Only 35 years old.
An extensive family history.
Already a cancer survivor, now facing a new diagnosis.
Imagine being 35 years old, with a husband, two young daughters, and a bright future ahead of you – and discovering you have cancer for the second time. It happened to Julie B., one of our Ohio-based collections specialists. There’s no doubt about it. Julie had a lot of things to be concerned about when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But she also had a lot to live for.
Julie has an extensive family history of cancer. “My mom, my aunt and my grandmother all had some type of cancer – breast cancer, fallopian tube cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer. At eighteen, I had cervical cancer and went through chemo,” Julie explains. Because of this history, her OB-GYN advised her to have an early mammogram and to be tested for the BRCA gene, which is one of the best-know genes linked to breast cancer. It’s a good thing she followed that advice. Results showed that Julie carries the BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutations, and the mammogram showed that she had stage 1 breast cancer.
Julie credits her doctor with saving her life. “The type of cancer I had striates – or spreads –across the breast, so it’s often not caught until stage 3 or 4,” she explains. What saved my life was my gynecologist paying attention to my family history and advising me to have a mammogram.”
Before doing breast surgery, Julie’s doctor advised that she have a full hysterectomy to stop the production of cancer-feeding hormones. From there, she could have chosen a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Julie agreed to the hysterectomy, and decided on a double mastectomy to prevent any future recurrence of her breast cancer. “I discussed the decision with my husband and daughters. It’s very hard to lose both your breasts. But it was to save my life. I had two children and a husband to live for. For me, it’s as though there was no other option,” she says.
In addition to the significant emotional impact of Julie’s breast cancer, there was a financial impact as well. “It was beyond what we expected,” she explains. “We’re still recovering to this day.” Although Julie’s illness prevented her from working for three years, and expenses quickly added up. She adds, “We lost our house, but thankfully we found another. Even with really good health insurance, you don’t realize the cost.”
Last October, Julie joined the Axcess Financial family – which includes Check `n Go and Allied Cash Advance. She’s been moving toward a healthy and secure future, thanks to the support of her family and friends. The debt created by her health situation gives her a compassionate viewpoint on the customers she calls on.
Julie credits her mother, a 23-year cancer survivor, with helping to keep her strong throughout her ordeal. “I could not have asked for a better person to have as an example,” she says. “She taught me how to fight.” Julie’s mother endured difficult treatments for her cancer, including, Julie says, 96 continuous hours of chemotherapy and a procedure to freeze her stem cells. “My mom did it for my siblings and me. That’s why I keep fighting.” She also credits her stepdad with providing support and guidance to her husband along the way.
But it wasn’t just her parents Julie had to live for. “My husband and daughters were so amazing and so supportive. My husband said, ‘we need you, and we need you to stay alive.’ The night before, my kids were hugging me. I know I would not have made it through without them,” she concludes.
Julie’s Advice for Anyone Fighting Cancer:
It’s a tough moment in your life. But this will pass. You can make it through anything. There are going to be uphill battles again and again. But you have to keep going. Decide what’s important to you and focus on that. This is not a fight you have to do alone. Talk to your family and share with others. There are so many groups on Facebook that are great for support as well. Knowledge is power.