Health, Medical, Brain Tumor, Schwannoma, Resection, CyberKnife, & a U.S.Marine

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Hiatus: No news is good news

June 23rd, 2011 · 3 Comments

Time just whizzes by.  Last year my New Year’s resolution was to update this website at least once a month.  Like most New Year’s resolutions… that never happened.  It is not because I don’t care; it is a combination of being very busy and not really knowing what to write about.  My passion to help people has not changed. It’s just that I have gotten so used to our life that I can’t really think of anything interesting and brain tumor or military related to write about. 

Last year was certainly busy but looking back it seemed pretty uneventful in regards to Travis’ health.  Don’t get me wrong, I am more than thankful that he is defeating his tumor but I feel somewhat removed from the caregiver role.  I am not sure that I will ever “retire” from being a caregiver but Travis is significantly more independent than he was a couple of years ago.  He is now in school full time and is working full time.  He still lives with chronic pain in addition to other permanent adverse effects stemming from his tumors and the surgeries. However, over the last 12 months or so he has really learned how to manage his conditions in a way that allow him to live a more typical lifestyle. This does not meant that he does not have bad days; he still does from time to time.  But he has more good days than bad.

This year we went on our first major vacation as a couple. Hawaii.  I was nervous about going because I was worried he might not be able to participate in the physical activities that Hawaii is known for.  He ended enjoying the ocean and snorkeling so much that within a month after we returned home he became a certified open water scuba diver another month later he became a certified advanced open water scuba diver.

This July 13th will mark the 4 year anniversary of Travis’ second (and last) surgery to remove his brain tumor.  I doubt that when he was laying in the hospital trying to recover from surgery that he ever expected that he would be well enough to be doing everything that he is doing now.

As I reflect on the last 6 years I realize that the old saying, “no news is good news” pretty much sums up why this website had been on hiatus.  I never thought that life could or would go back to normal for us but I was obviously wrong.  I hope that this post gives you strength and encouragement that things can get better.  Please do not ever hesitate to contact me regardless of the length of time in between my posts.  I receive inquiries and comments from many people with many different stories and I am always willing to listen and do my best to help.


→ 3 CommentsTags: back pain · Brain Tumor · disabled veterans · education · everyday life · happy ending · Marine · Miliary brain tumor · military retirement · recovery · stress · surgery · thankful · thoughts · tumor · update · work

Happy New Year!!

January 1st, 2011 · No Comments

We would like to thank everyone for your continued support. Travis is doing much better, but is still struggling from time to time. Happy New Year to everyone and may this year be very successful and productive.

-The King family

→ No CommentsTags: happy · Rancho Bernardo · San Diego · support · thankful

Everyone has something to give

May 18th, 2010 · 7 Comments


The other day I stepped into an elevator and out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman rushing toward the elevator.  I pushed and held the “DOOR OPEN” button until the woman entered the elevator.  The woman smiled at me and thanked me for holding the elevator for her.  She mentioned that most people would not have held the elevator.  I told her that it is sometimes the little things that mean so much.  A minute or so later she stepped out of the elevator and then so did I.  We went on our own separate paths.  I did not know that lady and honestly I don’t even remember what she looks like. What has been stuck in my head is that holding the elevator for that lady was so simple but it made a positive impact in both her day and mine. 

I have seen and read about coffee shops where one customer “pays it forward” and buys the stranger behind them a cup of coffee.  The recipient of the free cup of coffee continues the act and before long hundreds of customers carry on this chain reaction.  Every time I see or hear about these types of stories I get goose bumps. 

Holding that elevator did not cost me a penny and I invested less than 30 seconds of my time.  Paying it forward with a cup of coffee is only a few dollars.  Normally the time, effort, and money that you put into a random act of kindness is so minute compared to the joy that you get out of it seeing the recipient’s reaction.

So please stop and think about giving this type of gift. Everyone has something to give.  Eye contact and a smile, holding open a door, allowing someone to go ahead of you in line, these are just a couple of ways to get the ball rolling.  Go ahead and try it!

