Patient Spotlights

SUPPORTING PATIENTS.FUNDING CARE.PROVIDING HOPE.

ALYSSA

At 31 years old, Alyssa was focused on her goals like buying a home, a strong relationship with her boyfriend, and excelling at her job as a supervisor in an Early Intervention program for children. At her core she is a planner who is focused on taking care of others. She did not expect to feel a lump in her breast that would lead to a diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer with HER 2 positive genes that took her through 16 treatments of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and then 30 days of radiation.

 

Even though her doctor said cancer was unlikely, Alyssa knew in her gut something was wrong. The diagnosis came in January 2020. “The hardest part was telling my mom and my sister. I asked my mom to tell my dad. I just couldn’t say ‘I have cancer’ one more time that day,” Alyssa explained. Her February was full of fertility treatments to enable her to freeze her eggs. Cancer treatment can impact women’s quality of eggs and their ability to have children.

 

In March, just as the COVID-19 Pandemic began to surge, Alyssa began 16 treatments of chemotherapy over 20 weeks. “I kept my head down and pushed through my appointments. My side effects weren’t as bad as I expected.” Alyssa continued to work and was able to do so because her job was now virtual. In a strange way, COVID was a silver lining for Alyssa. It forced her to slow down and enabled her to continue work. This young woman is a doer. She sets goals and achieves them! On her last day of chemotherapy, she planned and completed at 5k race!

 

Then came the radiation. Alyssa was exhausted, sleeping ten hours a day. The emotional and mental exhaustion of a breast cancer diagnosis caught up to her. Originally, she did not want to cut back or stop working. She had goals to achieve and a house fund to build! That is when Ellie Fund came in to help. Ellie Fund provided grocery gift cards and prepared meals to Alyssa for three months. “Ellie Fund let me stop working and take the time I needed to focus on my recovery,” Alyssa shared. She budgeted her grocery gift cards to ensure she maximized their help and saved the prepared meals for when she knew she was going to be at her most tired.

 

“Ellie Fund was the only program that would talk to me while I was still working because they don’t ask about income,” Alyssa shared. Ellie Fund understands the financial toxicity of breast cancer. 

Just because a person’s previous W-2 makes them look comfortable on paper; it does not reflect their needs during cancer treatment. Without Ellie Fund, Alyssa may have felt she had to rush back to work. Instead, she could plan, strategize and focus on her total health.

 

 

Even during her exhaustion Alyssa needed to stay busy. Being someone who is always looking to help others, Alyssa created a comprehensive resource list that she is teaming up with survivingbreastcancer.org to distribute to help others.

 

 

As of 2021, Alyssa has almost completed treatment and gone back to work. She has immunotherapy scheduled every three weeks until June 8th.  Alyssa and her boyfriend will close on their home together in just a few weeks. Goal achieved!