At our first event in Miramar, I met so many amazing women. Today, I want to dedicate my blog to a person who has taught me the value of life and has shown me why The Lily Project exists.
I'll call her Julia.
Most Lily events begin with many women just scouting out the project – curious about our team or our procedures; others arrive because a friend told them about the project or because they have a problem and they’ve come for the free advice.
Julia arrived as a curious girl. Just 28 years old, she was a mother of 4 children; she had her first child when she was just 16 years old. Now a housewife, she approached the event with some doubts about whether she would partake in the female health exam.
After participating in our lecture on sexual health and hearing us talk about how we may feel good, but we dont know what’s going on inside our bodies”, Julia decided to accept the free cervical exam we offer – the first PAP or cervical exam Julia had ever had.
When I performed the cervical exam (a visual inspection with acetic acid: VIA) on Julie, I immediately uncovered multiple high-grade lesions (NIC III+). While the Lily Team offers free cryotherapy treatment to our patients at the events to resolve most lesions, I knew right away that this patient was beyond the level that we could treat in the community. After discussing the situation with Julia, I referred her to the doctor in charge at the nearest health center in order to get a PAP completed and registered with the Department of Health. The PAP confirmed our result: Julia had a high-grade intraepithelial lesion (LIAG) a NIC III. Leveraging our relationship with the health department, the Lily Team immediately got an order approved at the hospital to perform a colposcopy biopsy.
In less than 3 days we had everything ready, but the hardest part for me was explaining the test results and the procedures to Julia. She was a strong woman, and I stared into her eyes as tears ran down her cheeks. She hugged me and told me she was not afraid for herself but for her children.
Despite the fear, Julia followed our advice and moved forward with the surgery. The oncology doctor discovered the cancer was aggressive and decided the best option was a hysterectomy. Julia accepted.
Eight months passed by and The Lily Project returned to Miramar to host another women’s health event and perform controls (check-ups) on the women who had received cryotherapy. To our surprise, one of the first faces we saw was Julia. She arrived early to thank us and tell us how happy she was that she attended our last event and made the decision to take the cervical exam. She said the exam changed her life. While the decision to move forward with the surgery was extremely difficult, the resolution of the problem brought her life and hope. Her smile beamed from her face as she enthusiastically told us everything that had happened since we last visited.
The reality for us is that people like Julia are the reason we launched The Lily Project. To see her smile, experience her hope and know she will live a healthy, happy, long life with her children makes every health event worth it.