Often cancer comes with a triple whammy, bringing not only physical and emotional punches, but also financial hits. For Tiesse Wallace, these three mounting obstacles were all collaborating to affect her ability to get proper treatment and beat her Stage IV metastatic breast cancer last fall.
Tiesse was having trouble finding money for gas to get to her treatments at Henry Ford Hospital, as well as in danger of losing phone service and missing doctors’ calls, when her hospital social worker pointed her to New Day. Not only was she struggling financially, but also emotionally, feeling isolated, alone and extremely stressed about caring for her children. New Day immediately stepped in to help with rent, gas cards and phone service, but more importantly, to bring HOPE to Tiesse and her family.
“It meant the world to me,” exclaimed Tiesse. “It changed my outlook because I was so sad and depressed, just thinking, what am I going to do? How will I feed the kids? Thinking no one cared. New Day’s help took so much weight off of me.”
“I feel like people have been overwhelmingly wonderful; I’m in disbelief how everyone is so wonderful,” she added. “It helps, I swear. I cried (during the Holiday Program) when a Sterling Heights police officer adopted my family for Christmas. I didn’t think that many people even cared.”
After fighting her cancer for more than a year, enduring a mastectomy, chemo and radiation, Tiesse said she has improved tremendously. Although she feels she has conquered many of the obstacles in her path, she still struggles to heal herself and her family emotionally.
“This disease brings out so many feelings on a day to day basis. My moods change, am I going to be ok? I wish I could put it out of mind. Everything reminds me of it, but I just try to stay as positive as possible.”
As with many families facing cancer, the disease doesn’t just affect the patient – it affects the whole family. For Tiesse, her older children struggle the most, facing anger, resentment and falling grades.
“There has been a big shift in the kids,” she explains. “The stress of knowing what I face and seeing me sick is kind of hard on them (mainly the older ones, age 12 and 15). That bothers me so much. It’s hard, having to put on a good face for them when I’m always sick. I struggle with mental aspect of learning how to cope and teaching them how to cope. I think I’ve conquered everything else.”
Today Tiesse is a voice of support for other New Day families, always encouraging them with her prayers and positive comments on facebook when she reads their stories on the New Day page. She thought she was alone too, and now she wants others to know that New Day is there to help.