Someone to Lean On

Someone to Lean On
  One spring morning, my six siblings and I played in the living room while my mom did mom things — like washing our laundry, cooking our food, and picking up our messes while we made new ones. Then someone got the bright idea of climbing onto the mantle over the fireplace and diving onto the pile cushions we’d heaped onto the floor. When it was my turn, I flew straight into the corner of our coffee table. The scar on my forehead is one of the few visible signs of my rough-and-tumble childhood. Remarkably, I’ve never had a broken bone, no stitches, no ER visits. So 45 years after the coffee table incident, when I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, I was a first class rookie in healthcare. I didn’t know what I was doing. My husband found a lump in my breast. I saw a doctor the next day. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “It doesn’t meet the characteristics of cancer.” That didn’t sound right, so I scheduled a mammogram. “I know where you can get cheap chemo,” the tech said while my boob was smashed in a vice. Chemo? Me? I thought. I guess I have cancer. A few days later, a surgeon told me I needed a mastectomy and that she could do it the next morning. “No way,” my husband said. He’d researched other options and sped us out of there like we’d made a bad turn in a horror movie. My head was spinning. We needed someone to help us navigate the system, someone knowledgeable and trustworthy. We needed a service that actually exists. I recently spoke with David Hines, CEO of ConsumerMedical, a company that provides critical needs patients with an ally. “When my sister was 20 years old, she discovered she had breast cancer," David told me. "They recommended a radical mastectomy. Afte
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