Photo provided by Sisters’ Journey.
Sisters’ Journey Survivor of the Month – LAWANDA MARTINEZ
Read her story (thanks www.sistersjourney.org)
On March 30, 2019, I went for my annual mammogram. I then got a call back from Advanced Radiology on April 4 that informed me I needed to return for more testing. They set it up for me to come in that following week on April 11. After multiple scans, I was told I needed a biopsy, which was scheduled to be done on May 30. (I had a vacation planned and my doctor advised that I should not change my plans to have the biopsy done sooner.)
On June 3, 2019 at 5:45 pm I got a call while I was out shopping for my youngest daughter’s 8th grade dance dress and I was told that I had a ductal carcinoma in my left breast. I felt like I was about to pass out. I was struck with the thought of my mother, and how she passed from pancreatic cancer 11 years ago. I just could not believe what I was hearing. I tried to stay as calm as I could and immediately called my sister who is a breast cancer survivor. She was keeping me calm and telling me everything was going to be okay, and that she believed I could fight and survive this. After I talked with my sister, I sat down with my husband and told him the news. He told me that God was on my side and that he will get us through this. Next, I spoke with my daughters. They were heartbroken but told me that they were here for me. As the weeks went on, I slowly came out and told the rest of my family members, who all stood by my side as I began this long journey.
On July 23, 2019, I had a bilateral (double) mastectomy. I was terrified but tried to stay as calm as I could. The surgery was rough, and afterward, I was in an excruciating amount of pain. If it were not for two of my daughters and my mother-in-law, I do not know how I would have made it through those tough weeks.
When I awoke the morning of August 18, I was getting ready to go back to work when I felt something dripping from my left breast. My doctor was out of town, but we had a Face Time call and he told me that my left breast was infected, and I had to have an operation to have the tissue expanders removed. On September 26, I found out that my right breast was also infected, and that I needed to have a nipple removal. I then had to start seeing a radiologist weekly, because I had developed a seroma in my right breast.
July 17, 2020, I went in to have Diep flap reconstruction surgery. On August 20, my abdominal incision had opened. The following week, on August 27, I went back into the O.R. and was later put on a womb vac. I remained on the womb vac for two months, with three-times-a-week home visits from a nurse. Finally, on December 30, 2020, I went back into surgery to have fat transferred for revision of my breast reconstruction surgery.
I survived 3-plus years of breast cancer and have come to realize the importance of life and the many joys that come with it. I am grateful for my family and friends, and after my difficult fight, I am glad to be alive. I will keep spreading the word about the importance of an annual mammogram and continue to help women fight and beat breast cancer.
Sisters’ Journey are now having virtual Support group meetings for 3rd Thursday of the month for the greater Bridgeport area.
For more information you may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-288-3556.
Sisters’ Journey will keep communicating to all that early detection is the key to saving lives.
For more stories of hope visit www.sistersjourney.org