Wednesday, November 12

Grandmother with cancer uses World of Warcraft to cope, now starring in documentary

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Terry Bolt, 64, was diagnosed four years ago with a rare form of cancer, Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. At first doctors said she had only six months or so to live.

Bolt, who grew up in Bakersfield, "went to Foothill High School, Bakersfield College, Cal State Bakersfield, I was the first graduating class from Cal State Bakersfield, that's how old I am, haha," has many memories in the valley.

It was here that she worked as a teacher and as she got older, she knew something was wrong.

"I go James, you better go get the principal and he goes are you dying Mrs. Bolt, and I said no but I am at the point of puking and you are right in my way," Bolt joked.

Bolt had fainting spells where she had to lay down flat, whether it was at school, a restaurant or home.

When she went to the doctor the first diagnosis was grim. Doctors said they were going to put her through intense chemotherapy and gave her a few months to live.

A friend suggested Bolt get a second opinion and after she went to a doctor in Los Angeles, her fears grew to a climax. Several tests later, Bolt was going in for surgery.

"They ended up taking 15 pounds of tumors out and the surgery itself took about 16 hours," Bolt said.

After the surgery things got worse. Bolt was allergic to her painkillers and for a week she had delusions.

"When he fell asleep, scared him to death because he was an old lady in a hospital bed, and I still think he's around there somewhere," Bolt said.

A week later she was switched to morphine and the healing process was slow, about a year and a half. Bolt discovered an online game, before the surgery, through her sister.

When she saw World of Warcraft, she was surprised by the graphics and the things you could do in the game.

"That's what's nice about gaming, when things have got you down you can go into this completely new world," Bolt said.

Bolt used the game as an escape before and after her surgery to cope with what was happening.

Her daughter Andie is thankful for the game because it gave her mother an outlet. "This game is somewhere where she can do that, she can say what she needs to say and have people care about her but without her having to fall to pieces."

Andie said the "c" word was not allowed at home after her grandmother passed away from lung cancer.

Andie is a comedian and filmmaker in LA and after talking with a colleague about her routine, which was about her mother's situation and the role online games play in her life, he suggested making something more from the situation.

The idea for a documentary was planted. Andie worked with countless groups and has had professionals from the cinematic world reach out to her to volunteer their skills for the feature.

Now she is promoting her Kickstarter page hoping to do the piece justice. She interviewed several people with cancer, some of whom have passed away and will not get the chance to see the finished product.

Andie says the goal of the movie is to raise awareness in a lighthearted way, "I didn't want to make a sad movie about cancer."

The demand for information is out there, Terry Bolt said her other doctors are curious about her condition and after learning more about it, they found more patients with it.

Bolt's cancer is currently in suspended animation, she is on a clinical trial and will be publishing a book in the near future.

"She's excited about this movie because it's not like she got Neuroendocrine tumors for nothing, she's going to use her story to help raise awareness for it," Andie said.

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