1400 N Ritter Ave, Suite 340
Indianapolis, IN 46219
The call came February 25 confirming what 29 year-old Najala feared: she had breast cancer. She knew a long road lay ahead, but she didn’t expect the support that rallied around her.
“In the beginning, I was scared and confused,” she said. “I had a lot of anxiety, and I was very nervous.”
With her parents and boyfriend Jordan accompanying her, Najala met with Robert Goulet, MD, an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician specializing in breast surgery, and her nurse navigator Natalie at Community Cancer Center East. They explained her different options for surgery and treatments and made her and her family feel more at ease.
“I was surprised at how welcoming they were and how genuine their concern was for me,” she said. “They said they would take the best care of me, and I truly felt like they had my back.”
In May, Najala underwent a lumpectomy before beginning chemotherapy treatment under the care of Anuj Agarwala, MD, an MD Anderson Cancer Network certified physician specializing in medical oncology. She will complete eight rounds before beginning radiation treatment.
Fighting cancer has proven to take not only a physical and emotional toll, but a financial one as well.
Najala has been employed by a local grocery store for the last 12 years, working her way from customer service to their accounting department. Yet, between surgery and her chemotherapy treatment regimen, she has been unable to work.
Community’s donor-funded Oncology Patient Assistance Fund provided help in the form of a $250 gift card that can be used to purchase groceries, gas or medicine. This generosity from others provided Najala with some relief.
“I was so worried about being financially able to care for myself,” she said. “The gift card Community gave me helped me to buy groceries and toiletries, and it also let me focus more on my health.”
Najala feels confident in her care team, and she appreciates how they have taken the time to get to know her and put her at ease.
“I will never forget when I was really struggling with anxiety about this process, and Dr. Goulet looked at me and said, ‘Do you pray?’” she said. “I am a very spiritual person, and it felt good to know that he would bring up faith as a source of support.”
In the months since her diagnosis, Najala has grown more confident in her treatment path and what comes next. She feels supported by her clinical team, her family, boyfriend and friends, and her church family.
“I still feel down or scared every now and then, but it is better than before,” she said. “Before, it was all the unknown. Now, I have a plan. I know what to expect. And I know I can rely on the guidance and expertise of Dr. Goulet and Natalie to make this process as smooth as possible.”