Wilma Ochoa Finds Guidance in Her Journey
In 2013, Wilma Ochoa was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her doctors made an appointment for her with Cancer Navigators. She shares, in her own words, how the staff guided her through her difficult journey.
Taking the Helm
“Sometimes you can’t be at the helm of your own ship. That’s where they step in so you can relax and breathe and enjoy life. When they take over, I don’t do anything. I sit back and just say ‘thank you’.
It’s hard to put into words what they have done for me. They do everything. They go out of their way, and they will come to see me at my house. Denise Powers, the counselor, has an open door policy, which I use frequently. Many times Denise has calmed me down just by me listening to her.
Lena Crooker went with me to my appointments and made sure I was comfortable, made sure I had transportation and made sure I had an outside caregiver. You couldn’t imagine doing that much for you and not really knowing you.”
Calming Her Storm
“When I first came, I was hesitant, and they saw straight through that. They explained that you are not showing a sign of weakness when you ask for help.
If they would call, I used to say ‘I’m fine, I’m fine.’ But I’ve changed a lot.
I went in remission for three years, but in January of 2016, I was diagnosed with bone cancer. Once again, I called Cancer Navigators, and we all got together, and we talked. They assured me that everything is going to be alright.”
Lifting Her above the Waves
“I love to participate in Cancer Navigators’ activities. The one I like best is when Denise has a relaxation support group. You think your story is bad, until someone else shares theirs. Then you get some perspective, and you pray for them.
I love the weekend retreats. I don’t want to leave. I ask if I can do something to stay, like cut the grass. I tell them I don’t take up much room.
Those support groups – a lot of people need them. You still have people who are skeptical and are afraid to ask for help. Their fears are legitimate. But I tell them you have to trust someone. Going to Cancer Navigators is step one.”
“People who don’t know about Cancer Navigators don’t know what they are missing. I try to tell people about all they do and that you don’t have to be afraid. They know me better than I know myself. If you ask for help, you will get it with a smile and a hug. They will help you any way they can, and if they can’t, they will find someone who can.
I think more people need to know that they are out there. I would advise people to not be scared to ask for help. It’s confusing, and when you start on that journey and you are at a crossroads, they help you.
I thank God that we have someone here. Because in a lot of places, people who have cancer have no one, and that’s very sad.
They will be with me, I think, until the end of time. First, they were my friends. Now, they are my family. I love them.”