In September of 2022, Carmen Hernandez felt a pain in her breast, but struggled to get a doctors appointment. Finally, in March of 2023 she had a mammogram that prompted a biopsy, revealing the BRCA mutation. She would go on to have a double mastectomy that June followed by 16 rounds of chemo and 20 rounds of radiation.
With 19 and 23 year old daughters at home, Carmen kept her diagnosis private while she worked through her own anger. Today though, she is adamant in her advice to eliminate as much anger as possible with diagnosis: “no matter the storm, everyone can get through it. Faith before fear.” For Carmen, she found little ways to stay cheerful, like insisting on dressing up every day because “I was worth it.” While she still needs a hysterectomy, she remains feeling that “no matter what I go through, I am blessed. I have two grandkids and I have become a more compassionate person. God has a plan and maybe we are the only ones who can take it.”
For those facing a new diagnosis, Carmen harps on the importance of positivity: “the storm will pass. Your body will go through a lot of pain, but you’re alive today. Focus on the positive, find the little moments of joy and small victories. Don’t hold onto negative.”