Elyce was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2002. She went into remission but unfortunately her cancer returned and metastasized into her bones. With two children living at home, she and her husband were not sure how to make ends meet. The United Breast Cancer Foundation assisted Elyce and her family by covering her medical benefits, relieving them of a substantial financial burden.
My name is Elyce Mee and I am a cancer survivor. I am 51 years old. I am married with two children, a daughter Melissa and a son John, ages 25 and 23 respectively. I love on Long Island in suburban New York. I work as clerical support for an insurance company and my husband works in retail, My two children still live at home. We’re a small family, a tight knit bunch, and none of us knew exactly how our lives would change when I was diagnosed, but it’s safe to say that not much has been the same ever since.
I was diagnosed in April 2002 with breast cancer after a routine mammography. My whole life was turned upside down. A mastectomy with reconstruction quickly followed my diagnosis. 6 months of chemotherapy followed soon after that. I thought I’d be OK and I was for a while. But about a year later I began to experience some aches and pains in my joints, back and neck and we discovered the cancer had spread to my bones.
I underwent a series of radiation to my cervical and lumbar spine, my skull and both hips. I lost my hair in patches as a result of the radiation to my skull, but continued to work full time, undergoing treatment on my lunch breaks and going to chemo after work. People tell me I’m courageous, but my other option would be to let the cancer defeat me. To me, this is unimaginable.
The pain in my hips became too great in April of this year . I saw an orthopedic oncologist who stated the cancer had weakened my joints so greatly that I was at a high risk for a fracture. I underwent surgery on the hip and spent a week in physical rehab working intensively with a physical therapist. I am happy to report, I’m walking and dancing again!
As if recovery from my hip surgery was not enough, I found the pain in my neck increasing as the months passed. I saw a neurosurgeon in September who recommended a cervical fusion for stability and pain relief as I had an evident fracture to one of my cervical vertebrae. I underwent a cervical fusion on 10/23/2006 and spent a week in the hospital, two days in the surgical ICU due to some complications I suffered in recovery.
I am currently at home recovering. My story is one of struggle, physical, emotional and financial struggle. A struggle to keep up with the influx of medical bills related to my care as well as those that keep my family together. I sincerely want to thank Beth Heim at The United Breast Cancer Foundation. I called her with my story and she has been able to offer me so much support. Being disabled from working has been a real struggle, and your organization has helped to pay my medical benefits for me which takes a huge burden off of my shoulders. I am incredibly thankful I found you.
I have so much living left to do, and my own sickness is a journey. While there have been hard times, and low lows it’s nice to know that along my way I have met kind and supportive people who work to make the lives of those who are suffering a little bit easier. It’s foundations like UBCF and people like Beth Heim that can change lives forever.