|By Jaclyn Cosgrove, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"Mama, how much does Papa Ken's medicine cost?" the 6-year-old girl asked her mother.
"It costs lost of money, Baby," her mother said.
"Well, if I save my allowance for two months, I will give it to him, and then he will have enough money to get better."
By the end of the two months, Emerson's hot pink piggy bank will have about
If Emerson's grandfather,
"The prognosis is -- without treatment at this point, they're saying 24 months or less," Jolley, of
For the past several months, Jolley, 64, has debated with leaders at the
The VA has offered him other forms of treatment, but none have been shown to be effective in stopping the rare form of cancer he has, Jolley said.
"Patients are screened for clinical trials, and those who meet eligibility criteria have the option to participate in a clinical trial," Huycke said.
In 2013, six patients at the
Nationally, the VA medical system has faced fierce scrutiny, with attention over the past few months focused on the delays that veterans face when seeking care.
Jolley has seen those delays in his cancer treatment.
Over the next year, Jolley would wait months at a time for testing and screening. Nine months after Jolley had his first appointment, a doctor at a Texas VA hospital would tell Jolley he was in stage four of his cancer diagnosis.
"You may not want to do anything at this stage," the doctor said. "Just go home and get your affairs in order."
Shortly thereafter, Jolley would learn he had neuroendocrine carcinoid cancer, a rare form of slow-growing tumors mostly found in the gastrointestinal system, although they can grow in other parts of the body, according to the
Jolley disagreed and sought a second opinion at