Barb Stahl was self-employed and uninsured when she discovered a large lump in her chest. Thankfully, she was able to get help through Little Red Door Cancer Agency.
You might not know Stahl, but you've certainly seen her work across Central Indiana. She paints the murals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and was one of 46 artists selected to create a mural for the Super Bowl.
“I had been driving by Little Red Door, you know I drive by it every day on my way to work, and I was like you know I’m just going to go in,” Stahl said.
She wanted to visit the nonprofit cancer agency because she had a lump in her breast that was initially diagnosed as a cyst but kept growing.
“I actually showed her (the LRDCA employee) at this point it was like a ping pong ball, it was 8 1/2 centimeters and she had my healthcare facility on the phone and I had the referral within an hour,” Stahl said about her visit.
The referral was for a test that eventually determined she had stage three breast cancer.
Since Stahl works, she doesn't qualify for most government programs but wasn't able to afford insurance. Little Red Door employees found special medical coverage for her. She started chemo and continued to paint.
“Sometimes it took a little bit longer than it usually did. I didn't have quite the energy. But I’m self-employed,” Stahl said.
She never missed a job because of treatment. When her energy was low, she focused on her art and being thankful.
“I was grateful for Little Red Door, I was grateful for my doctors. When I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed I was grateful for my bed,” Stahl said.
She said getting through this was all about changing her state of mind.
“It is amazing the difference in your energy level when you're in a state of gratitude than when you’re sitting there concentrating on how horrible you feel,” Stahl said.
Barb has now completed chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Reconstruction will begin in a few months.
If you need help from LRDCA or would like to donate to the cause, you can find more information online.