Diana Thomas Finally Gets a Diagnosis and Care

DianaThomas“I lost my insurance when I stopped working to care for my father who was sick. Then my husband got sick. I have always been healthy and have never been in the hospital. For the last year I was walking around without an immune system. I had a big rash on my chest and breast. They were like blisters. I had the same primary care doctor for years so I went to see him and he sent me to a dermatologist.The dermatologist said it was a fungus and gave me a samples of cream to use (I was not able to pay the $100 for the cream). For a whole year after that I had been putting on the cream and wondering if the rash was going to go away. I kept wondering if it was my clothes, or a reaction to the lotions I was using. I also went to the hospital emergency room for a pain in my side and they took an x-ray and said it was a sore muscle. At the end of last May, a friend of mine who is an Registered Nurse was visiting and I showed her my rash. She said I needed to get in to see a doctor and she told me about the Family Practice & Counseling Network (FPCN).  I called them at 8 am and they asked if I could be there at 9:20 am that same day.  I showed the nurse and FPCN Executive Director, Donna Torrisi, my rash and she said she was going to give me a blood test.  I asked, ‘Why a blood test?’  And she said she didn’t like the way it looked. On Wednesday she called me with the test result and told me to go to the emergency room. She said my white count was close to 300,000. I have leukemia.  I thought it was so special that a Community Health Center took time to call me to tell me the results. Now my sisters are getting tested for bone marrow. The nurse (Donna Torrisi) said to me that she would get tested if it was not a match. My testimony in church last Sunday was about caring. For me to go to her and to have her be that concerned has saved me. I don’t know what else to say except that I commend the whole Community Health Center. They have also connected me to the hospital to receive chemotherapy. People should know what Community Health Centers are and how they are helping people who don’t have insurance without worrying about how they are getting paid if the person is uninsured.”

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