HomeNewsArticle Display

MDG commander battles breast cancer with the help of Tricare

Col. Theresa Medina, 319th Medical Group commander, poses for a photo at her desk Oct. 30, 2017, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. Medina was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer a few years ago and overcame the illness with the help of Tricare and the support of family and friends. (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Cierra Presentado)

Col. Theresa Medina, 319th Medical Group commander, poses for a photo at her desk Oct. 30, 2017, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Medina was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in 2011 and overcame the illness with the help of Tricare and the support of family and friends. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cierra Presentado)

Col. Theresa Medina, 319th Medical Group commander, and her daughter Sophia, pose for a photo after participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event April 1, 2014. Medina was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in 2011 and overcame the illness with the help of Tricare and the support of family and friends. (Courtesy photo)

Col. Theresa Medina, 319th Medical Group commander, and her daughter Sophia, pose for a photo after participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event April 1, 2014. Medina was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in 2011 and overcame the illness with the help of Tricare and the support of family and friends. (Courtesy photo)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) -- “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 Col. Theresa Medina’s mind as 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.”

Engage

Twitter
An @EdwardsAFB B-52H Stratofortress completed a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Respon… https://t.co/HxxgE2In8C
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Just arrived to @NellisAFB to see RED FLAG, the #USAF Weapons School, and more. Because it has the best #Airmen and trai…
Twitter
“It’s no overstatement to say that brilliant ideas combined with trailblazing Airmen makes today’s Air Force the mo… https://t.co/qsDWN2Den5
Twitter
An F-22 Raptor aircraft assigned to the 3rd Wing approaches for landing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during R… https://t.co/EMKHnjC6p0
Twitter
A C-130H from the 302nd Airlift Wing, equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, flies over fires near… https://t.co/9BPVXNFual
Twitter
Roam Robotics developed a lightweight & inexpensive knee exoskeleton for applications in the health, military & rec… https://t.co/7klpyEaYG1
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: |RESOLUTE PARTNERSHIPS| On Aug. 6, 2020, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and @AirMobilityCmd units were called to action to p…
Twitter
A C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord flies over the Seattle skyline after completing a training exe… https://t.co/4IodNs1bId
Twitter
#DYK The T-33A Shooting Star at Moody AFB's air park was developed from the single-seat F-80 fighter by lengthening… https://t.co/XXY3pAHDzu
Twitter
A C-17 Globemaster III returns to @TeamCharleston after evacuating to Ellsworth AFB. Ellsworth has a support agree… https://t.co/vtHhp1ETVC
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: #OTD in 1949, the DOD was formed, unifying the military under the secretary of defense. Our thanks to everyone who serve…
Twitter
Starting off the week with some air power! . An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 3rd Wing takes off from Joint Base Elme… https://t.co/cjvCe6fSOk
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: “We need out-of-the-box thinkers to succeed in our mission of developing the base of the future,” said Brig. Gen. Patrice Mel…
Twitter
“With accelerating disruptive technologies...rewriting Air Power for all nations, not just the U.S., continuing our… https://t.co/WDD6LsQGkr
Twitter
#Resilience: The story of the Peck family’s and their battle with breast cancer. #TotalForce @ScottAFB https://t.co/PYGgSOQwcu
Twitter
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Maintaining resiliency in paradise - https://t.co/IXktGzGgWc (Story by the @624RSG) #ReserveResilient https://t.co/ta8mMTP…
Twitter
RT @hack_a_sat: Tune in at 11 AM PDT to watch the LIVE closing ceremony with Dr. Will Roper and @bjgol. 🚀It's all happening at https://t.c…
Twitter
Difficult, but not impossible. @GenCQBrownJr addresses the challenges the Air Force faces going forward. https://t.co/kF4FdxN5S6
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,265,895
Follow Us