For Roxanne Fabun, November 9, 2022, marked the beginning of a journey she never could have anticipated. A six-centimeter tumor extending from her cervix to her vagina revealed cervical cancer, and with this diagnosis, her life took a turn.
Like many, Roxanne had been apprehensive about doctors due to past experiences in her family. However, her symptoms had become too severe to ignore. She had been experiencing symptoms such as not being able to keep food down after eating, rapid weight loss, and excessive bleeding, and it was clear that something was seriously wrong.
With her health deteriorating rapidly, Roxanne made the difficult decision to seek medical help. “I started to get dizzy and thought I was going to black out. I finally gave in and called my sister to let her know I needed help.”
Roxanne’s sister Danielle rushed her to the hospital only to encounter an experience with health insurance that was far from straightforward. She found herself caught in a frustrating web of insurance perils. Discovering that her job did not offer insurance coverage only added to the complexity of the situation. “I did not have health insurance. I had made too much money to qualify for MedCal and Covered California was too expensive. Plans I could afford did not cover more than three visits a year,” she explained. It was a reminder of the gaps in the healthcare system that many individuals face.
The medical team began the process of diagnosing and treating Roxanne’s condition, and she found herself enduring a series of painful examinations, tests, and procedures. Roxanne’s journey was marked not only by physical pain but also by the emotional toll of facing the unknown. “In order to remove the tumor, they would need to remove my uterus, colon, and bladder, and I would be going to the bathroom in a bag for the rest of my life,” she describes.
As Roxanne met with oncologists and specialists, she received a devastating prognosis. The cancer had progressed significantly, and her treatment options were limited. It was a stark reminder of the fragility of life and the challenges of facing a life-altering illness.
Despite the grim prognosis, Roxanne continued to fight. She embarked on a challenging journey of radiation and chemotherapy, enduring physical and emotional hardships along the way. The pain, hair loss, and side effects were constant reminders of her battle.
Throughout her journey, Roxanne has leaned on her support network. In particular, her sister Danielle plays a crucial role in providing care and the encouragement she needs to keep going. “We have been there for each other in good and bad times. This is tough for all of us to wrap our heads around,” Danielle reflects. Showing up in a way that only a sister can, Danielle and Roxanna remodeled the living room space together to keep her spirits up, and since May, they have been knocking things off of Roxanne’s bucket list together.
Roxanne’s cancer journey is a poignant reminder of the resilience that can arise in any one of us when faced with an arduous journey. Her story highlights the importance of accessible healthcare and the need for support during difficult times. As Roxanne continues her fight, she serves as an inspiration to all those who are facing their own battles. Her journey is a testament to the enduring hope that can be found in even the darkest of times.