Thankfully, no time was wasted when Luz Corina Ramirez found a lump in her breast in December 2015. She immediately saw her primary care physician at Strawberry Health Center who referred her to Smith Clinic for diagnostic exams. Luz had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy in one afternoon. It was a fast-growing, aggressive form of breast cancer.
“I was totally devastated,” she remembers. “I had lost my mom, my best friend, in April, and my daughter was pregnant. I didn’t want to ruin the holiday, so I told no one until after Christmas.”
In the new year, she started six months of chemotherapy at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, had a mastectomy of her left breast at the end of June and three months of radiation treatment at Smith Clinic.
When her daughter, Susana Corina, gave birth to Luz Mia, Luz found new inspiration to survive. “I wanted a chance to see the baby grow,” she says.
Luz Corina had been a community health caseworker, including eight years at Ben Taub Hospital. “My professional life was spent solving problems for clients, but it’s different to go through it. I felt so grateful to be given a second chance, yet I was fearful and depressed.” Harris Health’s therapeutic staff helped.
“You have to be in these shoes to understand. It’s easy to judge and advise. It’s very difficult to go through treatment — emotionally, psychologically, economically, physically — but it is possible. You get through it step by step, day by day. As patients, we must do our work and the professionals must do theirs. It takes faith, hope and strength.
“All my life, I gave and gave. When it was my time, it was hard to ask for help. I learned to ask. People began giving to me. God put angels in my life.
“I feel happy and blessed. I accomplished a hard goal — I survived. When I felt bad and didn’t want to go to treatment, I did it because I had promised myself I would dance at my grandchild’s wedding.”
Luz chose to have her treatment at Harris Health because “my daughter wanted the best for me. The staff was with me 200 percent. From the bottom of my heart, I know I received the best care possible.”