About a month ago, one of our wonderful providers approached me with a patient situation that at first was believed to be a breast infection. However, her mammogram revealed breast cancer and the provider brought her back for a biopsy. Unfortunately, at around this time, the provider had to take a personal leave of absence and the patient, thinking she was left all alone, waited for me one morning, starting at 6:00 am, to make sure she didn’t miss me. She anxiously told me her whole story – she had been sexually abused by her step-father, was married at 16 and in an abusive relationship for 30 years, and now breast cancer. Her undocumented daughters and son in Roswell were not able to come and see her. She was devastated. The only relative close by was her youngest sister who was also a breast cancer survivor. I calmed her down and explained that she could qualify for BCC Medicaid and could transfer her care to Roswell to be with her children. The following day, I called her and told her she had been approved for the Medicaid. I also told her that I had a prosthesis and bra for her sister who had been using socks as a prosthesis for three years. She is now with her children, undergoing chemo and happy. She still thinks she needs to come to my house and help me with my chores, to thank me. Her exact words were " I will be your slave for the rest of my life". She owes me nothing. I do my job with my heart.
Through our Avon Outreach Program, our physician at ACCESS referred her for a mammogram, and the results indicated that follow up was needed. Our BCCCP clinic referred her to the surgeon at Karmanos Cancer Institute, using funds from Race for the Cure, and she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.
On behalf of our entire community, we greatly appreciate Avon’s continued generosity in helping us serve all of our community members.
After a recent biopsy detected no cancer in her right breast, Lydia began to feel pain in the same breast: “I had a very strong pain. I couldn’t put on my bra or bend down. Ofelia (one of our program’s Care Coordinators) was very active in ensuring that I would receive a free screening.”
Ofelia selected the most appropriate funding source for Lydia – IBCCP, in this case – she then worked to get Lydia’s procedures approved. In July Lydia received free screening and diagnostic mammograms. The results came back abnormal. Ofelia called Lydia to notify her and schedule a surgical consult at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“The surgeon told me they detected a wheel-shaped mass in my right breast. He said this could be cancer and advised that I undergo a small surgery.”
Luckily, Lydia had calcium breast deposits, not cancer. Even without cancer, she still would have endured significant pain and stress were it not for Esperanza’s Avon-funded patient navigation services.
When asked about what our services mean to her, Lydia responded: “I don’t have insurance because I’m undocumented. I know these services are expensive. Thank God for the help that I obtained from Esperanza and your assistance programs. Otherwise, you just neglect yourself.”