RIP Jose Luis Gonzalez
On September 8, 2015 we lost Jose. We honor his memory every day.
By Jose Luis Gonzalez
I want to present my story to help other people. Be careful. Do not begin tomorrow, but today.
In late 2010 the Ford company I was working for in Fontana, CA informed me they were closing their doors and unfortunately I was laid off. I had no inclination of what I was going to do next, but knew it was time for me to do whatever I wanted. In an effort to live a little, I left for Mexico to visit family and ride my bike down there for a while.
For some time I kept having a constant pain in my left underarm from what I thought was fatty build up. The pain increased and I began to feel lumps around my left breast area. Not wanting to be in more pain I decided to seek out a doctor while in Mexico. He was able to go in and take out the lumps with ease. I had already an idea of what it could be, but I did not want to acknowledge the worst. Cancer, in one form or another has run in my family since I can remember. I never thought I would get cancer though, especially not breast cancer.
When I began to receive call after call from the doctor who had done the biopsy, I knew what he was going to tell me. My stomach was in knots and I just didn’t want to call him back. When he was finally able to reach me I simply said, “I know.” He stayed silent for some time and then asked me to come in right away to discuss my options. He informed me I was already stage IV with breast cancer and needed a mastectomy and chemo treatments.
I hated feeling so weak and helpless after the treatments knocked me out for weeks at a time. After what seemed to be ages, I was able to get back on my feet and was officially in remission by early 2013.
Since I tested positive for a BRCA mutation, my siblings all did genetic testing as well. My oldest sister came back positive and developed esophageal and breast cancer. Unfortunately, after all her treatments, she passed on November 5, 2013.
By January 2014 I decided to move to Roswell, NM to be closer to my children and get my CDL license. Soon after I began to feel ill. Blinding headaches, nausea and weakness became a constant for me. My son decided enough was enough and he took me to the ER at ENMMC – Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and it was determined that I needed better care. I was flown out to UMC in Lubbock where I was told the breast cancer metastasized to not only my lung, but I also had half a dozen tumors in my head. The one that was killing me was the golf ball sized tumor in the brain. I underwent surgery with the support of all my children, my siblings and other family members. I was told I’d be lucky to make it to September of the same year, so I decided to make the best of what time I had left. I took my children and their children on a trip to Mexico to not only visit family, but to marry my fiancé as well.
September came and went. I was able to celebrate the next birthdays of my grandchildren, spend the holidays with my family and celebrate my one year anniversary with my wife. I continued my treatments of radiation and chemo with the Kymera Cancer Center and did a few physical therapy sessions at the Ruidoso Physical Therapy Clinic.
Now here we are in August 2015, and I am told that the treatments are no longer working. The cancer has spread more and the Gentiva Hospice has been called in to help out. They have been wonderful with our family and I can’t thank them enough.
I have been a cancer survivor for four years. I only wish to have my family know that I love them more than anything. I can’t thank them, along with friends, enough for all the support they have all given me. It’s a constant and difficult fight day in and day out, but I am never alone!
My one solace is that this month I will be 52 and will celebrate with my children and their children,
if God grants me the extra time.