Letter: Veteran has to fight cancer, VA, too

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dear Editor,

Since October, we have known there was a problem with my husband’s health. I am sure you have heard of the chaos that the Veteran’s Administration has spiraled into.

Well, I am here to tell you it is all true. V.A. is the only insurance he has,since there has been no coverage from his job and there is no way could we afford it on our own. The biopsy that would have confirmed his diagnosis was delayed by red tape, which included the purgatory of getting into a computer answered system that loops over and over again in a non-ending phone call that bears no results and if you got hold of a live person, they immediately transfer you to “someone can help you” and then the line disconnects.

Getting put outside the system into something called Veterans Choice, which is laughably ill-named as well as being the slowest thing since molasses. Days, weeks, then months trying to get this biopsy done. It took contacting a state representative and the new head of the V.A. at Ft. Rucker to get any results. May I humbly recommend voting for Rep. Martha Roby, because in less than two days after her finding out what my husband has been put through, he had an appointment , and the biopsy within two weeks.

Yesterday we found out the results. He has a possibly more aggressive form of prostate cancer, specifically, a tumor. There is a 41% chance it has spread to other places. He must get a bone scan and a CT scan to find out before a course of action can be decided on. But, these must be authorized by the V.A.. Do you want to know the scary thing? As devastated as I felt when the doctor told us the results, I was almost physically ill when I heard that phrase, “ must be authorized by the V.A.”. What if it takes months to get these tests done? What if the cancer progresses during this time? What if it progresses beyond help?

So, where do we go from here? The battle has already begun with the V.A. It is WRONG for a person facing a medical crisis to have the added stress of fighting for his due. My husband served proudly in the U.S. Navy, he was, at that time, one of only two men, in the whole fleet qualified to work inside a nuclear reactor on the U.S.S. Enterprise. It would not have matter what capacity he served in, if a man serves his country and serves it honorably, then that country should treat him honorably in return. No man should have to go, hat in hand, to ask for what is his rightful due. Angry? Darn right I am!!! I am foot stomping, hissy fit throwing, fist fighting, FURIOUS!!! This man is my life, my world, my best friend. He has worked long and hard for his community. He is everything to our family, he is a GOOD man and he deserves better.

There is much to do and a long way to go, he will do it in his concise, methodical way and I, in my own way but we will do it together, as always.


Marsha Phillips