I was almost ten when my mother told me we all have choices. It had been months of very apparent symptoms running rampant in my body. I knew I was sick but was paralyzed with being unsure of what I could do. Where does a woman go when she has no clear options for medical help? How does a woman without insurance, barely making ends meet afford tests and medical assistance? For most women like me, it often looks like hours on Google looking for any possible options while holding your breath and hoping for a miracle.

I was grateful when I saw a place called Dream Centers, which helps underinsured or uninsured women like me. Unsure of their process but knowing I needed help, I trusted my body and my life to Dream Centers. After the ultrasound, I sat as the Women’s Clinic doctor explained it was in fact cancer. I was worried the entire time that I would have to figure out how to come up with the money for these tests. The doctor gave me assurance that Dream Centers has systems in place to help assist me with insurance. When you have nothing, anyone extending their hand in kindness is a breath of fresh air. Cancer was my labored inhale and Dream Centers was my grateful exhale. I knew, with the help of the Women’s Clinic’s caring staff, I could fight this disease without any added stress.

It is terrifying when you are first diagnosed. It doesn’t matter if you have an early stage, very curable cancer or advanced cancer, the initial shock and plunge on the roller coaster is the same. More than any other time in my life, I needed assurance to make the right choices. I had no one to give it to me, but the caring faces of those at Dream Centers. They didn’t just hand me paperwork to fill out and send me on my way; they walked me through each step. Their empathy found its way through every aspect of my cancer story until I was able to write out the words – “I am cancer free.”

Somewhere along this road of life, I had become numb with all the frustrations and dissatisfactions that were handed to me. Through this process with Dream Centers, I recognized life itself isn’t always about darkness and sadness. Life is also filled with hope and goodness, and that makes it beautiful. Like my mom always said, we all make choices; and I could make the choice to start seeing things differently.

I will never forget the day I chose to take a leap of faith and take care of my body by stepping through the doors of the Women’s Clinic. Little did I know by taking care of my body, Dream Centers would show me how to best take care of my heart too.