Envision yourself being away from your family in a different state. You don’t have many friends and your health is weakening. Your options are limited due to not having health insurance. Then you find a group of people who are able to help you, no matter how detrimental your health is. That’s the story of Margie Wigge, a patient at Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Clinic who had a few bumps in the road.
Margie moved to Martin County from St. Louis, MO in 2012. She was referred to the VIM Clinic by Martin Health System. Margie noticed a lump on her breast and the VIM Clinic sent her to Dr. James Vopal. Once she was examined, it came back that she had breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes. After experiencing dizziness, Margie went for an MRI and a head computed tomography (CT) and they discovered that the cancer had spread to her brain as well.
When Margie was informed of her condition she wasn’t discouraged. She was confident that her health would make a turn for the better. Margie knew the VIM Clinic would be able to provide the necessary services to tackle her cancer.
“I’m a strong Christian with strong faith, I just thought ‘okay God it’s in your hands now.’ I told all the doctors and nurses when I met them, if you tell me something and you don’t get the reaction you expected it’s because I have strong faith and I decided to let God handle everything,” said Margie.
Margie underwent four weeks of radiation for her brain. She lost about 95 percent of her hair, but then overtime her brain started to heal. The doctors decided not to do chemotherapy, instead they prescribed her Letrozole, and she takes one tablet a day. It’s a slow process but Margie has noticed some improvement and her hair has since grown back.
“I’m very grateful. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t have Volunteers in Medicine directing me and helping me. There my support system and they appreciate my attitude. I couldn’t tell you how many times people have said ‘you are just so grateful, positive, and I wish we can bottle that.’ Having a positive attitude when you have something like this (breast cancer) does make a difference,” said Margie.
On November 1 Margie will be eligible for Medicare and she’ll no longer be a patient at VIM. She’s gloomy over the thought of not being a patient anymore. Since her family lives in St. Louis, Margie considers the VIM Clinic to be her second family.
“I’ve never met a nicer and caring group of individuals,” said Margie. “There’s been a lot of changes and paper work. Now I’m pretty much going to be on my own whereas before Volunteers in Medicine did everything.”
Margie and the VIM Clinic is thankful for the help of Dr. James Vopal of the Breast Cancer Center and Dr. Nicholas Iannotti, of Martin Health System. They played a major part in making sure Margie stayed on track to recovery.
The VIM Clinic provides health services for uninsured Martin County residents. Patients don’t have Medicaid and one person can earn $23,760 or less. For more information call (772) 463-4128 or online at vimclinic.net.