Rhonda Gleason thought the Veterans Affairs doctor wasn’t listening. Turns out, she was right.

She’d driven more than three hours from her centeral Oregon home to the VA medical center in Portland, where most veterans are sent for cancer treatment. At 45 years old, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in six years.

Since her last visit, she’d paid out of pocket to get a second opinion from a cancer doctor in Bend, who agreed she didn’t need chemotherapy, a crippling treatment she desperately wanted to avoid.

Her cancer is hormone dependent, so the only way to kill it is to deplete her body of estrogen.