, but these delays could literally kill me. Semper Fi Michael D Collins Please help me help others like Michael.