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By Maria Teresa Guzman
San Antonio Cancer Survivor
Sometimes it seems like it was yesterday that I first heard the word “Breast Cancer.”
But the reality is it has already been 3 years since I was all alone spending a Valentine’s Day in the midst of needles and nurses.
You see, at 38 years old I started with a sudden stabbing pain in my breast that would not go away.
I had it for a month, not really wanting to pay attention to the signals my body was giving me until I felt a lump. It would have been easy to let fear win, but I took the hardest road and picked up the phone to call my doctor.
Within two days I had an exam, and a biopsy it was at that moment that the doctor said, “It is Valentine’s Day and I’m sorry you have to spend your day here in pain but I need you to prepare your heart for the journey that’s about to start. We believe it is cancer.”
From that day on I said, “Thank you, but God is already holding my heart in its hands, not cancer,” and a journey of a thousand miles started to shake me to my core transforming my life with love.
I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) and left what I use to call life.
I left my 5-year-old son and traveled oversees to Venezuela for medical treatment, which was the biggest challenge to overcome in this journey.
However, it was the love I have for my son that kept me going while we were apart for a full year. It was the love I have for myself that kept me learning how to take care of “me” and be there for others with the best version of myself despite all the turmoil that cancer brings; and it was the love for my life—a true gift from God—that kept me smiling and fighting to live.
You have heard the word “Breast Cancer,” so I will just say that life is a journey with ups and downs; to focus on one step at a time and if you make your faith greater than your fears nothing will stop you from going on and chasing your dreams.
It has been a long journey for me and I am still in it. This is me today, with some scars gained along the way but with a smile as big as my love for God and for Life.
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of guest blog posts from Breast Friends Forever (BFF) in San Antonio, Texas (64% Latino). BFF is a support group that enables young breast cancer survivors to share stories and experiences, developed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio (the team behind Salud America!) and Susan G. Komen San Antonio. Email BFF or Visit BFF on Facebook. The main image above features Maria Teresa Guzman with Stanlie Murray.