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Argyle airman wants to have cancer treatment in Albany, Air Force says no

Created: 03/25/2014 6:24 PM WNYT.com
By: Mark Mulholland

ARGYLE - 20-year-old Air Force Airman Bryan Humiston was diagnosed with testicular cancer in January. He had surgery right away on the base where he was stationed in Mississippi.

Then doctors found that the cancer had spread to lymph nodes in his abdomen.

"I get the physical, emotional, the mental support here with my family," said Humiston Monday afternoon at his parents' home where he's recovering.

After dozens of phone calls, Humiston's mother, Nicole, and father, Bryan, convinced the Air Force and the Air Force's insurance company to allow him to go to Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City to see an expert on the type of surgery he'd now need.

On February 28th, the second surgery was done at Sloan.

Now, Bryan needs chemotherapy.

The Humistons, who both work full time and have two other children, are ready to help their son through this latest battle. But they want the battle to be close to home. His mom is an RN and works at Albany Med. She would drive him to and from his daily treatments.

The family would be able to care for Bryan after the treatments.

But the Humistons say the military insurer, a company called Tri-Care Humana, says no. They want him to get the chemo on the base in Mississippi.

"He’ll be nauseous, he’ll be vomiting, he’s going to lose all of his hair, so you think it will be in his best interest to return him to a dorm on an Air Force base by himself across the country," asks Nicole.

"No insurance company should be able to tell us how, when, where, in the best interest of our son," said Bryan's father.  "Even though he's in the military, he is our son."

The Humistons say they aren't asking for anything special. He'd get the same course of treatment in Albany as he would at the Air Force base. And then he'd return to active duty in a month when treatment is finished. They say they know why the insurer is insisting that their son leave home.

"It's cheaper. That's the bottom line. That's all anybody says, it's cheaper," said Bryan's father.

So the Humistons are reaching out to anyone who can help---congressmen, senators, state legislators and the Governor. Hoping to convince the military insurer that their sick son is better off at home.

Bryan Humiston had orders to fly back to the base in Mississippi Wednesday morning, but his parents say their son's surgeon in New York City told the military insurer late Tuesday afternoon that he's not well enough to fly. Instead, he will visit the doctor in Manhattan on Thursday.

Spokesmen for the insurance carrier and the Department of Defense declined comment, citing laws protecting patient privacy.

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