My name is Clarissa and in April of this year I was diagnosed with malignant sarcoma cancer in my right breast.
Last year I found a lump in my breast and got it removed and checked out. The results came back as a phyllodes tumor. I had recently lost my job at that time and couldn’t move forward with CAT scans or any other procedures to see if there were any other issues with my body. At that point I was 31 and never had a sick day. I thought that since it was removed and classified that I could move on and be okay.
In February 2020 my tumor grew back rapidly and spread at an alarming rate. However I couldn’t get in to see my doctor. The earliest appointment she had was in April. At the time I found work as a contract graphic designer with no benefits and no healthcare. After we all went into quarantine I decided that I needed to fight for my body and try and get in to see my doctor ASAP. It was now the beginning of April and they were able to see me.
My doctor took a look at my breast and the tumor that regrew and she immediately got me scheduled for scans and a lumpectomy. I had to pay for all of this out of pocket since I didn’t have any insurance. It was expensive even with the discounts for paying upfront.
April 30th I was scheduled for my post surgeryfollow-up and was informed that instead of one tumor I had 9 and it had turned into malignant sarcoma cancer. Because of the rapid growth of the tumors, I couldn’t wait more than a month to get a mastectomy. I had to act immediately and get a bone scan and CT scan to make sure it wasn’t anywhere else in my body. Luckilyit wasn’t. Sarcoma cancer is known for localizing in bones and miraculously it wasn’t in mine.
One week later I made the difficult decision to quit my job so I could qualify for Medicaid in order to be treated for cancer. Since then I have had a uni-lateral mastectomy, went through 34 sessions (two months) of radiation therapy, have reconstruction surgery scheduled the Monday after Thanksgiving, and have had struggled with my mental health on a level that I never dealt with before.
Me and part of my radiation team.
Because I had to quit my job, I have had to rely on my savings to get me by. Unfortunately the medical costs prior to Medicaid and the cost of living is very high where I am and I have been struggling. I am not mentally or physically prepared to go back to work and I’m finding it difficult to pay for necessities like rent, groceries, electricity, gas, etc. It’s devastating to look at your bank account and only see your hard earned money disappear with no way to replenish it.
I have been fortunate enough in the years past to be able to put money away for emergencies. Mainly though I was working very hard to save for a down payment on a house. It’s always been my dream to buy a home where I can raise a family of my own. Little did I know that I would use up all of my precious savings for an emergency – medical bills for cancer treatments and monthly cost of living expenses.
I always relied on myself financially and now I can’t work. I also can’t get unemployment benefits because the amount that I would receive from that would disqualify me from Medicaid. It’s ironic how that works. Right now medical insurance is what I need most. I can’t let anything take that away from me.
It’s always been very difficult for me to ask for help. Especially when I usually can provide for myself. These are unprecedented times. Even with the chaos of 2020 swirling around us. These situations require a lot of humility. I can’t do this alone.
Your donations will help me stay in my home, will help me buy groceries, pay for gas and maybe even buy some modest Christmas gifts. It will help me deal with and tackle all of the uncertainties that I will be facing over the next few months as I hopefully finish all of my cancer treatments and finally am able to look for work again and can start saving again for the future I have always wanted and worked so hard for.
Please, if you feel the desire to, donate what you can and if you can. It would be an immense help financially and also provide me with some stability as I do my best to move forward and get back to normalcy. Thank you for all of your love and support. I wouldn’t be where I am without you.
- James Gallardo
- dongying jiang
- Shenxue Zhou
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