This month, we are honored to share the story of Barstow, California resident, Katie S. Here is her story, in her own words…
The story that I plan to tell about my life is how I lived a life with a healthy diet, I had worked hard to be a single mother, supported my mother, put myself through school as a first generation college student, wrote and published 3 books, found the love of my life and then discovered I had cancer. I have completed all my hours towards testing for my LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) – about 7 years worth of work and felt that I was on my way to a career I had sacrificed for that would help so many others and then I was in chemo therapy and unable to test. (hopefully in the Spring)
While all of this was going on, my own mother was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t believe she was worth treatment, allowing it to consume her (pancreatic cancer) and dying in April, following a pattern in my family where the women die of some (usually undiagnosed) cancer and leave behind broken hearts, confused families.
I have always been proactive in having health checks and from the first mammogram, was saying something was amiss. Finally, the radiologist agreed and I went into surgery in Humboldt County. The expert there “did not follow current procedures”, and after the surgery (which put me on disability and not able to work or afford our rental/other expenses) told me to “go South” because the matter was “complicated”. We initially went to my husband’s cousins’ in Barstow and connected with good doctors who began the process anew, but without stable housing or employment there, we had to make connections near my mothers’ relatives and moved to stable care there. With the help of the Pink Fund, we were able to get to those medical appointments (which the doctors have said are very critical considering the bad initial surgery) and for my husband to find employment.
I thought that I was a strong person, but breast cancer has been an attack on my identity as a woman and moreover, a spiritual battle I didn’t expect. Friends who had experienced breast cancer have been role models of courage for me. Everywhere I go, survivors come up to hug me and provide advice with no ego and with great love. With the Pink Fund’s support, my devoted husband and dear people who came to our aid, we have moved into the space of actually battling the disease and not fighting budgets, instability, or fear.
Thank you Pink Fund.