The following stories are examples of patients whose lives have been touched by the Harris Health System.
Priscilla Bright clearly remembers the day she got her breast cancer diagnosis. It was her birthday 2014.
It was June 2012 when Angela Bryan first felt a small lump under her right breast. She convinced herself it was a bug bite. After all, she walked a lot and spent time outdoors at the park with her grandson. It was still there a month later, but she didn’t want to worry her family. Then she didn’t want to spoil the holidays. In May 2013, she ran out of excuses.
Francis Escobar’s first indication there may be something wrong was leakage from her breasts. Her primary care physician at Baytown Health Center ordered a mammogram and ultrasound. A second mammogram indicated a tumor, and a biopsy led to a diagnosis of Stage IV cancer.
Forty days after giving birth to her daughter, Paula Galdamez felt a hard lump in her breast. She and her doctor thought it was a complication from breastfeeding. It was not until her daughter was 16 months old that a biopsy indicated stage IV breast cancer. That was October 2016. Two weeks later, she began chemotherapy.
Dora Gil, was just 32 years old when she was first diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. Though she lived in Guatemala, she opted to come to Houston for a second opinion. For years, she flew back and forth to treat recurrences of the disease.
A car accident may have saved Norma Mendez’ life. Emergency Room physicians ordered an MRI that indicated tumors. She went to her Harris Health System primary care physician and was referred for a mammogram and an ultrasound. She had stage III cancer in her right breast.
Perrian Myles was 40 years old when she was first diagnosed with cancer in her left breast. Now she’s 65 and doesn’t appear to be slowing down, but that wasn’t always the case.
Dora Ottati’s journey with Stage III breast cancer has taken her from devastation to gratitude. When she first felt a lump in her left breast, her husband was more concerned than she, but once she had a mammogram and biopsy, that changed. Her cancer was aggressive.
Mirtha Retes tears up when she discusses her cancer, so her husband, Cesar Vigil, speaks up, “She’s my life, my heart.” He’s not only her spokesperson, he’s her constant companion and caregiver.
When Vivienne Roberts went to Smith Clinic in December 2017 for her annual check-up, the radiologist saw something on her mammogram. Doctors ordered an ultrasound, then a biopsy. “Within three hours, my life changed,” she remembers.
In November last year, when Arlene Smith felt a cyst in her left breast, it scared her. She was too scared to go to the doctor. That didn’t change until February 2018.
Two of Carolyn Tran’s sisters have had breast cancer. So, it was no surprise that when she went to Harris Health Martin Luther King for her regular check-up in January, she was referred to Smith Clinic for a mammogram. Radiologists saw something in her right breast and ordered a needle biopsy. A week later, she received the diagnosis: breast cancer.