In November 2016, Rogelia Armendariz fell while she was cleaning and later felt a lump in her left breast. She thought it was caused by the fall. When her doctor checked it in March, she was referred for a biopsy and learned she had stage IV breast cancer.
“I felt I would die,” she says. “I have seven sisters and five brothers, but I’m the first to hear the word cancer.”
She switched her care to Harris Health System and started an aggressive chemotherapy, then had a left breast mastectomy, both at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. She had 30 radiation treatments at Smith Clinic. During this time, a CT scan revealed liver cancer that disappeared after the aggressive chemo.
Now, she has chemo every three weeks, which she says is maintenance care that will continue for two years. “For me, I don’t have any more cancer.
“LBJ is like my second home. Sometimes we come in the morning when the garage is full, and when we leave, our truck is the only one there. Since day one, everyone at LBJ treated me so well. They watch over me. They’re very attentive.”
She’s grateful for the support she has from her family: four children and 14 grandchildren. Her husband has been the most supportive, and his presence always helps.
She likes reading her Bible, knitting and sewing. She sews clothes for herself, her grandchildren and their assorted dolls. Nothing pleases her more than having a granddaughter request doll clothing.
“Thanks to God, I feel good. I feel good about my doctors and all the attention they give me. I never miss an appointment, and I won’t until they discharge me. We went through a hard time. Now, we encourage other patients and families.”
She tells them to move forward. “Follow your doctor’s advice. If we’re not listening, we’re not following advice. If we do listen, we’re closer to being cured.” She’s a good role model — she changed her diet, drinks more water and walks for exercise.
Like her, she wants others to fight. “Try really hard. Never lose hope. Be positive.”