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Aracely was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, and underwent a double mastectomy. It was difficult to keep up with the bills, but she managed. Three years later, while in remission, Aracely became pregnant with her second child. She had a baby boy in June 2021. Then she learned that the cancer had returned.
She started chemo postpartum, almost immediately after delivery.
Even with health insurance covering some of her costs, it was scary for Aracely to see so many “zeros” on each bill, representing thousands of dollars in medical expenses. But for the costs that insurance wouldn’t cover, Aracely wondered: “What am I supposed to do with this?”
She didn’t choose to become sick, but Aracely did have to choose between treatment or medical debt — an immense burden during a time when she needed to focus on her health and family.
Aracely believes that policymakers should do more to help people like her and protect them from medical debt. “No one wants to be sick and choose between life or debt,” Aracely said.
Aracely credits her two sons for helping her to stay positive and keep going.