My name is Stephanie and when I was only 38 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was May 1, 2008, a date that will forever be remembered by myself and my husband. We had only been married 2 ½ years and had our son just over a year earlier. Our new life together was just beginning, so when we received that news, it felt like our whole world was falling apart. We did not have health insurance, and were supporting our family, which also included my oldest daughter, on one income. I felt so completely helpless.
I sought help from various organizations in my community and was very fortunate to have all of my surgery and treatment costs covered by those organizations. After treatment was over I thought there would be no way that I would ever be able to have reconstruction. It’s a very expensive procedure and the non-profits that I was affiliated with for treatment did not cover reconstruction surgery. I figured I would have to live the rest of my life without breasts. At first, when I was diagnosed and had to make the decision to have a double mastectomy, I thought “I just want those tumors out of my body”. That was most important to me. Being alive is definitely more important than having breasts! However; as the months passed I began to realize just how important it really was to me. I was very self conscience about my appearance in public, and especially with my husband. I just didn’t feel like a whole woman anymore. And the scars were a constant reminder of what I had been through for the past year with surgery and chemotherapy treatments.
One night I began searching the internet and researching reconstruction options when I stumbled upon the site for the United Breast Cancer Foundation. When I read about the foundation and how they provide grant assistance to women just like me, I began to see a light at the end of my tunnel. I got so excited with the idea that it was actually possible for me to get the reconstruction I needed and to feel whole again. So, I downloaded the application and sent it in. And after a few short months I got the call. I was approved for the grant!!!
I was like a little kid at Christmas! I was so happy, I cried!! I will never be able to express how thankful I am to the United Breast Cancer Foundation for giving me my life back. Having reconstruction was the last step that was needed for me to get on with my “new” life as a breast cancer survivor. It truly was a pleasure to work with them throughout the entire process. What they do for women is wonderful. They are angels from heaven and I will always be grateful for what they have given me. They give more than just money; they give us a second chance at a “normal” life.