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Lung Cancer and My Heritage

The Hispanic and Latino heritages are known to be tough groups of fighters. Never give up, and never back down. We say our indigenous ancestors' blood runs through our veins, so we are warriors.

When life throws you lemons, make lemonade or take a shot of tequila and follow it with a lemon or lime. The Hispanic and Latino heritage is about family, faith, pride, and love.

My Hispanic and Latino heritage is Puerto Rican (mother) and Mexican (father), and I was taught the best of both.

Finding strength in family

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, my heritage played a role in my diagnosis and my decision-making. You see, I was a mother of five, and my children were still young. They still needed their mom, and I was not planning to leave them yet.

The Hispanic and Latino people have a very close familial relationship, and I wasn’t ready to end that familial relationship. This helped me to stay focused, to fight, and to give lung cancer one heck of a battle.

I wanted to see my children grow up and see what their life would become. I wanted to be a part of that, to see their success and comfort them if something in their life failed. I wanted to be there to uplift them and give them my love and support. My main goal was to live as long as possible for my family.

The power of having faith

The Hispanic and Latino people are also known for their amazing faith. They are very religious, and their faith is out of this world.

I was never religious, but my people came through for me with prayers. I had people come and pray over me. They would send me religious items to help me get through treatments, and they would send me prayers for me to pray both in English and Spanish. They really believed it would heal me.

They would call me and pray over the phone, even had their prayer group in their church dedicate a few minutes to pray for my healing. I was invited to their churches, and they would gather around me to pray. It helped me get through that bumpy road that lung cancer took me. It made me feel good, and it did calm me down from my anxiety. I’m not healed, but their intention was good, and I truly appreciate them and their good intention.

But I believe faith isn’t all about religion. Your faith could be in science, treatments, clinical trials, your oncologist and your team, and even us trying to stay positive so we won’t sink and give into this awful disease. Faith can mean many different things, and it can be different for others.

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How my heritage nurtures resilience

Hispanic and Latino people are very proud people and not in a negative way. We can be dirt poor and eat beans and rice every day. But we are proud and grateful to be able to eat rice and beans every day. We are as proud of the littlest thing as we are of the biggest accomplishment.

My people know how to show love to others; their love is deep. I made sure to show and give that to my children and family. But their love helped me and continues to help me through this journey with lung cancer.

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