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A Conversation with Teresa Nava

Teresa Nava believes she has angels watching over her and, in particular, one important angel who was with her on June 10, 2010. That’s the day the 49-year-old mother of six had a routine breast screening on the Moncrief Cancer Institute/UT Southwestern mobile mammography unit. The results showed a suspicious mass in Teresa’s left breast. She needed further screening and perhaps a biopsy. Moncrief’s nurse navigator Edna Munoz-Oden tried to call Teresa to tell her the news, but discovered her phone had been disconnected. Edna called Teresa’s doctor who gave her two additional phone numbers. Those didn’t work either. Here’s Teresa’s story in her own words:

Edna is simply the best! She is an angel to me! She worked very hard to find me when my phone was disconnected and I didn’t expect that. She finally sent me a certified letter explaining I had an abnormal mammogram. The most important thing is she saved my life.

Two months earlier, I had lost my job with a janitor service.  I was not insured. So Moncrief paid for the mammogram and biopsy (with funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast and Cervical Control Program). They provided encouragement to me when times were difficult. This was a great help because I didn’t know where to start or who to go to. 

Edna helped me go through The Bridge for funding for my treatment.  I had DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). A doctor performed a lumpectomy. Edna reminded me to continue to be examined in the affected breast every six months and that was a good suggestion because later the cancer came back in the same breast. I decided to have a mastectomy.

Now, I am going to the Moncrief Survivorship Clinic. I feel great because it is absolutely helpful to me – especially after being ill for so long. I gained some weight after surgery and the trainer Stephanie is helping me get back into shape. She’s a good person and is patient with me. Sometimes I can’t move too much or too fast and I hurt. So I tell her and she recommends others exercises or stretches.

I speak Spanish and if there is a message that needs to get across, there is usually someone available to translate, and I appreciate that. It makes me feel even more comfortable. I still talk with Edna too. All I can say is, she is an angel to me and I’m glad she didn’t give up trying to find me!

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