One day, Linda found a tiny lump and went to the doctor. When she arrived at the doctor’s office, they decided it would be best to do a biopsy on the lump, but with Linda’s family history, she had a gut feeling it would be best if they went ahead and took the whole lump out. Luckily, the results came back benign.
Eight months later in May of 2019, another lump popped up in the same location. The doctors once again took it out, and Linda had an MRI. This time, the lump wasn’t benign. Linda explained that while no one likes to hear the word cancer, she needed them to say it because she wouldn’t believe it otherwise. With her family history (both of Linda’s sisters had breast cancer), and the type of cancer, Linda had to have a double mastectomy.
Linda underwent nine surgeries in 2019 alone for her cancer and has had four in 2020, but now, she’s thankfully able to put those surgeries behind her. With so many surgeries and high co-pays, Linda wasn’t able to afford her mortgage. She couldn’t have those life-saving surgeries without paying the co-pays first, so Linda was forced to choose between getting the healthcare she so badly needed or keeping her home.
Then one day, thanks to a connection from her advocate at the hospital, Abigail, she got a call from Bringing Hope Home with an offer to pay her mortgage. She was overwhelmed and full of gratitude: “I was humbled big time because I’m not one to accept help. Knowing that someone had my back and I wasn’t going to get thrown out of my home helped us heal without that worry of when the shoe would drop. Knowing BHH had our back made the healing process so much easier because I knew I had the help I needed. I don’t usually accept help, but I really needed it.”
Several months later around Thanksgiving, she received another phone call from Bringing Hope Home asking her if she’d like to receive a meal during the Family, Feast and Football Thanksgiving meal giveaway. With all of the money gone from her treatment and surgeries, she didn’t think she’d be able to host her family for Thanksgiving. She broke down because she wouldn’t have had her family together as she usually did if she didn’t get the help. To Linda, family is everything, so to be able to bring her family together around the table for a Thanksgiving meal made her feel as though she had a lot to be thankful for.
After also receiving gift cards to help with her groceries, Linda knew she wanted to give back in some way, so she gathered her friends and family to put together a team for Bringing Hope Home’s Hope Nation STOMPs Cancer Virtual 5K & Walk. Linda was so excited and trained hard for it on the treadmill. Unfortunately, she had a surgery scheduled just before the race and was unable to participate, but that didn’t stop her! Linda encouraged her friends and family to make signs and spread the Unexpected Amazingness near and far while cheering them on from the sidelines.
In addition to putting together a team for the 5K, Linda also pays it forward by purchasing supplies with gift cards from friends and family to make blankets for others going through treatment. Linda says, “If you can help someone else while you’re going through it, that’s even better.”
Linda’s spirit is incredible. Her greatest piece of advice for others going through a cancer battle is to always try to keep a positive attitude for your loved ones and yourself. In regard to her cancer diagnosis, she notes that there are two ways to look at it. Of course, there is the not-so-bright side, but Linda encourages you to always look at the bright side. For her, it was a blessing because it brought her family even closer.
She also encourages others with cancer to be transparent and to let those around you know how you’re really doing so they can do things for you that will truly help. She says, “Let people know how you are and what you need. Be transparent. You have to let people know. It’s super important.”
Caretakers need to make sure they’re taking care of themselves, too, Linda notes. When she received her cancer diagnosis, Linda’s daughter jumped right in and took charge making charts, going to every single doctor’s appointment and making sure there was always someone there to take care of and help Linda when she needed it. She always makes Linda feel better and lifts her up, but Linda worries about her a lot. Linda said, “It eats you up not knowing how to care for your caretaker. How do I help her if she doesn’t show her feelings?”
Linda, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your Family. We feel honored that we’ve been able to be a part of it, and we wish you a healthy future!