Martha Diaz: Finding Her Strength to Defeat Breast Cancer
I call them the bumps in my road…
When I was 40 I had a heart attack.
Then, 11 years later, on New Year’s Eve, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I call them the bumps in my road because although they may have slowed
me, I was not going to let them knock me down! I could hardly process
it when I heard those words and my initial reaction to my cancer diagnosis
was a mix of numbness, fear and regret at having to give my children this
Those feelings quickly gave way to determination. I was scared, but I needed
to be strong for my family. I went into work mode and I was ready to fight.
Thanks to a very strong support system, that includes the team at Newark
Beth Israel Medical Center, I have been cancer-free for one year!
I consider my medical team a very compassionate and encouraging part of
my recovery. Through mammograms, ultrasounds and a biopsy, the nurse navigator
and the radiologists were simply the best. Any time I’d call or
have a question, they were there. They would hold my hand. They made me
feel like my case was the most important one at that moment. I was in
charge of my cancer and I was able to take control thanks to them.
As an employee at The Beth for 19 years, I routinely get an annual mammogram.
In 2015, I had my mammogram at the newly opened Healthcare Foundation
of New Jersey Breast Health Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.
This was my first 3-D mammogram and it is what saved me. The doctors said
my tumor was ‘hidden’ and likely would not have shown up on
a regular mammogram. If it had not been detected when it was, the cancer
would have had a full year to grow.
Because my cancer was caught early, I was able to have a lumpectomy: removal
of the cancer rather than the entire breast. I received radiation treatments
– five days a week for four weeks – to help eliminate any
remaining cancer cells.
Cancer is such an ugly disease, but when all is said and done, I feel very
blessed. I’m going to do what I have to do to keep going. I’m
not done here yet!
Martha M. Diaz, Old Bridge
Stories like Martha's are made possible in part thanks to generous
donations to the Cohen Cancer Center. As a nonprofit organization, Newark
Beth Israel Medical Center relies on your support to continue giving the
best care to our patients.