“Are you ready to start getting better?”
Those were the first words that I remember hearing, after my neurosurgeon told me that I had cancer. I was seven years old, and had been doing tests all day. My mom and my aunt had been in another waiting room and I had been sitting by myself for maybe five minutes, when a woman I had met earlier, Dr. Woodward came in and told me the news. Being young she told me in a very simple terms that I was really sick with a thing called cancer, and that I had a big ball (Tumor) in my brain, but not to worry, because she was going to take care of me and everything was going to be okay. She then asked me if I was ready to get better, and I said “yes”.
On June 23, 2006 I found out that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That was two weeks after I graduated from high school. I had already planned on going away for college and was getting everything ready for that. Since I had cancer, my plans changed. I would no longer be able to go to school of any kind because I knew I would be to sick to get out of bed some days. Because I was turning 19 in August of that same year and wouldn’t be able to go to college our insurance company informed my parents that they would have to purchase a separate policy for me and still pay for the family plan they had. That added a tremendous financial hardship for them. NYS requires that at 19 you be in school full time or they won’t cover you on your family plan if you have cancer.
My name is James M. Jimenez, I am 22 years old, and on April 9, 2008 I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. I am currently receiving chemo & radiation therapy and will have surgery in July, followed by an additional 4 to 6 months of chemotherapy.
I have moved back in with my parents and have exhausted my savings just with my prescription co-pays. At this time I have over $7,000.00 in unpaid medical bills.