My name is Marie Medina from Berryville, Arkansas. I am 42 years old and mother of 4 teenagers!
In December 2015, I found a lump in my left breast. I was without health insurance. I applied for Medicaid but was told that I didn’t qualify because I earned $1,600 per month (before taxes) as a cook and my husband was receiving social security disability. I felt like I had no options, I ignored the mass for six months.
Finally, I told my my mom about the lump. She called around and found out about Arkansas BreastCare. She encouraged me to go to the local health unit to see if I would qualify. I had absolutely no idea that BreastCare or Komen Ozark funding existed.
I was referred for a mammogram in Fayetteville and on July 15th, after a biopsy, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Through genetic testing funded by a Komen Ozark grant, I also learned that I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation.
Not long after I was diagnosed, I received a phone call from Mellonie Autry. She is a nurse navigator funded by Komen Ozark. Mellonie had learned about my breast cancer diagnosis. She ask if she could visit me at my home. She arrived and gave me a great deal of information and a care package to prepare for me surgery which was scheduled for the the following week.
I haven’t been able to work following surgery and chemotherapy. I was hospitalized for a week due to low blood counts and infections. I had to have the tissue expanders taken out because my infection would not heal due to chemotherapy. It has been a long road to recovery.
Our family of 6 has been living on my husbands social security disability. It has been financially very hard. I have been given Komen Ozark funded gas cards to help with transportation to my medical appointments from Berryville to Fayetteville which is 110 miles round trip. I have also learned that between Mellonie and Holly Gillies -who works for Komen funded North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education in Harrison – that if I have a need, they will help find a resource to assist me. These ladies know their communities! I have gotten help finding eye glasses and help paying my home gas bill. They go above and beyond to help me. I am very grateful for the Susan G Komen Ozark Affiliate because without their help, I might not be here today.