But it did happen.
And now, Paulette is a breast cancer survivor because she maintained regular check-ups.
Paulette was faithful to get yearly health screenings, including mammograms, despite her lack of health insurance. Working for a small Dalton-based company, Paulette doesn't have access to affordable health insurance. Yet, not to be deterred from seeking basic healthcare, Paulette gets physicals each year at the Whitfield County Health Department's Medical Access Clinic (MAC).*
It was there during her physical last October that the abnormality was detected.
"The MAC nurse felt a very small knot," said Paulette, "so small, it's no wonder I didn't notice it myself when doing my monthly self breast exams."
MAC staff assisted Paulette in getting a mammogram and diagnostic evaluation through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP).**
When it was confirmed she had cancer and she needed surgery, the staff helped her apply for assistance through the Women's Health Medicaid Program.***
"I was reeling from the shock of being diagnosed with breast cancer and wondering 'What do I do next?'," Paulette recalled. "But the health department staff was there for me, connecting me to resources I needed."
Now, she feels like her old self again.
"I never thought I would get cancer," said Paulette, "but, because I didn't let circumstances keep me from getting yearly check-ups and from seeking help when breast cancer was detected, I'm here to enjoy life with my grandchildren."
*Whitfield County Health Department's Medical Access Clinic (MAC) - http://nghd.org/Whitfield-County-Health- Department/macservices.html
**Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) - http://health.state.ga.us/programs/bccp/index.asp
***Women's Health Medicaid Program - http://health.state.ga.us/programs/womensmedicaid/index.asp