I found a nice definition of a “random act of kindness” on Wikipedia.  Just reading it made me smile. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone performed one random act of kindness a day?

“A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or persons wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual or in some cases an animal. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happier. Either spontaneous or planned in advance, random acts of kindness are encouraged by various communities.”

→ 7 CommentsTags: advice · everyday life · family · happy · happy ending · help · love · mood · positive · thoughts · tip · useful information

TriCare Can Pay for Travel Expenses

February 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Travis has a check-up next month with his neurosurgeon at Stanford.  When we got the insurance approval in the mail I noticed on the bottom of the letter from TriCare that it mentioned that travel reimbursement maybe be available if you are traveling more than 100 miles from your PCP.  Travis called the number on the letter and already has his flight booked through SATO.

Below are details about getting TriCare to pay for travel expenses to attended a medical appointment:


TRICARE Prime and Non-Medical Attendant Travel Entitlements

Under provisions of the 2001 National Defense Authorization Act, TRICARE Prime beneficiaries referred by their primary care manager for services at a location more than 100 miles from their PCM may be eligible to have their “reasonable travel expenses” reimbursed by TRICARE. The travel reimbursement entitlement is retroactive to Oct. 30, 2000.

Eligibility for the TRICARE Prime Travel Entitlement:

The TRICARE Prime travel entitlement is available to non-active duty TRICARE Prime enrollees and TRICARE Prime Remote family members when they are referred for medically necessary, non-emergent specialty care more than 100 miles from their primary care manager location.  The “greater than 100 mile rule” is stated in statute and isn’t negotiable when determining applicability of the Prime travel benefit. 

Beneficiaries must have a valid referral and travel orders from a TRICARE representative at the military treatment facility where they are enrolled or from their TRICARE Regional Offices if their primary care manager is a TRICARE network provider. 

Note:  This entitlement doesn’t apply to expenses experienced by active duty uniformed services members, or active duty family members living with their sponsors overseas, which are reimbursed by other travel entitlements.

Reasonable Travel Expenses:


Reasonable travel expenses are the actual costs incurred by beneficiary when traveling to their specialty provider-not in an emergency status. Costs include meals, gas, tolls, parking, and tickets for public transportation (i.e. airplane, train, bus, etc.). Beneficiaries are required to submit receipts for all expenses.

Government rates will be used to estimate the reasonable cost. Beneficiaries are expected to use the least costly mode of transportation. The actual costs of lodging (including taxes and tips) and the actual cost of meals (including taxes and tips, but excluding alcoholic beverages) may be reimbursed up to the government rate for the area concerned.

General Process for Receiving Travel Reimbursement:


If the beneficiary is referred by a provider at a military treatment facility, he/she should contact a military treatment facility point-of-contact for a briefing on the entitlement process and beneficiary responsibilities.

If the beneficiary is enrolled to and referred by a civilian primary care manager, he/she should contact a point-of-contact at the TRICARE Regional Office.

Beneficiaries must obtain official travel orders from the military treatment facility or TRICARE Regional Office point-of-contact.  Beneficiaries will be required to make their own travel arrangements unless the military treatment facility or TRICARE Regional Office point-of-contact arranges for government travel. Beneficiaries are required to coordinate their own lodging arrangements.

Upon completion of travel, the expenses need to be itemized on a SF 1164 or a DD1351-2 (travel voucher) and receipts are required for all expenses.  The military treatment facility or TRICARE Regional Office point-of-contact will provide the beneficiary with specific instructions on how and where to submit his/her travel entitlement claim.

Traveling with a Non-medical Attendant:


The FY02 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes one parent, guardian or another adult family member to travel with a non-active duty Prime enrolled patient as a non-medical attendant. The non-medical attendant is authorized reimbursement of actual travel expenses. If the non-medical attendant family member is an active duty service member authorized by the military treatment facility or TRICARE Regional Office to accompany a non-active duty TRICARE Prime enrollee as a non-medical attendant, he/she is entitled to TDY allowances (per diem and mileage), not actual expenses.

