The following story is from a 91 year-old Wink user: my grandmother, Mickey Martin. She lives in my neighborhood, and served as my second mother growing up. This is her story.



I am a cancer survivor.

Cancer was not on my list of things to be concerned about.

No one in my family had breast cancer. Still, being a nurse, I had seen plenty, so I had my mammogram every year and the doctor would say “see you next year”.

It was several months after my last mammogram that I found a change – not the pea shaped lump that we were taught – but a rope shaped growth.

I was between doctors again, so a friend recommended a nurse practitioner. I called and got in right away.

She agreed with me and called the place where I had all my x-rays. I told her if it is positive, I want an ultrasound and a needle biopsy, which they did. Then I was ushered into this room where a big box of tissues was on the table. I knew then, before I was told, it was positive.

Invasive ductal carcinoma.

They advised me to see one of three surgeons. I chose the one my oldest daughter, who is a registered pharmacist, had recommended. 45 minutes later, I was in his office discussing options.

was 77 years old, and did not want a mastectomy. I had seen too many of them in my more than 35 years of hospital nursing.

I chose a lumpectomy with 35 radiation treatments and a pill daily for five years.

I was anxious about the surgery because I had had a respiratory arrest last time I had surgery, but I told the doctors about my fear and was reassured that would not happen again.

The day of surgery at 8 AM a blue dye was injected that would show up if lymph glands were involved.

Surgery was at 1 PM.

The doctor said he was going to the lab twice during surgery to make sure that the edges were clear of cancer cells. Recovery was uneventful except for fatigue from radiation.

I’m 91 years old now and check my breasts often. I feel fortunate to have caught it at early stage one, with no lymph involvement.

Each day is a gift from God.


I wish I could be in the states to capture her spirit on video for you; she is truly an inspirational woman. 91 years old, cancer survivor, and still full of spunk.

Cancer is a lonely journey. Thankfully, my grandmother had her family nearby to support her during this time. Not everyone does.

My grandmother lives in my hometown Bedford, Indiana, where one of our partners from last year’s campaigns–The Lawrence County Cancer Patient Care Services–is located. LCCPS helps offer support to cancer patients and survivors–including rides to doctor’s appointments, mammograms, medical equipment and more–when they might not otherwise have it.

Thanks to LCCPS (and all of you), we were able to give Wink to over 100 cancer patients and survivors in Lawrence County. I encourage you to learn more about their work and donate your time or money; they are doing amazing things in Lawrence County. Learn more about how you can help here.

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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