When 37-year-old April Troxel found a lump in her breast in January 2021, her first thought was disbelief — and her second thought was, “how are we going to pay for this?”
Like so many Americans, April’s insurance didn’t cover any diagnostic imaging, including mammograms for breast cancer screenings. She spent a few months trying to track down funding assistance before realizing that she couldn’t wait any longer.
“This could be something serious,” she remembers thinking. “It’s time to get this done.”
April and her husband agreed that they’d pay for the mammogram — the peace of mind was worth it. In May 2021, April was dismayed to hear she needed an ultrasound in addition to her mammogram. The team then told her she also needed a biopsy.
“The whole time, I was trying to stay positive, but all I could think about was how the money was adding up,” says April. “It was so many appointments and tests.”
After a second diagnostic mammogram, April was referred to Heidi Murley, MD, a breast surgeon at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. During that visit, April finally learned all of her testing results: she had breast cancer.
From Negative to Positive
From Negative to Positive
The news hit April hard. As a wife and a mother of two daughters, ages five and ten, she knew she needed to be strong — but struggled to get her head around her diagnosis.
“I was feeling so negative,” says April. “Everything felt overwhelmingly negative. We were trying to figure out the next steps and how to pay for everything — it felt like nothing but bad news.”
April shared her insurance concerns with her nurse navigator Liz Krallman, who assured her that they’d work with the Troxels to figure it out. Unbeknownst to April, Liz reached out to Madonna Vinicombe, Mobile Mammography Program Manager at St. Elizabeth, to see if there were any opportunities for financial assistance.
During April’s next appointment with Dr. Murley, Liz told her she had great news: all of April’s imaging costs would be covered from funds raised from Rally for the Cure.
“That was the turning point,” says April. “It was my first smile through this whole thing. That one positive thing changed my mindset — and turned everything else positive.”
Support When You Need it the Most
April underwent a successful lumpectomy, and after more tests, her team created a treatment plan focused on radiation but not chemotherapy. April explains that she would have undergone chemotherapy a few years ago, given her young age and type of breast cancer. However, a recently published case study gives concrete evidence that chemotherapy isn’t necessary in specific breast cancer cases — and April fell into that category.
“And all of the women who participated in clinical trials, put themselves out there, just to pay it forward — there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude,” says April.
She is currently undergoing radiation and speaks so highly of the care and support she receives from her medical team and the breast cancer programs. April recently received gift cards to help offset the cost of gas, which is greatly appreciated on her hour-plus commute from Indiana to St. Elizabeth on treatment days. She also speaks highly of the St. Elizabeth Women’s Health Boutique for helping her pick out a radiation cream and comfortable post-surgery sports bras.
“Everyone at St. Elizabeth has been so incredibly helpful and supportive,” says April. “I just know that God put me there for a reason. The people in my path have been amazing.”
April was able to switch her insurance to a plan with a deductible and a cap, which has been a tremendous relief with her ongoing treatment. She continues to be amazed at the strength and support surrounding her, from family, friends, breast cancer survivors and even strangers taking time to reach out.
“I want to thank all the women who have shared their breast cancer journeys with me because I’ve found such strength and support in their stories,” says April. “Having someone who has gone through this, giving you true tips and seeing that they survived — it’s amazing.”
April looks forward to completing her treatment this fall and starting the next chapter of her breast cancer journey: sharing her survivorship story with others.
“I’ve got this,” she says. “We’re going to beat it.”
St. Elizabeth Healthcare: We’re Right Here
St. Elizabeth partners with Rally for the Cure to raise money and provide support for breast cancer patients and was the proud presenting sponsor for the recent golf outing. Proceeds from Rally for the Cure go directly to benefiting patients like April Troxel. Donate now to the Rally for the Cure.
For more information or to make a mammography appointment at St. Elizabeth, schedule via MyChart or call (859) 655-7400.