Finding a Reason to Heal

I didn’t know what to do. I needed insurance, but couldn’t afford it. I’d fought every year to renew my Medicaid, even though I never used it. Then suddenly they kicked me off while I clearly qualified. So when the breast lump appeared, and kept growing no matter what I tried, I couldn’t face fighting again to get Medicaid. I also didn’t want the medical care I thought Medicaid would buy me. I’d seen radiation and surgery destroy my mother’s quality of life, and she died anyway.

I didn’t know what to do. I got stuck there – on not knowing – instead of asking the next question, “How can I…?” How can I get health insurance? How can I have at least some medical treatment options to consider?  Until I finally couldn’t function anymore.

That’s when my neighbor, who was helping me, called Doctors Care. We were looking for an urgent care doctor. Doctors Care’s clinic mostly focuses on pediatric primary care. But in that short, fortuitous conversation, my neighbor said I didn’t have insurance and Doctors Care said, “We can help with that.”  Turns out they also offer other services.

A friend drove me to Doctors Care. Twenty minutes later, I had Medicaid. Within a week, I was diagnosed with advanced cancer and hospitalized. My healing began.

But what was I healing towards? I’d lost my health, my physical mobility (due to spinal fractures from the cancer), my self esteem, my rental place and my money. I went from the hospital into a nursing home for 8 months. In that depressing environment, with no where to go when I was healed enough to leave, I struggled to have something to heal towards. I was facing a bleak prospect of daily life ahead.

A Health Navigator from Doctors Care’s Health Navigation program made the difference for me. She kept my hopes up by calling me every week, just to check on me, hear how I was doing, and see if there was anything she could do to help. At first, neither of us knew how she could help me, except to listen and encourage me. Her weekly calls were a vital lifeline for me. She kept offering to call the following week and I kept saying yes.

That Health Navigator was also willing to do research for me, since I was not even able to walk by myself, much less have the ability, energy and emotional reserve to do my own research. It is literally because she asked herself every week what she could do to help me, and then did research, that I was finally able to get enrolled in a transition program. That program is helping me navigate the system so that I can leave the nursing home and begin to live independently. No one else was succeeding at finding a way for me to even apply for that program. My Doctors Care Health Navigator also gave me other resources that I’ve been pursuing, for social support and financial support.

It’s vital to have a reason to heal. A reason to get up every morning despite being in a depressing environment. My Health Navigator at Doctors Care has been with me every week, listening, encouraging me and responding to my evolving situation with practical, vital help. She gave me hope for my future, a future where I can slowly find my way to a fulfilling life.

Doctors Care got me started healing by helping me get health insurance, and Doctors Care has been with me through all my ups and downs, cheering me on, and helping me access practical resources to get me from being trapped in a nursing home to realizing that I can recreate a good life in the years ahead.

By Vicki, a Doctors Care Health Navigation client

Little Free Pantry

The Little Free Pantry, newly installed at Doctors Care by students from Heritage High School, is featured in an article in the Littleton Independent. Read the article here to learn more about

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