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Planned parenthood is in constant criticism because of a small part in what they do for women. That small part does, however, offer a choice that can change a woman’s life forever, a choice that is very personal and emotional. Planned Parenthood is more than women going there for abortions; it’s about offering healthcare to women who have no other option, or women who want to remain confidential. It’s about being able to have someone who offers all options completely unbiased; giving you all the information, so you, not your doctor, can make an educated decision on what to do with your body.
In April of 2018 I was laying in bed at home just enjoying the morning before I needed to get ready to go to work. This is how most of my mornings went. But this day was different as I was lying in bed, I put my hand on my breast, and the moment I did that I felt something I had never before noticed, I felt a ping pong size lump. Now prior to this day I had noticed a few things that I honestly didn’t think were anything to be worried about. Things like an electric shock sensation that would periodically come and go, but I was large breasted and overweight, so I figured it was normal, but it was really annoying. I however didn’t think I needed to see a doctor about it; plus, I didn’t have any insurance, so even if I did need to see a doctor I wasn’t going to because it was way too expensive. Little did I know that what I was feeling was cancer growing in my body, that if it took over would kill me.
After feeling the lump, I thought it was a cyst, because that is a common thing for women, but they usually come and go. So, I didn’t do anything. The next few weeks I had noticed the lump had become bigger and bigger. I started to get a little worried, because I didn’t understand what was happening, and again, I have no insurance, so once again I didn’t go to a doctor. Instead I had my mom feel it, and at the time she didn’t seem too concerned to me, because she felt it and said, “yep, that’s a lump,” and then walked away. Now since she didn’t seem too concerned, I wasn’t concerned, well not too concerned. The next day when I went to work, I asked a coworker if she could lend some insight on what the lump could be. She just looked at me and said, “well you're young, you're only 29. I am sure it is just a cyst.” So again, confirming what I thought it was. However, a different coworker looked at me and said, “umm, you should get that looked at just to make sure.” And I of course responded with, “well I don’t have any insurance, so there is no way I am able to do that.” She then looked at me and told me to go to planned parenthood, and see if they can help.
So now it is May and the lump has got bigger, and I finally made an appointment with planned parenthood. And of course, I knew that I would go, and they would say the same thing to me. They would say it is just a cyst and it's nothing to worry about. That was not what they said. The doctor at planned parenthood felt my lump, and looked at me in the face and said, “I am going to give you a referral to get a mammogram.” I was in shock, why did I need a mammogram, I am only 29 years old. So, they game me the referral and sent me to Adventist hospital to get the imaging.
After I got the mammogram the lady who preformed it looked at me and said they were going to do an ultrasound. I was really confused as to why they now needed and ultrasound; so, I asked. She then looked at me and explained that the referral was all paid for, and it came with an ultrasound. Of course, I felt less stressed after she said that and proceeded with the ultrasound. After the ultrasound the technician told me that the doctor would look at it, and give me a call if they needed further examination. Well I had just gotten dressed when the technician came back in and handed me the phone, and told me the doctor wanted to talk to me right then. I picked up the phone and the doctor on the other end said, “I would like you to come in on Tuesday for a biopsy.” Now again I had no insurance, and had to figure out how to come up with over $2000 for this biopsy. Thankfully, with my mother's help we were able to come up with the money for the biopsy, and I was able to have it done. Looking at the tissue that they took, it didn’t seem like much, but it was enough for them to test it.
The following week I received a phone call that changed my entire life. The doctor from planned parenthood called and told me she had the results of the biopsy, and asked if I would like to hear them. I said yes, I want to know what they found; again, thinking it’s a cyst. She then proceeded to tell me I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I asked what is that, and she said it is breast cancer. Not only just breast cancer, but mine was one of the rarest kinds; called Triple Negative Breast Cancer; a cancer only comprising 15 percent of all breast cancer cases worldwide, and with only a 70 percent survival rate compared to all other forms at a 98 percent survival rate. I since then have had chemotherapy, many doctor appointments, multiple surgeries, and I am still terrified. However, if it wasn’t for planned parenthood being available, and me being able to access safe and non-biased help, I wouldn’t be here writing this today. Planned Parenthood saved my life, and I will forever be grateful.