"Melanoma: Rock, meet Hard Place".

I need your help.

I have melanoma, but I don't have the means to treat it without destroying my family. My mother and I don't have the financial resources for treatment and I was turned down by Medicaid and similar state-run programs. We're about to lose our home. This is the only path I see going forward.

I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma back in August. I have no health insurance and was only able to afford my first surgery with a very generous payment plan that I am still months from paying off. Additionally, I was blindsided by more than $1000 in lab fees.

After my melanoma was discovered, my doctor wanted me in surgery immediately. I went to a consultation with the general surgeon he recommended to the tune of $400. There was no way I could afford the procedure he felt I needed, which would involve a hospital and even removing a lymph node. Since then, I have been exploring every program that might be able to help, all the while enduring a ticking clock in the back of my head. I should have had surgery six weeks ago, since melanoma is very unpredictable and deadly.

I was turned down by Medicaid/TENNCare. I don't qualify for anything like Access TN. Everything is going to have to be charity or cash money, which I do not have.

My mother (bless her heart) is an elementary school librarian and has covered all of my medical expenses until now. We are at the point of desperation, because we are in serious and immediate danger of losing our house. There is no money and nothing left to sell. So far, she's the only one assisting me.

I went to the county health department and the local Department of Human Services. No one was able to offer official help, though it killed them to turn me away. I couldn't help but wonder if it would wind up killing me as well.

Yesterday, I finally had a piece of luck--there is a dermatologist in the next town over who was willing to help. I worry, because I'm not going to even see him until the surgery and what he plans to do is much less than what my doctor wanted. While I am extremely thankful for his generosity, I know there will be fees I cannot afford and another bill from a pathology lab likely to be $1000+.

Rock, meet Hard Place. My life rests on these surgeries but my mother and I are in very real danger of losing our home. There's nothing left for us to fall back on as all my extended family's money is going to keep my grandmother in her nursing home. I don't know what to do and there are no good choices.


Additionally, there's a probable melanoma on my left foot, but I've been trying not to think about it...the least successful strategy there is in modern medicine.

If you can donate anything, I will be more grateful than you can possibly imagine. When I can, I promise I will do everything in my power to pay it forward.

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Organizer

Rachel Thomasson 
Organizer
Johnson City, TN
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