In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we approached two-time breast cancer survivor, Kimberly Martinez, to share her story as part of our Patient of the Month series. Would you like to share your story with other patients about how cancer affects you or your family to? Drop us a note at the bottom of the post.
My name is Kim Martinez. I am a nurse, a stay at home mom of three kids and a wife to a husband with a very busy position here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Prior to my diagnosis, I was caring for my mother in Ohio, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in an advanced stage. Unfortunately, she was only 57 years old at the time of her diagnosis. Her cancer was too far advanced and had spread to her brain, and she passed away at 58 years of age. Ten months later, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Left Breast Cancer. I was only 39 years old. It was devastating to have to go in and get a biopsy and be told right then and there, all by myself, that I had cancer. Thoughts of death and dying, thoughts of doctors, surgery, and who is going to take care of my kids, thoughts of how am I going to tell my kids, my family… we live out of state… we have no one here to help us… how are we going to do this… how are we going to afford this…how is my husband going to deal with this? We lost our son five years prior and I saw the sorrow on his face then, I couldn’t bear to see the pain and suffering that we were going to have to endure now, let alone entertain the thought of him being a single dad.
I credit my mother for saving my life, because had it not been for her cancer, my doctor would have never ordered my mammogram. I was not yet 40 years old. However, the death of my mother was still very raw in everyone’s hearts and now I had to share my worst fear: that it was now to be my journey. Watching my mother face this beast with such grace and dignity, I too knew exactly how I was going to handle my inevitable journey as well. I already knew that I would have a double mastectomy; I already knew that I would take chemotherapy and I had already accepted the idea that, if my physicians ordered radiation, that too would be accepted with grace and dignity. I was a mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend, teacher – I was not going to let cancer beat me without a challenge. I also had put this entire challenge in God’s hands. Whatever my outcome was going to be, it was going to be. So I taught my daughters how to be responsible young ladies at a very early age. They were only 13 and 12 and my son was only 6. They learned how to do laundry, how to cook, how to do basic housecleaning, and how to become more independent with their homework. These were skills they needed to learn anyway, why not now?