My story...

Being diagnosed with breast cancer has given me a chance to show what I’m really made of. I am a young single mom who works full-time, with no family in the area other than my ten-year-old son. I went through the chemo, radiation, illness, weakness – all of it. The treatment was successful and I went into remission. A year later, though, in May 2013, I learned the cancer had metastasized to my ovaries, lungs, and brain. An oncology treatment facility in Massachusetts gave me a year. A year? My son was nine years old!! How could I possibly leave him alone at such a young age? I vowed to fight, and got a second opinion from a facility in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, they were ready to help me fight, and they did. It required traveling out-of-state nearly every weekend, and sometimes during the week as well. I am so grateful for the wonderful support provided by my church and my friends, but leaving my son behind was difficult to do. I underwent a gamma knife procedure to have the brain tumor removed, and it worked. Then I had surgery to remove the tumor in my ovary. Two down! During this time, I had the added distraction of being diagnosed with Lyme disease and also having shoulder surgery. I have just undergone radio-frequency ablation for the lung tumor, and I am waiting to hear the results. I took disability from work for a while, but that has run out and I’m back working full-time. In addition to the traditional approach to cancer treatment, I believe in holistic medicine and am having regular intravenous infusions of vitamin C. I am well past “a year”, I'm well on my way to recovery, and I'm proud to be the warrior woman that I am!!

Sheila Ortiz
Enfield, CT