Meet Guillermina

Guillermina, from Mexico, felt a lump in her breast, but it took nearly 2 years to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Read her full story here:

Getting to know you:

Tell us a bit about yourself:
Hi, I’m Guillermina Herrera and I live in Octolan, Mexico. I’m 40 years old, married for 22 years and have 3 children.  I’m the 5th of 6 siblings (1 brother and 5 sisters).  My children are 20, 17 and 15 years old, all 3 of them are boys. 
What is a normal day for you?
From Monday to Friday I’m a housewife.  I like to stay home and do whatever is needed.  Around 3 pm I get ready for work that is from 4 to 8.  I run a small beauty salon.  When I come home, we have dinner together and on Saturdays I work from 10 am until 8 pm.  On Sundays, are for family time, I enjoy going out with my family or stay home and watch movies or play games. 

What do you do for fun? Any interests or hobbies?
I like going to the park and watch my kids play basketball.  I enjoy skating and also love reading. 
What have you got planned in the next year?
I would like to start exercising again, even though I have tried, I still don’t feel strong enough.  I would also like to learn to play an instrument.  I like the piano and the violin. 
Biggest achievement in life to date?
On the personal/family side, to be able to have a stable and lasting marriage,  and a united family.  On my fight against cancer, to stand still even when I was suffering on my interior. 
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Sentimental, proactive and intelligent. 
Your diagnosis and surgery:
When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?
I was diagnosed in February 2019, when I was 38 years old.
What type of surgery did you have?
I had a right mastectomy.
Can you tell us a bit about how you felt when you first found out? 
Honestly it was something I was expecting. I had felt a lump in my breast for about 2 years, but every time I went to see the doctor, they would tell me it was non-cancerous.  I just felt that it was not okay and kept pushing to be seen again. When they finally confirmed that it was cancer, the first thing I thought was that my life was going to change forever and I was worried about the pain it would cause my family.  I knew it was something shocking and it wouldn’t be easy for them. I was diagnosed at a stage of my life when I was feeling happy, I had a successful career, many customers, a stable income. I was also very active and ran marathons regularly. I was actually training to run my first marathon in Mexico City.  Before that I had ran 5 half marathons and I was ready for the next step but the cancer put a halt to this. 
I felt scared about not being able to beat breast cancer, but at the same time I felt life had prepared me for that battle. I had a difficult childhood without my parents, so it was not the time to give up and I decided to give the best to fight the cancer.  I told cancer, ‘you are not going to beat me’ and it didn’t! 
Who did you turn to when you first found out and who helped you the most throughout?
Two of my sisters came to the doctor’s appointments with me and my husband was the person that helped me the most and 2 really close friends of mine were also always there for me. 
There’s also a girl from Queretaro named Reyna that inspired me a lot.  I have never met her in person, but I hope I can meet her some day and be able to hug her and thank her for the motivation she gave me even when she didn’t know it. 
Is there any advice you would give your past-self now that you have been through it?  
That my strength is bigger than anything and not to ever give up. 
Any advice for other ladies who have or had breast cancer?
Never let bad days turn you down, always keep a smile on your face.  It’s okay to cry but don’t let tears change your smile.  And fight with your heart!
Anything else you would like to share?
From the first day I decided to accept my diagnosis, I have never questioned why me and I knew this could not be it. I can say that cancer has been the worse that has happened to me, but also the best because it came to show me how much positivity I can give to others, which I didn’t realise before and everyone around me showed me so much love.  It was a year and a half of lots of suffering but now I am able to appreciate everything around me even more.  I was always a woman of faith but now I have more strength than ever.
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