The news that she had breast cancer was just sinking in when Joyce Gray started to fear an even bigger battle: paying her household bills while she was undergoing treatment.
Gray, 53, would have to take a leave from her job as a housekeeper for Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington for six months while she underwent a lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.
“It was just devastating,” she said. “The biggest thing was my bills. I was just worried; how am I going to pay all those?”
Then Gray received a call that she said was God answering one of her biggest prayers. A navigator at Saint Joseph East asked if she’d like to sign up for financial support through the Yes, Mamm! program.
“With one phone call, everything changed,” Gray said. “All I could say was, ‘Oh Lord God, thank you.’”
Gray received support to cover her bills, erasing all her fears.
“I didn't have to focus on bills but could focus on getting well,” she said. “I was able to be comfortable and live comfortably in my home.”
Gray said she also had incredible support from her medical team at CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care at Saint Joseph East, including Dr. Jessica Croley. “She takes her time and listens to you,” Gray said. “I wouldn’t want to be treated anywhere else.”
She said her colleagues in Environmental Services at Saint Joseph Hospital also cheered her on, even making a banner that said “Together we fight,” placing a crown on her head and handing her thoughtful gifts.
She said her faith in God, family, church, friends, physicians and colleagues helped her through one of the hardest times of her life.
“I don’t know what I would have done without them,” she said. They were right here with me when I was sick.”
Gray is now back at work and still healing from side effects from treatment. She’ll continue to take medicine for the next five years. She lost her hair during chemotherapy but said she now wears her short hair proudly because she said it tells her story of survival.