“To fight. Don’t let the cancer get you down. Fight!” –Carmen
In 2011, Carmen was living in California when she noticed something wrong. Carmen’s breasts had become red, swollen and warm. Carmen went to her doctor who thought it was some type of infection and prescribed antibiotics to take care of the problem. After she saw no improvements, she went back to the doctor who then ordered Carmen to have a mammogram and ultrasound. Unfortunately for Carmen, she didn’t have insurance and the two tests would be too expensive for her to pay out of pocket. Carmen had to put her health and concerns about her breasts on hold.
In 2012, Carmen visited her daughter in Springdale, Arkansas. While visiting, she mentioned to her daughter that she was still having problems with her red, warm and swollen breasts. Upon her daughter’s urging, she went to the Community Clinic and was able to receive support to fund a mammogram and ultrasound. At the age of 48, Carmen had her first mammogram. At this time, Carmen was then referred to, now Komen Ozark funded, Breast Health Navigator with Esperanza y Vida, Susy. Susy offered Carmen support and navigation.
After the tests and surrounded by family and her breast health navigator, Carmen knew while sitting in the exam room that something was wrong. Her daughter was called out of the room to talk to the doctor and Carmen started thinking about how her mother had died of breast cancer and became scared about dying from the disease.
“I started crying like I had never cried before.” –Carmen
Through her navigator, the doctor explained to Carmen that she had Stage 3 breast cancer. Carmen needed a mastectomy and turned to Komen Ozark grantee, Community Clinic Springdale Medical for funding. Carmen was approved for the mastectomy, surgeon fees and follow-up appointments. With the help of Susy, Carmen also used Komen Ozark grantees, Washington Regional Cancer Support Home for a wig and prescription assistance and then Hope Cancer Resources for additional assistance.
Carmen is now doing well and recovering nicely with her family in Springdale. Carmen is a beautiful and spirited breast cancer survivor. She is truly a testament to a fighting spirit.
“Carmen is always smiling, joking and making me smile. It is a beautiful journey and I’m so glad to be a part of it.” –Susy, Breast Health Navigator
Carmen was able to receive help throughout her journey through four different affiliate funded grantees. To learn more about the 2013-2014 grant recipients, click here.