Back to Top Skip to main content

Winning against breast cancer with the help of TRICARE

Air Force Col. Theresa Medina, 319th Medical Group commander, and her daughter Sophia, pose for a photo at a harvest festival Oct. 7, 2017 at Grand Forks, N.D. Medina was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer on Nov. 3, 2011, but with the help of TRICARE and the support of family and friends she is now cancer free. (Courtesy photo) Air Force Col. Theresa Medina, 319th Medical Group commander, and her daughter Sophia, pose for a photo at a harvest festival Oct. 7, 2017 at Grand Forks, N.D. Medina was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer on Nov. 3, 2011, but with the help of TRICARE and the support of family and friends she is now cancer free. (Courtesy photo)

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Women's Health

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. “I knew my life was going to change, I knew I was not in control, and that’s what scared me the most.” These are the thoughts that ran through Air Force Col. Theresa Medina’s mind as she was notified that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Fifteen minutes after finding out she landed a position as a squadron commander at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Medina found out she was diagnosed with cancer. She would have to stop everything and start chemotherapy immediately. 

“I was shocked; for 19 years I had almost no health issues, no history of breast cancer in my family,” Medina said. “I was in denial; there was nothing that could have prepared me for this news.” Initially, Medina kept the news to herself for fear of others seeing her as weak. She broke the news to close family and friends, including her daughter, which she says was the hardest part for her. 

“Having to explain to my 3-year-old daughter that mommy would have to go to the hospital was heartbreaking,” she said. “I can recall telling her that I would be losing my long hair and what she said still gets me emotional to this day; ‘Mommy, it’s OK, we’ll do this together.’ Her positivity and her understanding at her age was part of what gave me the strength to get through and fight it.” 

Even as she underwent constant treatments, Medina still managed to maintain her position as a squadron commander and as an Airman overall. The fear of not knowing what would be the outcome of each treatment quickly became a faint thought in the back of her mind as she strived to stay positive no matter what she was going through. 

“There were treatments after treatments every day, new medication that I didn’t know how my body would react to,” she said. “And that’s how it is with treating cancer, you never know what to expect. I looked at it as having a mission to complete; to get well and get back to work.” 

After going through countless treatments and labs, good news finally came. Medina learned her cancer was stage one, meaning the risk and remaining treatments would not be as severe and the possibility of the cancer coming back would be lessened. 

“When I heard the news that I had stage one cancer, I was relieved,” she said. “I had been receiving nothing but great care, and I was thankful that I would be able to finish up the treatment sooner rather than later.” 

Medina gives credit to the many civilian and military doctors who played a role in her journey to recovery from day one to today. The TRICARE office took careful steps to set her up with the best treatment center and surgeons in her area. 

“I am extremely grateful and appreciative for TRICARE. There would be times when I would go in the doctor’s office and see other patients struggling to figure out where their co-pays would come from or how they would be able to afford the $8,000 treatments, but TRICARE covered all of those expenses for me,” she said. “They ensured I was seen by the best, and in return I am cancer free.” 

When unforeseen situations like these occur, military members and their families rely on TRICARE for all medical issues. TRICARE provides medical coverage for active duty members and their dependents. While different regions have different avenues, it is important that members stay in the know when it comes to their regions. 

As the medical group commander, Medina highly recommends members visit their local TRICARE office for any questions or concerns. 

She said, “our number one concern is for our patients, we want to provide you with the best care possible.” 

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

Video
8/15/2019
MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

This video describes the various activities you can conduct through the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS

DS Logon

Video
8/15/2019
DHA Seal

This video describes the various portals you can access through your DS Logon account

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS

FEDVIP Vision 2019 Toolkit

Publication
8/9/2019

Use this Downloadable Toolkit to educate beneficiaries about the FEDVIP Vision Benefit

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

TRICARE Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration Program

Congressional Testimony
7/30/2019

S. 2943, SASC Report for FY 2017, 114-255, Pg. 205

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Autism Care Demonstration

FEDVIP Vision 2019 Screensaver

Publication
7/24/2019

Picture of screensaver discussing the FEDVIP Vision Benefit

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

FEDVIP Vision 2019 Infographic

Publication
7/24/2019

Downloadable Infographic discussing the FEDVIP Vision Benefit

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

FEDVIP Vision Logos

Publication
7/24/2019

Logos with a picture of glasses and text discussing FEDVIP Vision Program

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Join July 25 TRICARE webinar on TRICARE coverage after retirement

Article
7/18/2019
Will you or a family member be retiring soon? If so, you don’t want to miss this month’s webinar. (U.S. Navy photo)

When you retire from active duty or retire from the National Guard or Reserve, your TRICARE coverage will change

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Report on Rate of Maternal Mortality Among Members of the Armed Forces

Congressional Testimony
7/10/2019

H.R. 5515, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2019, 115-874, Pg. 861

Recommended Content:

Women's Health

Sexually transmitted infections on the rise in military

Article
6/26/2019
Some sexually transmitted infections are on the rise in the military. To increase awareness, members of Team McConnell attend a briefing on STIs at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick)

What you need to know to stay safe

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Men's Health | Women's Health

Summer’s fun, just avoid too much sun

Article
6/25/2019
Soaking up the sun is one of the best parts about summer. However, make sure to protect your skin when enjoying the sun-filled days ahead. Too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause sunburn, eye damage, and skin damage in the form of premature wrinkles. (DoD photo)

Make sure to protect your skin when enjoying the sun-filled days ahead

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | TRICARE Health Program

Mail-in colon cancer screening may end colonoscopy for most

Article
6/19/2019
Army Medicine logo

The best test is the one the patient will do

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Men's Health | Women's Health

Accreditation Status Table for MTFs

Report
6/13/2019

This document reports the status of accreditation for each MTF

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program

Methodology Determination of 2020 Premium Rates for TRICARE Reserve Select

Policy

This document describes how the calendar year 2020 TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) premium rates were calculated

Memorandum to Establish 2020 Premium Rates for TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRICARE Young Adult, and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program

Policy

Calendar Year 2020 premium rates are established for TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRI CARE Young Adult, and Fiscal Year 2020 premium rates for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.

<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 13

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing; Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.