It started with a feeling. A sense that something wasn’t quite right. At first, Camila Mata noticed that her left breast was bigger than the right, and she felt a lump in it. It soon became painful. As a nurse, she knew she needed to have it checked out.
In 2012, Camila saw a doctor at Harris Health El Franco Lee. She was referred to Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital where she had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy.
Camila’s sister had already dealt with breast cancer, so when the doctor confirmed the diagnosis her first thought was, “Here we go again.” Although there was no other family history, she had prepared herself for the news.
She started a round of chemotherapy and had surgery in January 2013. Radiation followed the surgery.
During her treatment, Camila developed a new lifestyle. She feels that meat in this country contains too many additives, so she rarely eats it. She enjoys a lot of fruits and vegetables, avoids dairy and processed food, drinks soy and almond milk.
Currently, Camila is in a five-year maintenance program. “I don’t worry,” she says. “I live like a normal person, not a person with cancer. The more we worry, the more we will get sick.”
She offers similar advice to other cancer patients. “You have to take life one day at a time. Don’t worry. Be positive. Take a holistic approach. When you share with other people, you feel more alive.”
Sharing is what most impressed her with the care at Harris Health Ben Taub and Harris Health Smith Clinic. “There is always someone I can approach for whatever I need. Someone is there to help. The support is wonderful.”
Now that she has completed her treatment, Camila looks forward to joining the Cancer Resource Center’s support group. While she feels she has something to offer the newer patients, she is eager to learn from others who have made the journey before her. She’s excited about her future.