Strength Through Support
Robert knows the power of support.
He had no idea how important his support system would be until a trip to urgent care for abdominal pain revealed stage 4 prostate cancer. He took the diagnosis in stride and buckled down for treatment.
Robert’s coworkers at International Game Technology in Reno, Nevada, became his first support system. As his cancer stabilized, sharing details with those who asked became a form of therapy.
“It’s really lonely out there for people who refuse to let people know what’s going on. I don’t mean writing it down in the newspaper so the city can read it, but your friends and your family and coworkers—the people you’re close to. If they know what’s going on, they watch out for you.”
In 2008, Robert began working at a food bank. He said the atmosphere was filled with “an extremely caring group of people.” By welcoming questions and talking openly about his condition, his support system grew strong.
He relied on that network again in 2012 when he began aggressive chemo.
“I have a very close friend [at work] who knows everything that’s going on and asks me the same questions. ‘How did it go? What’s the prognosis? Where are we going with this?’ If you get that kind of a relationship going with people, then you know that you’ve got people around you that truly care, and that makes work a lot easier.”
While the chemotherapy put the cancer in check, he needed to keep it that way. After cycling through medications, he got a call from Diplomat about a prescription from his oncologist.
“I received a phone call, and they said, ‘We have a prescription for you.’ I said, ‘OK.’ She said, ‘The copay is thirteen-ninety-one,’ and I said, ‘OK, $13.91.’ She said, ‘No, $1,391 a month.’”
Treatment that expensive was not an option. It would require a different type of support entirely. He told the Diplomat representative he would not be able to accept the medication.
The representative told him to hang tight; she would see what she could do about cost.
“About two hours later, she called back and said, ‘OK, your copay is $10.’”
With his medication realistically available to him, Robert continued on his health care journey with the added support of his specialty pharmacy.
Being transparent about his condition, he said, allowed his family, pharmacy and colleagues to be better able to support him. The love of the people around him helped Robert face whatever came his way.