I was almost ten when my mother told me “we all have choices.” But for the first time in my life, I felt like I didn’t have any 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 someone like me, with no insurance and barely making ends meet, afford tests and medical assistance? For me it was hours on Google looking for any possible option and hoping for a miracle.

I was grateful when I saw a place called Dream Centers Women’s Clinic that helps underinsured or uninsured women like me. Unsure of the process, but knowing I needed help, I made the call and trusted my body and my life to Dream Centers. After the ultrasound, I sat in tears as the Women’s Clinic doctor explained it was, in fact, cancer. I was afraid I would have to figure out what to do next and how to come up with money for the ultrasound, for additional tests … for treatment! The doctor assured me Dream Centers would assist me with the process of getting the treatment I needed, and, that the services the Women’s Clinic provided were free!

In a desperate situation like this, someone extending a hand in kindness is a breath of fresh air. Cancer was my labored inhale and Dream Centers was my grateful exhale. It is terrifying when you are first diagnosed. It doesn’t matter what stage of 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. I knew, with the help of the Women’s Clinic’s caring staff, I could fight this disease without any added stress. 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 disappointments came my way. Through this process with Dream Centers, I recognized life 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 have 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 Dream Centers Women’s Clinic. Little did I know by taking care of my body, Dream Centers would show me how to better take care of my heart too.