Former nurse beats metastatic breast cancer and is living life ‘one day at a time’



As a former nurse from the Philippines, Marissa Hernandez always understood the importance of self-care. She went through two successful bouts battling breast cancer and thought the worst was behind her when she found out the cancer was back May of 2018.

It was during a trip to Las Vegas with her family that she felt a terrible pain on her right hip. “I remember I couldn’t even move my foot and I began praying for the pain to go away. The pain was so intense that I was in tears, and I wanted to go straight to the hospital,” says Marissa.

Her siblings rushed her to the hospital and she underwent a series of tests to find out the problem. An MRI was done and she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. This time the cancer had spread to her lungs, spine and bones.

Marissa wanted to find the right doctors to help treat her. She visited several doctors around Southern California but wasn’t finding the right match or treatment plan.

Eventually, she found the right team of cancer specialists at Providence St. Joseph Hospital’s Center of Cancer Prevention and Treatment.

“I know that God guided me to Providence St. Joseph Hospital because as soon as I entered the facility, I felt at peace and that a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. The health care team moved fast. I underwent MRI scans, X-rays, blood tests and I knew I was in the right hands,” says Marissa.

Oncologists Dr. Madhavi Mummaneni and Dr. Nabil Phillips at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment were involved in caring and treating Marissa for her cancer. The doctors, along with their medical team, worked with Marissa to provide her with personalized care for breast cancer. To help with her hip pain, Marissa underwent surgery for open reduction and internal fixation on her right hip, which immensely improved her quality of life. She also had radiation therapy at The Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment and continues to follow-up with her doctors on her progress.

Now that Marissa has recovered, she can walk freely without the aid of a walker or cane. She has gained weight, has a healthier appetite and feels better than ever!

Because Marissa was so grateful for the care she received at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, she wanted to give back by sewing masks and distributing them to the oncology department during the pandemic. Our caregivers were so appreciative of the kind gesture!

Marissa enjoys sewing, practicing calligraphy and spending time with her loved ones. She is thankful for each day she has on the earth and is living her life ‘one day at a time.’

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