Meet Leticia M. Garza-Falcon, Ph.D., Stage III

Updated: Mar 6

Editor's Note: Hearing that you have Stage 3 breast cancer can bring up several emotions and it's reassuring to know that treatment options are available. Treatment options and outcomes depend on a variety of factors inducing the characteristics or subtype of the cancer, how you respond to treatment, health and age etc. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer treatment and outlook are improving all the time. The below story shares the personal experience of Leticia. At we cultivate a community for individuals to share their stories and have their voices be heard. While we always respect the freedom of speech, our stories tell the narrative seen through that person's lived experiences and perspective and is not meant for medical advice. You should also speak with your doctors about your specific diagnosis and treatment plan.

I have been diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer with no hope of remission. My Cancer has been severely compromised by a condition called Lymphedema because 11 lymph nodes were removed at the time of my mastectomy, 5 of which were already malignant. I am a former university professor but now live only on social security and the little I’m paid by two ESL students. I used to be a motivational speaker. There is no remission for me since the cancer is present in my body traveling through my lymphatic circulatory system. At some point it will attack one of my vital organs. I’m having a lot of difficulties paying my medical expenses, therapy that helps mobility issues due to Lymphedema and home care. My bones are also being affected.

I want to share these reflections on my breast cancer with you.

Dear Family and Friends, Post-Op Surgery Update III

Just came from surgeon’s office and am waiting outside my parents’ home to give them the sad news:

Along with the mastectomy, the surgeon had to dig deeply into the auxiliary due to how fast the tumor had spread. He couldn’t go deeper because of the rib cage and the danger of damaging the nerves that control the arm. Here’s the bad news: out of 11 lymph nodes he was able to remove, 5 came back as cancerous or malignant on the pathologist’s report. From what I understand, that’s about a 63% level of metastasis [Don't quote me on that %]. Only the Oncologist can tell me the rest.

My inclination is to live a nice—rest of my life, —as comfortably as possible, rather than suffering nausea and all the side effects of Chemo and radiation. I’ve had a wonderful life and praise God for all his/her many gift and the opportunity to share some of these with all the wonderful people whose paths have crossed mine throughout the years. I’ll go down a fighter as I have always been, defending myself and the dignity and rights of those who could not speak for themselves. 

I was born while my family was living in a labor camp in Port LaVaca, TX (my father digging ditches for Brown and Root) and somehow, through the Grace of God, managed to complete a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin (1993) while raising five beautiful, intelligent children practically on my own, travelled through Europe, published widely, taught at various universities and finally at my own school, students ranging from Mexican Nationals trying to remake their lives in this country due to their escape from so much drug violence, to the salt-of-the Earth immigrants, Chicanos and Chicanas just trying to get a promotion at a Wall-Mart or Petroleum site, Citizenship classes, reading improvement for children and making better writers of college applicants especially with their application essays. I’ve laughed a lot, cried even more but . .

Thank you Life!  for all of it, . . . for giving this little Chicanita from Southside Chicago to Pharr, Texas so much more than I could have ever dreamed. Thank YOU for the privilege of playing however small a part I might have played in your life.

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