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Second Chances

A Project Access Tarrant County Patient Spotlight

By Allison Howard

“Julia” was always worried – having a hernia so severe that it’s challenging to even walk does that to you. As is so often the case, the impact extended far beyond the pain she experienced daily – it cost the 40-year-old her freedom, her job, and her joy.

Before she was suffering with the inguinal and umbilical hernia, she worked alongside her husband of 18 years to clean apartments. It was a good job that allowed them to take care of their three children. But when she had to stop working, it put a financial strain on the family. So much so that instead of enjoying their summer vacation, Julia’s children wanted to work alongside their father.

“They always wanted to help,” she says. “Which was sad to see because they were not spending their time like normal kids would.”

Getting help was difficult, though. Julia and her husband did not have medical insurance and paying for surgery out of pocket was impossible. She was stuck, and the impact was more than physical and financial.

“My mood was always negative – I was always angry or frustrated because I was in pain,” Julia says. “I was also worried that we would lose our house and worried about my illness. I had to start being extra careful with what I did – I was always worried something would happen to me.”

As these problems continued to build, Julia realized she needed to do something. She went to Mission Arlington to see if they could help her. The doctor who saw her realized that Julia needed surgery, so they took the next step toward getting her the help she desperately needed – they referred her to Project Access.

She was enrolled in the program and connected to Dr. Mohamad Saad, a Project Access volunteer, who agreed that she needed surgical intervention. He performed the hernia repair surgery at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, and anesthesia was provided by USAP – Arlington Division.

Since having the surgery, Julia’s life has turned around. She can now “walk freely” – because she is entirely without pain. And just as she was impacted physically, the emotional healing has changed her life. Her mood is uplifted, and she is able to look at her children and their future with hope rather than fear.

Julia is grateful for Dr. Saad for providing this critical service for her, but her appreciation for him goes beyond that. “He is a very good doctor – very kind . . . He is also very funny; he was always making me laugh and making me feel better.”

Looking back at where her life was before the surgery, and the healing she has since experienced, Julia is grateful for everyone who participated in her care.

“I can’t express with words how thankful I am for everyone and their help,” she says. “God bless you all for all the of the hard work that you all put in to help me.”

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