My name is Susie; I’m 53 and I am a mom to eight kids. I am married and work for a school district in San Antonio, Texas. In early 2022 my mom was put on hospice. In taking care of her, along with my children’s routine appointments, I put my medical appointments on hold. I had to miss lots of days from work due to this.

Time for Myself
In November 2022, my mom passed away. I was busy in December trying to make arrangements for her and, of course, handle the holidays. I told myself starting in January 2023, I was going to focus on myself, my health, and appointments. I scheduled appointments with my dentist, rheumatologist, gynecologist, and dermatologist. I also scheduled my yearly mammogram as I hadn’t had one in 15 months. It was scheduled for January 13th, 2023.

What Happened Next…
In the past, I was always told I had very dense breast tissue, and I always had to follow up with an ultrasound. So, this year I did the normal mammogram and they had me wait a few minutes and then told me they needed to do an ultrasound. They did the ultrasound and asked me to wait for a doctor to review the images. A few minutes later the radiologist came in and said there was a spot on my left breast that wasn’t there 15 months ago. She said she would like to biopsy it but needed orders from my gynecologist. On February 7th I underwent my biopsy. On February 13th I received a phone call from my gynecologist that I had IDC ER, HER2-positive breast cancer. She gave me a list of several oncology surgeons to contact. I choose Dr. Elmi at The START Center Center for Cancer Care. I made an appointment with her, and she also referred me to a medical & radiation oncologist. Things moved very quickly. I did a lumpectomy and node removal in March and started chemotherapy in April. I finished chemo on June 30th and will begin radiation August 14th. I will continue to receive Herceptin infusions every three weeks until next April, 2024 for the HER2- positive type of cancer I have.

A Fresh Beginning
I do have medical insurance but of course that comes with co-pays, out-of-pocket maximums, and coinsurance fees. I was having to set up payment plans with South Texas Radiology Imaging Centers (STRIC), my surgeon and the hospital for my surgery. The START Center for Cancer Care suggested that I contact Thrivewell Cancer Foundation in San Antonio to see if they could assist with some of my medical bills. I am forever grateful for their assistance.

With the help of Thrivewell I was able to focus on getting better and not stressing over the financial burden that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!