Shelly fought breast cancer and had been cancer-free nearly five years when, in April, she started feeling something like paralysis in the left side of her body. Medical tests showed the cancer had returned. It was on her back, one lung and, most alarming, in her brain.
The 14 tumors in her brain needed immediate attention. Specialists at UC San Francisco Medical Center recommended a procedure called gamma knife radiation, where the lesions are zapped with gamma rays and without knives.
Her doctors said without the surgery, she would die. But on the day of the procedure, her insurance carrier, Blue Shield, said it wouldn't pay the $60,000 tab.
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