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Turning fear into hope

July 23, 2019

Saadia Barhoumi used to feel sick and scared all the time. She waited a year to seek follow-up treatment after a doctor told her that a condition in her brain that was causing memory loss and a tingling sensation akin to having ants crawling across your face and body might be Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

“Doctors are so expensive. I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t pay. I thought, I’m pretty sure I’m going to die,” said Barhoumi, who was forced into early retirement because of severe asthma triggered by stress.

The words care, compassion, dignity and warmth spring up frequently as she shares her experience with We Care Manatee. She was referred to the organization by her doctor.

A specialist We Care Manatee referred Barhoumi to determined that she has a treatable condition that is causing her brain to age prematurely. She undergoes periodic MRIs to monitor the condition and is on a regimen of Vitamin B-12 shots. Being able to get needed medical care has reduced her stress level, which enables her to control her asthma. Barhoumi says being better able to control her asthma enables her to use less of the costly asthma medication she takes, which helps keep costs down, and means there will be more for others in need.

She says that unfortunately, people with limited resources, who are uninsured and in need are often treated in a dismissive manner.

“Here at We Care Manatee they show you warmth, they take the time to explain things and listen to you. They don’t treat you different, you feel like you’re more than a number or just money. You feel like they care. I love it here because I am made to feel like a human being, like I matter!”

Thoughtful, reflective and soft spoken, Barhoumi eagerly expresses gratitude for the care she received to treat her existing condition, and for the preventative screenings she receives now. 

“When I came to We Care Manatee Kyle told me ‘don’t worry about anything. We’re going to help you.’ I feel safe. I don’t feel sick anymore, and I don’t feel scared. I feel confident about the treatment I receive. I know I am in good hands.”