My Story
Jo Ann Perez

I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the day after my 62nd birthday on January 13th, 2020. I drove 150 miles from Del Rio to San Antonio for a doctor’s appointment thinking I either had some kidney stones or gull stones (I tend to develop gall stones without a gallbladder) as I have had issues with both in the past. Upon visiting with my gastroenterologist, he ordered an MRI because he sensed something was not right based on my symptoms.

The MRI showed a tumor in my pancreas. Further tests were run and I am blessed that I am at Stage 1-2, and at the present time a pet scan shows it is confined. Thrive Well’s assistance could not have come a better time. We had already made several medical trips to San Antonio and the cost of fuel, motels, and food was adding up and putting a strain on me financially. When I arrived at Thrive Well to pick up a fuel card, after being notified that I had been approved, it was a difficult time for me. While driving to San Antonio for my first chemo treatment, I received a phone call that my 91 year old mother has passed away. I had been her primary caregiver for the past 7 ½ years, having retired January of 2019 to care for her 24-7. Mother had dementia and other medical conditions that necessitated 24 hour care. My siblings stepped up to the plate and helped care for mother when I was diagnosed with cancer. (One traveled from El Paso). I did not want to leave as I knew she was on hospice and could pass away. My siblings insisted I go and take care of myself as that would be my mother’s wishes if she were able to talk. I sat next to her, hugged her, and told her how much I loved and appreciated having her as my mother and friend. I left with my heart aching, but knew I needed to start my chemo as time is of the essence.

I completed my first chemo treatment, and then went by ThriveWell. Physically and emotionally drained, ThriveWell brought some financial assistance and a welcomed ray of sunshine into my life. I thanked the lovely ladies that provided the fuel cards. I have now completed my first seven weeks of chemo and have 5 more months of treatment remaining once a week. I appreciate their friendly smiles, and fuel assistance cards. Driving 300 miles every week (150 miles, each way) gets expensive and the generosity of donors who recognize the importance of patients such as myself to receive treatment brings a ray of hope/sunshine.

With the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic, cancer patients are at high risk. Being a diabetic and cancer patient, I am appreciative of every day of life. God willing, I will continue my chemo treatments, and stay on schedule for surgery in September to remove my tumor once it has shrunk so that it can be removed safely.
God Bless ThriveWell, its donors, and volunteers who provide assistance via fuel cards to enable many cancer patients the ability to continue traveling as needed to receive necessitated treatments. I pray every day for guidance through this journey in my life. If it is God’s will, my future will include living to see my daughters (Amanda, age 34 and Julie, age 27) get married in the future and hopefully one day enjoy being a grandmother.