If the non-medical attendant family member is a U.S. Government civilian assigned to TDY by their civilian organization, they may also be entitled to TDY allowances.

By statute, the non-medical attendant must be a parent, legal guardian or other adult family member. However, if the non-medical attendant isn’t the parent, the non-medical attendant must be at least 21 years of age. The non-medical attendant isn’t required to be enrolled in TRICARE Prime or to be TRICARE-eligible. The patient, however, must be enrolled in TRICARE Prime.

The uniformed services and the TRICARE Regional Offices have responsibility for implementing and managing the non-medical attendant provision. The non-medical attendant benefit is retroactive to December 28, 2001. Non-medical attendants that qualify for reimbursement under this entitlement should save their travel receipts.

For more information about the TRICARE Prime travel entitlement, please contact the local military treatment facility or TRICARE Regional Office beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinator or travel point-of-contact. Telephone numbers and addresses for BCACs are available on the TRICARE Web site at http://www.tricare.mil/contactus/.

→ 1 CommentTags: doctor · follow up · health insurance · medical bills · MRI · Stanford · Trigeminal schwannoma · Uncategorized · usefull info · visit

Travis was on the news last ni…

September 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Travis was on the news last night. Check it out! http://www.10news.com/investigations/20800002/detail.html

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Botched Surgery Costs Airman His Legs

July 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

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July 20th, 2009 · No Comments


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Two years ago today…An Update

July 13th, 2009 · 7 Comments

Two years ago today I was sitting in the Stanford Hospital waiting room worried that my husband might not make it through brain surgery. Since July 13, 2007 Travis has had too many medical appointments to count. He has been on too much medication, especially pain medication. He has been on Oxycontin, Duragesic pain patches, Methadone, Neurontin, Vicodin, and pretty much everything in between.

Much has changed in our lives over that last two years. Travis has retired from the Marine Corps. We moved out of our old apartment into the one that we are living in now. Travis had CyberKnife radiation. Victoria started middle school. We received AMAZING NEWS that Travis’ pesky Schwannoma tumor succumbed to Dr. Adler’s treatment. NO MORE TUMOR!!!! I started back at work and went back to college.

Travis accepted his dream job at Northrop Grumman. He entered through a wonderful program called Operation Impact. Since retiring from the Marine Corps. Travis has been seeing new doctors. He struggled through Methadone withdrawal and is now 100% METHADONE FREE. He has a prescription for Vicodin to use for breakthrough pain but he has not taken any since June 30th. He has come a long way from his daily doses of 3000mg of Neurontin and 10mg of Methadone.

Our offer was accepted on our first home. (We are in escrow right now.)

Travis came down with Diverticulitis and then suffered from a secondary infection as a result of the antibiotics given to him to treat the Diverticulitis.

So much has happened over the last two years.  Life sure has not been easy but things seem to be turning around.  We are learning to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.  I expect that we will continue to face hurdles but what I have learned is there is nothing that Travis and I cannot accomplish if we put our hearts into it.

→ 7 CommentsTags: Brain Tumor · CyberKnife · Cyberknife radiation · daughter · detox · doctor · Dr. Adler · Dr. Moon San Diego · emergency room · everyday life · family · follow up · Gabapentin · hospital · Marine · Methadone · Methadone Detox · military retirement · mood · Neurontin · Neurontin Information · Pain Management · positive · radiation · recovery · San Diego · Schwannoma military · Stanford · thankful · thoughts · Trigeminal schwannoma · tumor · update · Vicodin · Withdrawal

Wonky Tweets

June 27th, 2009 · No Comments

  • Trav’s completed his 1st week at his new job. I’m so proud of him. Brain tumor, radiation, withdrawal, Diverticulitis Nothing can stop him! #

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Trav’s completed his 1st wee…

June 26th, 2009 · No Comments

Trav’s completed his 1st week at his new job. I’m so proud of him. Brain tumor, radiation, withdrawal, Diverticulitis nothing can stop him!

→ No CommentsTags: Twitter