Norma Jairam was working as RN supervisor at a medical facility in Fort Myers, Florida when she was diagnosed in January, 2012 with breast cancer. A Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing had opened doors to work in Hospice, Case Management and other areas in the medical arena which had been rewarding to Norma, as she desired to serve others in their time of need.
Now, she was the one needing medical expertise. Her oncologist spoke words to Norma which have inspired her along the way of her journey which has often been bleak and uncertain, “this is not the end of your life.” A lumpectomy was performed on the left breast, a port inserted and followed by six rounds of chemo-then radiation. Unfortunately, when still undergoing chemo, Norma’s 90 day leave from her position ran out and she was let go. After 18 months of failed treatment, her cells had mutated and the cancer had spread. Norma did research and came to the conclusion she had to head to Texas. This was a leap of faith, as the finances were not there to support the trip–but Norma and her husband Ari, her devoted caregiver decided they had to be proactive and disrupted their already uncertain future and came to MD Anderson in Houston’s Medical Center. April 2013, Norma had a radical mastectomy of her left breast. She said, ” we were staying with friends here and there, living like gypsies, but I knew I had to get my treatment from the number one cancer treatment center. Ari and Norma were some of the first guests to stay at The Ballard House. When Norma found out she had cancer in her right breast and returned to MD Anderson for chemo in January, 2014 a social worker told them about this place that had opened in Katy that was free of charge. Norma and Ari said, “we were so shocked, we had no idea something like this existed in America. The Ballard House became our ” home away from home”. Being here gave us peace of mind. We could sit and talk with others who really knew what we were going through because they were also. We have had so much support. ” In September, 2014 Norma returned to Houston for reconstruction surgery and she and Ari found themselves guests at The Ballard House again. This time Norma is cancer free. They have headed back home to Florida now with high hopes of getting their lives back to normal, whatever that looks like for this incredible couple who has inspired so many others.