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Grant Winner: Veronica Gomez

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at 38. I was too young for a routine mammogram but thankfully caught it before it spread further. I was out of work for one year during active treatment because I am a nurse and my job is very physical. I went through chemotherapy, a mastectomy, radiation, targeted therapy, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 10 years. I borrowed money from my parents and met my medical out of pocket max within three months (October & January) totaling $12,000 plus I lost my income for the year I was out of work, plus all of my bills that I am trying to back pay. I am back at work and just trying to do some good with my life and would appreciate any help that I could get.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer and received 15 of the longest and most grueling weeks of chemotherapy. I was counting down the days to my last chemo, and I was so excited to ring the bell. My last day finally came, and I was the happiest that I had been in a long time.

I rang the bell, and I was jumping up and down all over the hospital. I was telling everyone that it was my last chemo and got lots of hugs and high fives. My mother was with me, and I really wanted her to get a picture of me jumping up in the air with my legs and arms out with my bell in one hand and my “no mo chemo” sign in the other hand.

I kept jumping but I could only jump like one foot in the air because my legs were heavy from the edema that I had developed during my cancer treatment. It felt like I was walking in mud with every step that I took. I finally gave up on my picture and we left the hospital. We walked outside and I noticed a bench, in my head it made perfect sense, I am going to jump off that bench and get that perfect picture of me up in the air. I climbed up the bench against my mom’s advice and jumped off it and you guessed it; I fell flat on my butt. It didn’t hurt anything but the whole thing was caught on video because my mom recorded it so we could screenshot the picture.

I looked around and I did not see anyone else outside to witness my jump. Two weeks later, we returned for my next appointment at the hospital. I got my vital signs taken and then sat down in the exam room. The nurse came in and asked the same list of questions that they ask at every appointment, then she gets to that one question, “Have you had any falls since your last visit?” And, of course I said no. The nurse looks up at me and said, “Your chart is flagged, and it says that you had a fall recently.”

My mom and I looked at each other and burst out laughing, someone must have seen me jump off the bench and tumble on my butt. We told the nurse what happened and showed her the video, and she was laughing too. So, my last chemo was very memorable to say the least.

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