Several years of pain and hardship are finally over for MEDLIFE follow-up patient and mother of three, Nery Huaman Salas. In January of 2015, Nery had an operation to remove a troublesome tumor in her breast that she had lived with for six years, along with the antagonizing fear that it could be cancerous.
Several months before the operation, in the summer of 2014, Nery’s journey began when she first connected with MEDLIFE at a mobile clinic held in a community of Nueva Esperanza, located in the hills of Lima, Peru. Nery knew she should take advantage of the services offered at the mobile clinic because her access to health care is very limited, she explained. It was during a routine breast exam that the doctor discovered her breast tumor.
The doctor’s discovery was not news to Nery; she had lived with the tumor, a fibroadenoma, overwhelming her daily life for years. However, due to limited economic resources, receiving the appropriate medical care was never attainable.
Nery is unable to provide an income right now as a stay-at-home mother and her husband’s irregular salary of $50/week is barely enough to provide for a family of five, let alone afford an expensive operation. Nery felt trapped without the resources or ability to improve her situation.
Despite her financial obstacle, Nery frequently tried her hand at different approaches to make an operation possible, but to no avail. At one point, for example, when Nery visited a doctor at the hospital she was assigned a SIS — a health care plan for people with low economic resources — she walked away with only disappointing news.
Nery said the doctor seemed unconcerned about her tumor. He told her not to worry—she did not need an operation. Nery did not trust the doctor’s judgment and she speculates he had come to that conclusion only because her health plan would not cover follow-up care, like an operation. Disregarding the doctor’s recommendation, Nery did worry—a lot. The pain was unbearable and she feared for her health.
Just when Nery thought she was out of luck, MEDLIFE informed her that they would support her to afford the medical care she needed. “The truth is I had no other option,” Nery admitted.
From that point forward, MEDLIFE worked with Nery every step of the way; supporting her through the medical appointments like biopsies, ultrasounds, and eventually to her operation to ensure the tumor’s removal. “Before I was in significant pain,” Neary said, recounting the years of being in constant discomfort. “But now I don’t feel it anymore. I’m not in pain anymore.”
Nery is currently recovering from the operation at a family friend’s house located down the hill from her own house because the steep paths and rocky terrain make it too difficult for her to access during the healing process.
As Nery remains a follow-up patient, MEDLIFE will continue to ensure Nery gets the medical care she needs so she can live a healthy life for herself and for her children.