This Article appeared in the Million Dollar Round Table Magazine March/April 2007
'Planning to spend a couple of months at home after a simple surgical procedure, Brenda Christobelle Mohammed had no idea that she would spend the next several months treating a cancerous tumour.
Brenda, a four-year MDRT member from Trinidad postponed a doctor recommended surgical procedure to late summer 2005 to allow her to attend the 2005 MDRT Annual Meeting as planned for June in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The day after the surgery, Brenda’s doctor told her news she did not expect.
The procedure had been interrupted because of what the doctor found, and she was awaiting lab results.
A few days later, Brenda was discharged and instructed to retrieve the results, then bring them to the doctor to open.
But, Brenda was too anxious to wait. “I ripped open the envelope and was stunned to see the comments,” she said. “I had a malignant tumour.”
The doctor had more bad news.
The cancer cells were the type that could rapidly spread and required immediate treatment abroad.
Brenda obtained the name of a well- referred oncologist and flew to the United States to see him.
”He was calm and very reassuring, explaining that he could not perform another operation so soon after the first,” she said.
The oncologist recommended that she do three sessions of chemotherapy to stop the cancer from spreading before another surgery could be done to remove the tumour.
When the whirlwind of the cancer diagnosis began to die down, new fear about the cost of treatment crept up on her.
She was forced to stay in the United States for several months to receive treatment.
Though she was able to stay with her daughter in Florida, the treatments were expensive at US$16,000.00 per session.
Before she left Trinidad, she thought ahead and submitted claims for her two critical illness policies, worth US$65,000.00.
Group medical insurance was provided by her employers, but she had to pay upfront and submit the claims afterward.
“When the doctor’s assistant called with the cost of the chemotherapy, it was very high, but luckily I had critical illness insurance and the peace of mind that I had the funds,” she said.
With the second surgery, the doctor successfully removed the tumour, and the chemotherapy treatments had stopped any spreading.
As a precaution, she continued chemotherapy for three months, first returning to Trinidad to celebrate Christmas with her family.
Between the chemotherapy treatments, both before and after surgery, and the surgical and hospital fees, her bout with cancer cost US$123,000.00. Her health insurance combined with critical illness insurance payouts covered $113,000.00, leaving her savings to bear the rest of the burden.
“Without those insurances, my savings and those of my husband would have been depleted completely, and we may even have had to borrow some,” she said.
This experience has made me more determined to tell everyone about the value of insurance.
Without it, I would not have been in a position to afford overseas treatment, and be here to tell my story.”
Read Brenda's Memoir, I am Cancer Free available at Amazon Universal Link
The Book received the Mc Grath's House Award for Best Non=Fiction in 2016.
It also received a five-star review and seal from Readers Favorite in 2017.
Look out for the new Book Cover coming soon.