My name is Tracy, and I am a breast cancer survivor twice in the last two years. Here is my story …
In 2013 I was diagnosed with DCIS cancer in my right breast. I had a Lumpectomy with 37 radiation treatments, and was told that the chance of reoccurrence was slim to none.
Yet … in 2015 it had returned in the same breast and in the same area. In May of this year, I underwent a double Mastectomy that included a latissimus dorsi flap. The pathology report discovered that underneath the DCIS was an active Stage 1-A tumor, but praise God it was too small to need chemotherapy! But, had they not found it when they did, then my cancer treatment would be drastically worse. It would have never been found due to its location … so, the mastectomy played a leading role in saving my life … among many other factors.
I am currently in the reconstruction process, and prayerfully I’ll be done in approximately 7 more months. This process is extensive, and when it’s all over I will have gone through surgery every three months for one year.
I lost my job of 15 years in 2013 due to my health. I have been waiting 2 years for my Disability case to be heard before a Judge, and my Attorney’s informed me that the waiting list could take another year at least before that happens. I had to cash out my entire life savings to live on, and that ran out a long time ago. I also refinanced my home through the HARP program to get a lower mortgage payment. I have zero debt (other than my mortgage and utilities). My Mom gifted me my Dad’s car when he passed in 2010, and it is paid for in full. Then, she bought my car to eliminate my having a car payment. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life was accepting the fact I needed state assistance/volunteer services I am an independent single mother and have never struggled at this level. The only thing keeping me afloat is the $700/month child support I receive. But, it leaves me nothing extra to pay for household/non-perishable goods, gas, or anything else. I have not even been able to spend any “fun” money with my daughter, and an 8 year old does not understand financial hardship. My family and friends have helped me thus far with necessary household items, gas, as well as providing clothes for my child, and any “extra’s” that arise. I had to put myself and my child on Medicaid, and on Food & Nutrition services (EBT food debit card), and free lunch at her school. It has been an extremely embarrassing/upsetting reality for me. However, it has also been a very humbling and rewarding experience as well. I only survive thanks to God, a great support group of family & friends … and, for organizations such as the United Breast Cancer Foundation that exist solely to aide women financially while they are fighting or surviving breast cancer. I am so very grateful to have found them
One may argue that it was only a matter of luck that I just so happened to come across UBCF’s website while desperately searching for assistance. But, I know my God was the one that set me on the path to find them. There is no such thing as coincidences in my heart, and I do believe that everything happens for a reason.
I pray that many more women stumble upon this fantastic organization.
I would like to give a very special and heartfelt thanks to Ms. Jennifer Spina who is the Lead Program Manager at the United Breast Cancer Foundation. She is the exact right person for the role she plays in helping others in need. You are an angel in my eyes, and there are no words to describe what a blessing you have been to my daughter and me. May God send many blessings your way!
Happy Holidays & God bless!