Krisha Deaver battles cancer with unique strategy

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Benjamin Shofet, cub writer

When Krisha Deaver was told that her husband of 14 years was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the abdomen, she was in a state of disbelief. To make things worse, when Deaver was sent to a doctor, he had no prior knowledge about mesothelioma. So Deaver and her husband, Cameron, took it upon themselves to find out what they needed to do to keep him alive.

According to The Mesothelioma Center, the average life expectancy for someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is about 18 months. The future for Deaver and her husband was not looking so bright.

Deaver was “absolutely determined” to find a treatment for her husband. And, finally, after four long months of intense research, the Deavers had finally found a treatment suitable for Cameron, all without any prior medical experience.

Cameron’s cancer was unique because it would show up in some scans and not in others. This made it even harder for Deaver to accept that her husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

“They found it in the tissue but they couldn’t find it in the scans. The doctors even had questions whether it was full blown cancer or not. So it took the conformation of a few different labs for it to sink in,” Deaver said.

When Deaver and her husband were sent to a doctor from their insurance company, he barely had any knowledge of Cameron’s rare case of cancer. There was not a single doctor in Deaver’s insurance network that had any knowledge or was able to treat Cameron’s cancer.

“It became very obvious right away that we actually had to find somebody that was an expert,” Deaver said. “I knew there was help out there, it was just a matter of finding it.”

Eventually, Deaver and her husband found a suitable treatment for her husband in Wake Forest, N.C. Edward Levine M.D is one of a handful of doctors in the United States who treats Cameron’s specific type of cancer. Though Deaver and her husband had found a treatment and scheduled a surgery for her husband, their troubles had only begun.

When Deaver and her husband asked for approval from their insurance company, they initially said no. But with the surgery scheduled within a week of their request, no was not an acceptable answer for the Deavers.

“We got a rejection letter on a Monday and his surgery was scheduled for a Friday,” Deaver said. “We had an extremely tight time frame.”

Deaver and her husband composed a 25-page letter that was sent to many people at the head of their insurance company in an attempt to gain approval for the surgery. And only a day before the scheduled surgery, the insurance company had approved the surgery for Cameron.

If the insurance company had not approved of the surgery, the total cost would’ve been about $200,000, according to Deaver. But with the use of her reading and writing Deaver and her husband were able to get the surgery approved just in time.

Deaver and her husband Cameron visit the Getty Villa.
Deaver and her husband Cameron visit the Getty Villa.

“When I say how important it is to be a good reader, note taker and thinker, I never thought it would be about life and death for the person who means most to me,” Deaver said. “My husband is the most precious thing in my life.”

Deaver has always valued the importance of reading and writing. But it was only after the diagnosis of her husband’s cancer when Deaver really utilized her advanced reading and writing skills to save her husband’s life. In all of her classes, Deaver requires all students to read a certain amount of pages per quarter, excluding required school reading, to help strengthen their reading ability.

“Mrs. Deaver has always been strict about independent reading, freshman Ben Nourafshan said. “But now I really like it [independent reading], it’s an opportunity for me to choose what I want to read for once and not what the school wants me to read.

Reading may be a boring activity for some, but for Deaver it was a way for her to keep her husband alive.

“Reading is freedom because it means you can access information,” Deaver said. “It’s [reading] what makes life more interesting and enjoyable. It’s also what saved my husband’s life.”

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