Just before my 50th birthday I was scrolling Facebook and I saw an ad for an upcoming free breast cancer screening event at St Joseph Mercy Hospital. Being self-employed my insurance history was spotty and I had not yet had my first mammogram. I saw the ad and was inspired to sign up for the event.
At that time, I was the first participant where cancer was found since the event began 4 years prior. It was truly a blessing and I know that I would not have had that screening or learned that I had breast cancer if I had not responded to that Facebook ad. I truly believe that we have been carried by a graceful force.
2017 was a whirlwind a year. I had a lumpectomy where the cancer was removed and it was determined that it had not spread to the rest of my body. I underwent six weeks of radiation. In the fall of 2017 I began hormone suppression therapy.
2018 was a different story
Since I was uninsured at the time of my cancer diagnosis my husband and I are responsible for the bills that were incurred. St Joseph Mercy Hospital was generous in reducing our bill by 74% this still left a remaining $30,000 that we were responsible for. A payment plan was set up and we were able to make payments through most of 2018.
Unfortunately, I did not respond well to the hormone suppression therapy. The side effects of the medications were crippling and as a direct result my income has decreased by more than 50% for the year 2018.
The next steps for my health require trying a different course of hormone suppression medications. At the end of last year I honestly considered foregoing any further treatment in order to reduce our expenses. We are still waiting to see if our unsubsidized ACA bronze insurance plan will approve the new therapies.
I remain hopeful, I am in the palm of god's hand. It is with great humility that we ask for help.
I continue to work, I've been on a "medication vacation" since October and my energy levels have tripled. I'm working diligently and I've taken on a second job in order to stay afloat.
Fred, my husband works every available shift, sometimes working 15 days straight with one day off. He is such an incredibly wonderful partner. It has been very difficult this last year feeling that I was unable to equally contribute.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read today, may peace and love find you .
Hillary and Fred Ward